Topic 6 - Ethnicity, crime and justice

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  • Created by: 09eatonb
  • Created on: 31-12-15 00:54

Ethnicity and Criminalisation -

  • Three main sources of statistics:
    • Official Statistics
    • Victim surveys
    • Self-Report Studies
  • Official Statistics = show ethnic differences in the liklihood of being involved in the criminal justice system (CJS)
    • e.g black people are 7x more likely to be stopped and searched and 5x more likely to be in prison than white people.
    • Hiwever, victim surveys and self-report studies throw a more direct light on ethnicty and offending
  • Victim Surveys = Ask individuals to say what crime they have been victims of
    • sometimes they ask respndants to identify the ethnicity of the offender against them. e.g in the case of a 'mugging', black people are significantly more likely to be identified as offenders.
  • Self-report Studies = ask individuals to disclose crimes they have commited
    • GRAHAM AND BOWLING (1995) found that blacks and whites had almost identical rates of offending, while Asians had much lower rates
    • Other self-report studies show similar patterns, discrediting the stereotype of blacks being more likely than whites to offend
  • Overall, the evidence on ethnicity and offending is inconsistent. Official statistics and victim surveys indicate higher rates of offending by blacks, but self-report studies do not.

Racism and Criminal Justice System -

  • There are ethnic differences at every stage of the criminal justice process. 
  • Policing = 
    • PHILLIPS AND BOWLING (2007) note that there have been many allegations of oppressive policing of minority communities, including:
      • Mass stop and search operation, paramilitary tactics, excessive surveillance, armes 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 = 7x mire likely than whites to be stopped and searche
      • Asian = 3x more likely to be stopped and searched than others under the terroism act 2000
      • only a small proportion of stops end in arrests
    • These patterns may be explained by:
      • Ethnic Differences in offending = some ethnic groups are more likely to offend so police act on relevent information about a specific offence
      • Police Racism = members of ethnic minority may be stopped ore because of police racism. In high discretion stops, police act without specific information and are more likely to discriminate
      • Demographic factors = ethnic minorities are over-represented in the groups most likely to be stopped regardless of their ethnicity, e.g. young, unemployed and urban dwellers, so they get stopped more.
  • Arrests and caution =
    • Arrest rate for black people is over 3x the rate for whites. By contrast, once arrested, blacks and asians are less likely to recieve a caution than whites.
  • Prosecution and Trial =
    • The Crown Prosecution Court (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 blacks and asians are less likely to be found guilty than whites
      • when cases do go ahead, ethnic minorities are more likely to elect for a Crown Court trial by jury, rather…


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