Ethnicity, crime and justice

  • Created by: Kami G
  • Created on: 16-06-17 12:41

Racism and the criminal justice system

Stages of the criminal justice system:

1. Policing - Include surveillance, police violence. Phillips and Bowling found that minorities are more likely to think they are overpoliced and under-protected. 

2. Stop and search - Black people are 7x more likely to be searched. Explanations:

  • Ethnic differences in offending - some ethnic groups are more likely to offend than others.
  • Police racism
  • Demographic factors - Ethnic minorities are featured as groups who are more likely to be stopped.

3. Arrests and cautions - Black people are more likely to be arrested. Once arrested they are less likely to receive a caution.

4. Prosecution and prison - The Crown Prosecution Service decides whether a case should be prosecuted. They are more likely to prosecute ethnic minorities than whites. 

5. Sentencing and prison - Black offenders are more likely to be sentenced. 

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Explaining ethnic differences in offending

Left realism - Lea and Young argue that statistics of ethnic minority offending reflect real offending. 

  • Crime is the product of relative deprivation, subculture and marginalization. 
  • Racism has caused marginalization and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities.
  • Media promotes relative deprivation by setting materialistic goals that many members of ethnic minority groups cannot reach by legitimate means due to discrimination. 

Lea and Young conclude that statistics represent real offendings and differences are caused by relative deprivation. Mose reports of crime are reported by the public rather than the police.

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Explaining ethnic differences in offending

Neo-marxism: black crime as a construct

Gilory and Hall et al reject the view that statistics are real, but are a social construct that stereotypes minorities as more criminal than whites. 

Gilory - the myth of black criminality

Black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes. Black are no more of criminals than other ethnicities. Ethnic minority crime is a form of political resistance against a racist society.

Hall et al - Policing the crisis

Saw a moral panic of 'muggers who served capitalism to deal with crises. The ruling class can rule society through consent, however, in a time of crisis, this is more difficult. 

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