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Flashcards in Ethnicity, Crime and Justice Deck (33)
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Why might official statistics not be a good measure of how much crime difference ethnic groups actually commit?

Black people and Asians: over-represented (CJS)
For example: Asians make up 6.5% of population, but 7.7% of prison population.

Stats don't tell us whether members of one ethnic group are more likely to commit an offence in the first place - simply tell us about involvement with CJS.


What do victim surveys tell us about ethnicity and offending?

Mugging: black people significantly over-represented.
Crime: intra-ethnic (takes place within rather than between ethnic groups).


Briefly outline four limitations of victim surveys.

- Rely on victims' memory of events. Phillips and Bowling: white victims may 'over-identify' blacks.

- Only cover personal crimes, which make up only about 1/5 of all crimes.

- Exclude the under 10s: minority ethnic groups contain higher pop. of young people.

- Exclude crimes by and against organisations (e.g businesses), so they tell us nothing about ethnicity of white collar and corporate criminals.


Why might victim surveys be unrepresentative?

Only tell us about ethnicity of a small proportion of offenders, which may not be representation of offenders in general.


According to Sharp and Budd, which ethnic groups are most likely to admit to offending?

Whites and 'mixed' ethnic origins: 40%
Blacks: 28%
Asians: 21%


How do the findings of self-report studies challenge stereotypes about ethnicity and offending?

Challenge stereotype of black people as being more likely than whites to offend, though they support the view that Asians are less likely to offend.


How do the various forms of data on offending contradict each other?

While official stats and victim surveys point to the likelihood of higher rates of offending by blacks, this is generally not borne out by the results of self-report studies.


Briefly explain and give examples of how ethnic minorities are treated differently in the following stages of the criminal justice:
- Policing
- Stop and search

- Phillips and Bowling: since 1970s - many allegations of oppressive policing of minority ethnic communities, including: 'mass stop and search operations, paramilitary tactics, excessive surveillance, and a failure to respond effectively to racist violence.'

Stop and search:
- Blacks: 7x more likely (than whites).
- Asians: over 2x as likely.
- Terrorism Act 2000: police can stop and search whether or not they have reasonable suspicion. Asians more likely to be stopped under act.
- Phillips and Bowling: members of ethnic communities 'over-policed and under-protected' and limited faith in police.
- Contemporary example: The Macpherson Report (Stephen Lawrence)


Briefly explain and give examples of how ethnic minorities are treated differently in the following stages of the criminal justice:
- Arrests and cautions
- Prosecution and trial

Arrests and cautions:
- England and Wales (2014/15) arrest rate: blacks 3x rate of whites. Once arrested, blacks + Asians less like to receive caution.
- Members of BME groups more likely to deny offense + exercise right to legal advice.
- Not admitting: can't be let off with caution

Prosecution and trial:
- Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) make decision to bring case to court and if prosecution is public interest.
- CPS: more likely to drop cases against ethnic minorities.
- Bowling and Phillips: evidence presented to CPS by police often weaker + based of stereotypes.


Briefly explain and give examples of how ethnic minorities are treated differently in the following stages of the criminal justice:
- Pre-sentence report
- Prison

Pre-sentence reports:
- Written by probation officers.
- Risk assessment to assist magistrates in deciding sentence.
- Hudson and Bramhall: PSRs allow discrimination. Reports on Asians - less comprehensive, suggested less remorse than white offenders. Place bias in context of 'demonising' Muslims (9/11).

- 2014: 5.5 per 1,000 blacks were in jail compared with 1.6 per 1,000 Asians and 1.4 per 1,000 whites.
- Blacks: 4x more like to be in prison than whites.
- Black and Asian: longer sentences
- All BME groups: higher than average proportion of prisoners on remand (less likely to be granted bail while awaiting trial).


Why did black criminality come to be seen as a problem in the 1970s?

Increased conflict between police and African Caribbean community and higher arrest rates for street crime.


Why did Asian criminality come to public attention in the 1990s?

- Media concerns about growth of 'Asian gangs'.

- Clashes between police and Asian youths after 9/11 helped crystallise idea that Asians were an 'enemy within'.


According to left realists, what are the three factors that contribute to crime and how do these affect ethnic minorities?

- Relative deprivation, subculture and marginalisation.

- Racism has lead to marginalisation and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities, who face higher levels of unemployment, poverty and poor housing.

- Media emphasis on consumerism promotes sense of relative deprivation by setting materialistic goals many members cannot reach by legitimate means.


According to Lea and Young, why does police racism not fully explain the differences in crime statistics between different ethnic groups?

Over 90% of crimes known to police are reported by members of the public rather than discovered by police themselves. Can't blame police under these circumstances.


According to Lea and Young, what can be conducted from official crime statistics?

Stats represent real differences in levels of offending between ethnic groups caused by real differences in levels of relative deprivation and marginalisation.


Briefly explain a criticism of Lea and Young's views on police racism.

- Arrest rates for Asians may be lower than blacks not because they're less likely to offend, but because police stereotype the two groups differently:
Blacks - dangerous
Asians - passive

- Stereotypes changed since 9/11 - rising criminalisation rates.


According to Gilroy, why is black criminality a myth?

Reality: groups no more criminal than any other.


According to Gilroy, how should ethnic minority crime be viewed?



Briefly explain how ethnic minority crime may be a reaction to racism.



Briefly outline Lea and Young's three criticisms of Gilroy.

- First generation immigrants (1950s+60s): law-abiding. Unlikely they passed down tradition of anti-colonial struggle to children.

- Most crime: intra-ethnic, so can't be seen as anti-colonial struggle against racism. Lea and Young: Gilroy romanticises street crime as revolutionary but its not.

- Asian crime rates: similar to or lower than whites. If Gilroy were right, then police are only racist towards blacks and not Asians (unlikely).


According to Hall et al, what were the social conditions of the 1970s and how did these cause a need for greater social control by the ruling class?

- British capitalism: crisis

- High inflation and rising unemployment were provoking unrest and strikes, conflict in N Ireland intensifying and student protests spreading.

- R/c needed to use force to regain control.

- However, force needs to seem legitimate or could make situation worse.


How did the moral panic about the black mugger serve the interests of the ruling class?

By presenting black youth as threat to fabric of society, moral panic divided w/c on racial grounds and weakened opposition to capitalism.


What other reason does Hall et al give for black males committing crime, apart from moral panic and policing?

Crisis of capitalism was increasingly marginalising black youth through unemployment and drove some into lifestyle of hustling and petty crime to survive.


Briefly outline three criticisms of Hall et al.

- Downes and Rock: Hall et al claimed black street crime wasn't rising, but also that it was rising because of unemployment.

- Don't show how the capitalist crisis led to a moral panic, nor do they provide evidence that public were in fact panicking or blaming crime on blacks.

- LR: inner-city residents' fears about mugging aren't panicky, but realistic.


According to FitzGerald et al, how does neighbourhood help to explain crime among black youths?

- Rates: highest in poor areas
- Very deprived young people gaining contact with more affluent groups.


According to Sharp and Budd, why do some ethnic groups face a greater chance of getting caught for crimes?

More likely to commit crimes such as robbery, where victims can identify them, and to have been excluded from school or to associate with known criminals - raised visibility to authorities.


Define racism victimisation.

When an individual is selected as a target because of their race, ethnicity or religion.


Briefly outline the two sources of information on racist victimisation.

- Victim surveys (CSEW)
- Police-recorded stats


Which ethnic group is at greatest risk of being a victim of any crime?

Mixed ethnic (27.9%)


What factors, other than ethnicity, may account for high proportions of minority ethnic groups being victims of crimes?

Violent crime: young, male and unemployed.