Ethnicity, Crime & Justice


A-Level Sociology (Crime & Deviance) Mind Map on Ethnicity, Crime & Justice, created by A M on 06/04/2016.
Mind Map by A M, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by A M almost 8 years ago

Resource summary

Ethnicity, Crime & Justice
  1. Three main sources of statistics on ethnicity & criminalisation:
      1. Show ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system.
        1. E.g. blacks are 7 times more likely than whites to be stopped & searched & 5 times more likely to be in prison
          1. Victim surveys & self-report studies throw a more direct light on ethnicity & offending.
          2. VICTIM SURVEYS
            1. These ask individuals to say what they have been victims of.
              1. Sometimes they ask respondents to identify the ethnicity of the person who committed the crime against them, e.g. in the case of 'mugging', black people are significantly more likely to be identified as offenders.
                1. Rely on victim's memory.
                  1. White victims tend to 'over-identify' blacks as offenders.
                    1. Exclude under 16s.
                      1. Exclude crimes by businesses, so they tell us nothing about the ethnicity of corporate criminals.
                      2. SELF-REPORT STUDIES
                        1. Ask individuals to disclose crimes they have committed.
                          1. GRAHAM & BOWLING found that blacks & whites had almost identical rates of offending, while Asians had much lower rates.
                            1. Other self-report studies show similar patterns, discrediting the stereotype of blacks as being more likely than whites to offend.
                            2. Overall, the evidence on ethnicity & offending is inconsistent.
                            3. RACISM & THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (CJS)
                              1. There are ethnic differences at each stage of the criminal justice process. How far are they the result of racism in the CJS? Main stages of the process an individual may go through:
                                1. POLICING
                                  1. PHILLIPS & BOWLING note that there have been many allegations of oppressive policing if minority communities, including:
                                    1. Mass stop & search operations.
                                      1. Paramilitary tactics.
                                        1. Excessive surveillance
                                          1. Armed raids.
                                            1. Police violence & deaths in custody.
                                              1. Failure to respond effectively to racist violence.
                                                1. The note that minorities are more likely to think they are 'over-policed & under-protected'.
                                              2. STOP & SEARCH
                                                1. Black people are 7 times more likely to be stopped & searched than whites.
                                                  1. Asians are over 3 times more likely to be stopped & searched than other people under the Terrorism Act 2000.
                                                    1. Only a small proportion of stops result in arrest.
                                                    2. These patterns may be explained by:
                                                      1. ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN OFFENDING
                                                        1. The patterns may simply reflect the possibility that some ethnic groups are more likely to offend, & that police are acting on relevant information about a specific offence.
                                                        2. POLICE RACISM
                                                          1. Members of ethnic groups may be stopped more because of police racism.
                                                            1. In high discretion stops, police act w/o specific information & are more likely to discriminate.
                                                            2. DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS
                                                              1. Ethnic minorities are over-represented in the groups most likely to be stopped regardless of their ethnicity e.g. the young, unemployed & urban dwellers, so they get stopped more.
                                                          2. ARREST & CAUTIONS
                                                            1. The arrest rate for black people is over 3 times the rate for whites. By contrast, once arrested, blacks & Asians are less likely than white people to receive a caution.
                                                            2. PROSECUTION & TRIAL
                                                              1. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides whether a case brought by the police should be prosecuted.
                                                                1. The CPS is more likely to drop cases against minorities than whites, & black & Asian defendants are less likely to be found guilty than whites.
                                                                  1. When cases do go ahead, minorities are more likely to elect for a Crown Court trial by jury, rather than a magistrates' court, perhaps due to mistrust of magistrates' impartiality. However, Crown Courts can impose heavier sentences if convicted.
                                                                    1. When awaiting trial, ethnic minorities are more likely to be granted bail.
                                                                2. EXPLAINING ETHNIC DIFFERENCES
                                                                  1. LEFT REALISM
                                                                    1. LEA & YOUNG argue that ethnic differences in the statistics reflect real differences in the levels of offending.
                                                                      1. They see crime as the product of relative deprivation, subculture & marginalisation.
                                                                        1. Racism has led to the marginalisation & economic exclusion of ethnic minorities.
                                                                          1. Media emphasis on consumerism also promotes relative deprivation by setting materialistic goals that many members of minority groups cannot reach by legitimate means because of discrimination.
                                                                          2. LEA & YOUNG recognise that racist policing often leads to the unjustified criminalisation of some members of minority groups.
                                                                            1. However, even if the police do act in racist ways, LEA & YOUNG argue that this is unlikely to account for the ethnic differences in the statistics.
                                                                              1. Similarly, police racism cannot explain the much higher conviction rates of blacks than of Asians: they would have to be selectively racist against blacks but not Asians to cause these differences.
                                                                              2. LEA & YOUNG thus conclude that:
                                                                                1. The statistics represent real differences in offending between ethnic groups.
                                                                                  1. These differences are cause by differences in levels of relative deprivation & marginalisation.
                                                                              3. NEO-MARXISM: BLACK CRIME AS A CONSTRUCT
                                                                                1. NEO-MARXISTS such as GILROY & HALL ET AL reject the view that the statistics reflect reality. Rather, they are the outcome of a social construction process that stereotypes minorities as more criminal that whites.
                                                                                  1. GILROY: THE MYTH OF BLACK CRIMINALITY
                                                                                    1. GILROY argues that the idea of black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of African Caribbeans & Asians.
                                                                                      1. In reality, these groups are no more criminal than any other ethnic group.
                                                                                        1. The CJS acts on these racist stereotypes, minorities are criminalised & therefore appear in greater numbers.
                                                                                        2. CRIME AS POLITICAL RESISTANCE
                                                                                          1. GILROY argues that ethnic minority crime is a form of political resistance against a racist society, & this resistance has its roots in earlier struggles against demonstrations.
                                                                                            1. Most blacks & Asians in the UK originate in former British colonies, where their anti-colonial struggles taught them how to resist oppression, e.g. through riots & demonstrations.
                                                                                              1. When they found themselves facing racism in Britain, they adopted the same forms of struggle to defend themselves, but their political struggle was criminalised by the British state.
                                                                                            2. LEA & YOUNG criticise - 1st generation immigrants were law-abiding; it's unlikely they assed on a tradition of anti-colonal struggle.
                                                                                              1. GILROY romanticises street crime as revolutionary.
                                                                                              2. HALL ET AL
                                                                                                1. Argue that the 1970s saw moral panic over black 'muggers'that served the interests of capitalism in dealing w/ a crisis.
                                                                                                  1. Argue that the ruling class are normally able to rule society through consent, but in times of crisis, this becomes more difficult. In the early 1970s, British capitalism faced a crisis: high inflation, unemployment & widespread strikes.
                                                                                                    1. The 1970s saw a media-driven moral panic about the supposed growth of a 'new' crime - mugging - apparently committed by black youth. In reality, according to HALL ET AL, there was no evidence of a significant increase in this crime
                                                                                                      1. The emergence of the moral panic about mugging as a 'black' crime at the same time as the crisis of capitalism was no coincidence. The myth of the young black mugger served as a scapegoat to distract attention from the true cause of society's problems such as unemployment - namely the capitalist crisis.
                                                                                                        1. By presenting black youth as a threat to the fabric of society, the moral panic served to divide the working class on racial grounds & weaken opposition to capitalism, as well as winning popular consent for more authoritarian forms of rule that could be used to suppress opposition.
                                                                                                          1. However, HALL ET AL do not argue that black crime was only a product of media labelling. The crisis of capitalism was increasingly marginalising black youth through unemployment, & this drove some into petty crime to survive.
                                                                                                      2. They are inconsistent: they claim black street crime was not rising, but also that it was rising because of unemployment.
                                                                                                        1. They don't show how the crisis led to a moral panic, or that the public were actually blaming crime on blacks.
                                                                                                        2. BOURGOIS: EL BARRIO
                                                                                                          1. BOURGOIS studied El Barrio, a black & Hispanic community in New York, 2000. He argues that discrimination has excluded these groups from legitimate economic opportunities.
                                                                                                            1. As a result of exclusion, they have created an alternative economy that combine legal activities w/ criminal ones, especially drug dealing.
                                                                                                              1. In parallel w/ this, an oppositional 'street culture' (or subculture) has developed. This rejects mainstream values & provides people w/ an alternative source of self-worth.
                                                                                                                1. However, because this subculture also legitimises drug use, it creates new addicts who turn to violent crime to support their habit, & it undermines family life & community cohesion.
                                                                                                                  1. Thus exclusion from mainstream opportunities leads both to crime to earn a living & to a culture that draws individuals into crime though drug addiction.
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