Flashcards in Ethnicity and Crime (1 - Overview) Deck (41):
What are the two main arguments that question why the criminal justice system show striking differences between ethnic groups?
1. some ethnic groups are more likely to offend
2. the CJS is racist and discriminates against ethnic minorities
Why might ethnic minorities commit more crime?
- more likely to be poor, unemployed
- lack of opportunities
- areas where they live might already be plagued with drink and drugs
Why are there differences in the criminality of different ethnic groups?
- socialisation differences
- confrontational attitudes
- racism in the system
What two different types of stop and search are there?
- where police receive intelligence
- where it is part of a policy where people of a certain discrimination are targetted
Victim surveys ask individuals to say what crimes they have been victims of the last 12 months. Black people are significantly over-represented among those identified. Why might this be?
- could be confused reporting
- happens quickly
- victims may be old
What is a limitation of victim surveys regarding reporting?
- rely on victims' memory
- Philips and Bowling: white victims may 'over-identify' black people
Victims surveys only cover personal crime, what fraction of crime is this?
What is a problem with the fact that victim surveys exclude under 10s?
- ethnic minorities contain a higher proportion of young people that may have been victims and so would expose more white crime
Do victim surveys consider corporate crime?
Do victim surveys give a representative view of the ethnicity of offenders in general?
What do self-report studies ask?
- individuals to disclose their own dishonest and violent behaviour
What did Sharp and Budd's self-report study reveal about class A drugs?
- white people were 4% more likely to have tried class A drugs
What is a limitation of self-report studies?
- are inconsistent, depends on where you carry out the research
What various stages of the CJS are there that all reveal targetting of minorities?
1a. stop and search
1c. arrests and cautions
2. prosecution and trial
3. sentencing and conviction
4. pre-sentencing reports
What do Philips and Bowling reveal about policing?
- since the 1970s there have been many allegations of oppressive policing of ethnic minorities
eg. mass stop and search, paramilitary tactics, excessive surveillance, armed raids, policy violence etc.
In the past, what did the police need in order to be able to stop and search someone? How does this allow racism?
- 'reasonable suspicion'
- could be very subjective as it's vague
What difference to stop and search did the 2000 Terrorism Act make?
- police can stop and search individuals or vehicles whether they have reasonable suspicions or not
What do Philips and Bowling comment that members of these communities are likely to believe in response to the adjustments in stop and search?
- that they're being 'over policed and under protected'
- have limited faith in the police
Does the chance of being involved in the use of taser vary with ethnicity?
Why might black people be so much more likely to be involved in a taser incident?
- are black youths more aggressive to police
- are they more likely to have mental illness
What is the first explanation as to why there is a disproportionate use of stop and search against minority groups?
- police racism
What is an example of police racism?
- the Macpherson Report on the police investigation of the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence which concluded there was institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police
How might individual officers show their deeply ingrained racist attitudes?
- racist language
How can the racist stereotypes that the officers hold be perpetuated?
- 'canteen culture' of shared racist attitudes eg. swapping stories and stereotypes which become the norm and the embedded perception
What is a second explanation as to why there is a disproportionate use of stop and search against minority groups?
- these levels may be a reflection of ethnic levels in offending, particularly for certain crimes
What is a third explanation as to why there is a disproportionate use of stop and search against minority groups?
- demographic factors
How are demographic factors an explanation of the disproportionate use of stop and search against minority groups?
- ethnic minorities are over represented in the population groups who are most likely to be stopped eg. young, unemployed, urban dwellers
- groups are likely to be stopped regardless of ethnicity but they happen to contain a high proportion of ethnic minorities
Who are less likely to receive a caution when arrested?
- black people
Why might black people be less likely to receive a caution when arrested?
- non-white people/ black people may be more likely to deny an offence and exercise their right to legal advice (possibly out of mistrust)
- not admitting an offence means they cannot be given a caution and are more likely to be charged instead
During prosecution and trial, who decides whether a case has a realistic prospect of conviction and whether the case is of public interest?
- the Crown Prosecution Service decides whether a case should be brought to trial
What explanation do Philip and Bowling offer as to why the CPS is more likely to drop cases against ethnic minorities?
- the police often present weaker evidence that is very clearly based on stereotyping
When cases do go ahead, why do ethnic minorities tend to opt for a jury trial at a Crown court rather than a magistrates court?
- more balanced view
- might not trust the objectivity/ impartiality of a white mc male
What is the unfortunate reality about the choice of a jury trial at a Crown court?
- if you are found guilty there tends to be a stiffer sentence (especially significant because ethnic minorities tend to plead non-guilty)
Who are less likely to be found guilty and why?
- black and Asians, suggests police discrimination has resulted in weaker cases coming to court which are often thrown out
Why might the imprisonment of black offenders be higher than whites?
- due to seriousness of the offence
- defendants previous convictions
When Hood studied 5 Crown Courts, what did he conclude?
- black men were 5% more likely to receive a custodial sentence and were given sentences on average three months longer than white men
What is one possible reason for harsher sentences?
- the Pre-Sentence Report written by Probation Officers
What is a Pre-Sentence Report supposed to do/be?
- a risk assessment to assist a magistrate/ judge on an appropriate sentence
What did Hudson and Bramhall reveal about the pre-sentence reports? Why might they be unfair to ethnic minorities?
- reports for Asian offenders were less comprehensive and implied they were less remorseful than white offenders
- (placed this bias in the context of the demonising of Muslims post 9/11)
- language barrier
- they don't understand
- cultural differences
What length sentences are black and Asian offenders more likely to be serving?
- longer sentences of four years +