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  • Created by: AJ
  • Created on: 09-04-13 18:21

Question: Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that ethnic differences in crime rates can best be explained by racism in the criminal justice system. (21 marks)

Many sociologists are interested in the trends of different ethnic groups and how they are dealt with by the criminal justice system. As Item A suggests "according to the official statistics, there are striking differences in the experiences of different ethnic groups in the criminal justice system".

Firstly, members of minority ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police. For example, black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. Phillips and Bowling suggest that these members are more likely to think they are 'over-policed and under-protected'.

There are a few possible reasons for the disproportionate use of stop and search towards members of ethnic minority. For example, the Macpherson Report on the investigation of the racist murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence concluded that there was institutional racism. Secondly, an alternative explanation is that disproportionality in stop and searches simply reflects ethnic differences in levels of offending. Also, ethnic minorities are over-represented in the population groups who are the most likely to be stopped such sa the young, the unemployed, manual workers and urban dwellers.

Moving on, arrest and caution rates are surprising, for example, in England and Wales show that in 2006/7 the arrest rate for blacks was


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