Ethnicity and Crime

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Ethnic Minority Statistics

The ethnic minority prison population has doubled in a decade from 11 332 in 1998 to 22 421 in 2008.

36% of 15 - 18 year olds in England and Wales held in youth custody are from black or other ethnic minority backgrounds.

 In 2009, Black and mixed race people made up 17.8 of the prison population whilst Asians and Chinese people constituted 8.9% and Muslims 12%.

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Sociological Explanations of Ethnic Minority Crime

Demographic Explanations

Morris: According to OCS most crime is committed by young people this links to ethnic minority groups as they have a higher proportion of young people who have committed crimes in comparison to white people.

Interpretivist Criticism of Criminal Justice System

Interpretivist sociologists argue that crime statistics do not tell us much about black or Asian criminality only their involvement in the crimnal justice system. They believe OCS are not a true record of ethnic minority crime, only a reflection of the levels of discrimination these groups recieve.

Phillips and Bowling: Since the 1970's the black community has been subjected to opressive military style policing which has resulted in over policing of these communities. Statistics on stop and search released in 2010 reveal that black britons are searched six times more than white britons and Asians twice as often as white britons.

Holdaway: Police canteen culture is still characterised by racist language, jokes and banter. This attitude under pins the decision to stop black britons.

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Key Study: Steven Lawrence

The Macpherson Report into the death of black teenager Steven Lawrence found that the London Metropolitan Police was guilty of institutional racism in its faliure to tackle such discrimination.

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