Ethnicity, crime and justice - crime and deviance

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  • Created by: maxward
  • Created on: 19-04-16 13:04

Ethnicity and criminalisation

There are three main sources of statics on ethnicity and criminalisation:

1. Official satistics

2. Victim surveys 

3. Self-report studies

Official statistics 

These show ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the CJS.

- For example, blacks are seven times more likely than whites to be stopped and searched, and five times more likely to be in prison. 

2. Victim surveys 

These ask individuals to say what crimes they have been victims of.

3. Self-report studies

These ask individuals to disclose crimes they have committed.

- Graham and Bowling (1995) found that blacks and whites had almost identical rates of offending, while Asians had much lower rates. 

Racism and the criminal justice system


Phillips and Bowling (2007) note that there have been many allegations of oppressive policing of minority communities, including: 

- Mass stop and search operations, paramilitary tactics, excessive surveillance, armed raids, police violence and deaths in custody, and a failure to respond effectively to racist violence.

- They note that minorities are more likely to think they are 'over-policed and under-protected'.

Stop and search 

- Black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites.

These patterns may be explained by:

- Ethnic differences in offending The patterns may simply reflect the possibilty that some ethnic groups are more likely to offend, and that police are acting on relevant information about a specific offence. 

- Police racism Alternatively, members of minority ethnic groups may be stopped more because of police racism. 

- Demographic factors Ethnic minorites are over-represented in the groups most likely to be stopped regardless of their ethnicity. 

Arrests and cautions

The arresst rate for black people is over three times the rate for whites. By contrast, once arrested blacks and Asians are less likely than white people to recieve a caution.

Prosecution and trial

The Crown Persecution Service (CPS) decides whether a case brought by the police should be prosecuted.

- The CPS is more likely to drop cases against minorities than against whites, and Black and Asian defendants are less likely to be found guilty than whites. 

Sentencing and prison 

Jail sentences are given to a greater proportion of black offenders than white or Asian offenders. 

- Blacks are five times more likely to be in prison than whites. Blacks and Asians are more likely to be serving longer sentences. 

- When awaiting trial, ethnic minorities are less likely…


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