Flashcards in Ethnicity and Crime Deck (19)
Explain ethnic differences of crime seen in official statistics
Black people make up 2.8% of the population, but 11% of the prison population. This suggests that black people commit more crime. However, these statistics do not represent how likely they are to commit a crime, just their involvement in the criminal justice system
Explain ethnic differences of crime seen in victim surveys
Show that black people are overrepresented, particularly as offenders of mugging crimes. They also identify that a great deal of crime is intra ethnic, since in 90% of crimes when the victim is white, there is involvement of a white offender. They are criticised for relying on the victim's memory and only covering personal crimes (not generalizable)
Explain ethnic differences of crime seen in self reports
Found that a greater percentage of males of mixed ethnicity admitted to using cannabis in the last year (27%), although generally 43% of black people admitted to an offence compared to 44% of white people. This evidence is therefore inconsistent across studies, and since it is from the point of the offender, it relies on their honesty
Summarise the first stage in the Criminal Justice System (stop and search)
Official statistics show that black people are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched. As of 2000, police can stop and search whether or not they have suspicion, providing opportunities for institutional racism. This suggests the racist stereotypes police hold that black people commit more crime.
Summarise the second stage in the Criminal Justice System (arrests and cautions)
Black people are 3.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested. Once arrested, black and Asians are less likely to receive a caution. This is because ethnic minorities are more likely to gain legal advice and take the case to court. Therefore, they cannot be given a caution, like white people who admit to crime.
Summarise the third stage in the Criminal Justice System (prosecution)
The Crown Prosecution Service are more likely to take white suspects to court, throwing out black cases. This is because the evidence against ethnic minorities is weakened by negative stereotypes.
Summarise the fourth stage in the Criminal Justice System (trial)
Ethnic minority groups are more likely to elect for trial before a jury in Crown Court, rather than Magistrates court, perhaps due to the mistrust of magistrates impartiality
Summarise the fifth stage in the Criminal Justice System (convictions)
60% of white, 52% of black and 44% of Asian defendants were found guilty. Due to the weaker evidence of minorities who commit less serious crimes, these groups are less likely to be convicted.
Summarise the sixth stage in the Criminal Justice System (presentence reports)
These are written by probation officers who assist magistrates in deciding an appropriate sentence for the offender. Since 9/11, Asians were considered more of a risk and hence given higher sentence. The reports wrote for Asians were less remorseful than for white offenders, showing how Asians are demonised.
Summarise the seventh stage in the Criminal Justice System (sentencing)
Black people receive more custodial sentences than white people. Community sentences were more likely to be given to white and Asian people, perhaps based on the seriousness of the offence as well as previous offences
Summarise the eighth stage in the Criminal Justice System (prison)
There is an over representation of Black people, who are 5 times more likely to go to prison than White people. This may be because there are many ethnic minority prisoners on remand because they are more likely to be granted bail.
What do left realists believe?
Left realists believe that ethnic differences in crime reflect real differences in the levels of offending and claim that society is the cause of these differences.
What do the left realists Lea and Young claim?
Racism has led to marginalisation and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities. Marginalisation causes non utilitarian crime, such as rioting, because of the frustration of the marginalised groups from being pushed out of society. The high levels of unemployment and poverty amongst ethnic minorities causes relative deprivation as they feel their standards of living are lower than those around them. They are also more aware of their relative deprivation due to consumerism which sets materialistic goals minorities are unable to reach. This may in turn lead to resorting to illegitimate means to achieve these goals. Lea and Young acknowledge that institutional racism does exist, however they do not believe that discriminatory policing fully explains ethnic differences in crime.
What are the criticisms of Lea and Young?
Arrest for Asians may be lower than for blacks, not because they are less likely to offend, but because police stereotype the two groups differently. Blacks are considered as dangerous and Asians as passive. Since 9/11, Asians are also considered dangerous, explaining rising crime rates due to police stereotypes.
What do neo-Marxists believe?
They argue that ethnic differences in the crime statistics are not representative of reality. They argue that crime statistics are social constructions, stereotyping minorities as more criminal to justify the disadvantage they face in society.
What does Gilroy claim?
Gilroy argues that when ethnic crime does occur, it is a form of political resistance against a racist society, which has its roots in the early struggles against British Imperialism. He points out that most Black and Asians in the UK originated in British colonies where their anti colonial struggle taught them how to resist oppression. When they found themselves faced with racism, they adopted the same approach, but this time was criminalised by the British state.
What are the criticisms of Gilroy?
Criticised by Lea and Young who argue that first generation migrants were law abiding so it is unlikely that they passed on a tradition of colonial struggle. They also point out that most crime is intra ethnic and that Gilroy romanticises street crime as revolutionary.
What does Hall et al claim?
Argue that criminalisation of ethnic minorities is a tool used by the ruling class to maintain control of the subordinate class. They saw a moral panic over black muggers that served the interest in capitalism in dealing with the crisis. The crime became associated with black youth, despite the lack of evidence. At the same time, capitalism faced a crisis of high inflation, unemployment and political and industrial unrest. The emergence of these two things together was no coincidence, as the 'myth' of black muggers, served as a scapegoat to distract attention from the true cause of society's problems.