A2 Sociology ethnicty, crime and justice

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Ethnicty and criminlisation

3 main sources to look at for stats on ethnicty and criminlisation:

  • offical stats: blacks are 7x more likely than whites to be stopped and searched they are also 5x more likely to be in prison
  • victim surveys: 'mugging' blacks are more likely to be picked as the offender
  • self report studies: graham and bowling (1995) blacks and whites identical rates of offendings yet asians are lower, not all studies have found this information
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Racism and CJS

1. policing: philip and bowling (2007) allegations of oppressive policing in ethnic minorty areas, including:

-  mass stop and searches, armed raids and death in custody, minorites think they are over policed and under protected

2. stop and search: blacks 7x more likely than whites, asians 3x more likely, these hardly ever result in arresst

- stop and search are explained in ethnic differences in offending, police racism, demographic factors

3. arrests and cautions: 3x more likely for blacks, blacks and asians less likely to recieve a caution

4. prosectuion and trial: CPS more likely to drop cases aganist ethnics than whites and balcks are more likely to choose crown court trial by jury.. trust issues?

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Racism and CJS

5.sentencing and prison: jail sentences are given more to blacks. studies have show that black men are 5% more likely to be jailed and ethnic mins are less likely to be given bail

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Left realism

Lea and Young (1993) ethnic differences in stats releft real difference in the levels of offending

  • crime is a product of rel dep, subc and marganlisation
  • racism led to marganlisation and economic exclusion of ethnic mins
  • media all about materalistic items that ethnic mins can't get legit

Racist policing leads to unjustified criminalisations of individuals

  • if police do act in racist ways it is unlikely to account for the ethnic differences in stats
  • police can't be racist as if they were then they must only be selctive to blacks


1. stats represent real difference in offending between ethnic min groups

2. caused by differences in levels of dep and marginalisation

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Neo-marxism: black crime as a construct

Gilroy: myth of black criminality ---- critical criminology: capatlism is the basis of crime

idea of black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of Asian and blacks

  • these groups are no more criminal than others
  • CJS act on these racist stereotypes
  • the minorites are then criminalised which is why they are high in stats

crime as political resistance: ethnic minorties crime is a form of political resistence aganist the racist society and has its roots based in earlier racism e.g black slaves

  • black and asians in uk come from biritsh colonies but they didn't want to be in the colony
  • when faced with racism they adapt these old ways
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Neo-marxism: black crime as a construct

Hall et al: policing the crisis

in the 70's moral panic over mugggers severed the interest of the capatlist society

  • ruling class can normally rule society through consent
  • times of crisis becomes harder
  • when there was a recession in 70's brought up the issue of black muggers
  • no rise in mugging though, was just used as a cover up
  • then dividing the working class on racial grounds
  • was product of media labelling
  • crisis of capatlism was marganlising the black youth through unemployement and drove to petty crime to survive
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Neo-marxism: black crime as a construct

Bourgois: El barrio

Bourgois studied el barrio in america which was a black hispanic community

discrimination excused these groups from legit opportuinities

  • created an alternative economy that combines legal activites with criminial ones
  • oppostitional subc has developed which rejects mainstream values and provides people with alternative source of self worth
  • subc also provides legit durg use which then creates new addicts who turn to voilent crime to get their drugs
  • this then undermines that traditional family life and community coehsion
  • exclusion from mainstream opportunities so turn to crime to earn a living and a culutre that draws that in to it
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