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Ethnicity and crime


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Ethnicity and crime

  1. 1. Ethnicity and Crime
  2. 2. Learning Objectives• To understand the reasons for the difference in offending and ethnicity.• Know the patterns of ethnicity and criminalisation as shown by different sources of data• Understand the relationship between ethnicity and the CJS• Be able to evaluate explanations of the relationship between offending and ethnicity
  3. 3. Starter – look at the imageopposite, whatappears to be going on?
  4. 4. The facts• 91% of people in the UK are white• 9% are non-white• 5% Asian• 2% Afro- Caribbean• 2% mixed and other
  5. 5. Official Statistics: Ethnicity & Crime• Of the 80,000 men in prison approximately 74% are white, 15% Afro-Caribbean, 7% Asian, 3% mixed and 1% Chinese.• Of the 7,000 women in prison 70% are white, 21% Afro-Caribbean, 5% mixed, 2% Asian and 2% Chinese and other.• The situation in the USA is very similar – Black Americans make up 13% of the total population and 50% of the prison population.• They are over represented in the system
  6. 6. In 2008, the Ministry of Justicereported that, compared to white people:• Afro Caribbeans were: more likely to be arrested for robbery; three times more likely to be cautioned by the police; three and a half times more likely to be arrested; if arrested, more likely to be charged and face court proceedings than to receive a caution; more likely, if found guilty, to receive a custodial (prison) sentence; five times more likely to be in prison.• Asians were: twice as likely to be stopped and searched (mainly for drugs); more likely to be charged and face court proceedings than to receive a caution; more likely to receive a custodial sentence if found guilty; more likely to be arrested for fraud and forgery.
  7. 7. • However statistics do not tell us whether members of one group are more likely than members of another to commit an offence in the first place- they just tell us about involvement with the CJS• Differences in stop and search or arrest rates may simply be due to policing strategies or discrimination by officers, while differences in rates of imprisonment may be a result of courts handing down harsher sentences to minorities
  8. 8. Sources of Statistics• Apart from Official stats from the CJS we can gather information from victim surveys and self report studies.• What are they and what are some of the issues involved in their use? Page 111 and 112
  9. 9. Ethnicity, Racism and CJS• There are ethnic differences at each stage of the criminal justice process. How far are they the result of racism within the CJS?• There are stages an individual goes through possibly ending in a custodial sentence• Policing, Stop & Search, Arrests and Cautions, Prosecution & Trial and Sentencing & Prison
  10. 10. 1. Policing• Many allegations of oppressive policing from minority ethnic communities are made e.g. mass stop & search operations, excess surveillance, armed raids, deaths in custody2. Arrests and cautions• Arrest rate for blacks 3.6 x the rate for whites. Once arrested less likely to receive a caution, perhaps due to a mistrust of police and not admitting to the offence. Not admitting an offence means they cannot be let off with a caution and are more likely to be charged
  11. 11. 3. Prosecution & conviction• Crown prosecution Service more likely to drop cases against ethnic minorities. May be because evidence presented by police is often weaker and based on stereotyping of ethnic minorities as criminals. Black and Asian defendants are less likely to be found guilty. What statistics to support this and Why? Page 1134. Sentencing and Prison• Custodial sentences more likely to be given to black offenders. Blacks and Asians over- represented in prisons and more likely to be given longer sentences.
  12. 12. 5. Stop and search (Black people 7x more likely to be stopped, Asians 3x- under Terrorism Act 2000)• Only a small proportion result in arrests• Increased number is perhaps due to:1. Police Racism- Institutional racism within police force (The Macpherson report, 1999-Stephen Lawrence case). Phillips & Bowling (2007)- many officers hols –ve stereotypes about ethnic minorities as criminals, leading to deliberate targeting for stop & search.2. Demographic Factors- Ethnic Minorities over represented in population groups most likely to be stopped e.g. young, unemployed and urban dwellers3. Ethnic Differences in offending- Patterns may reflect possibility that some ethnic groups are more likely to offend
  13. 13. Waddington (2004)• Published in the British Journal of Criminology argues that the police do stop a proportionately higher number of blacks compared to whites.• However, he argues that there are more ethnic minority youths out at night in inner cities and that the police simply target those in high risk areas. If the areas is disproportionately represented by young black males they are more likely to be stopped and searched – because of where they are rather than their ethnicity What is the difference between Low and High Discretion Stops?
  14. 14. Task Below is a case study related to institutional racism amongst the police force. In April 1993, a black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, was stabbed to death at a bus stop in London by a gang of white youths who were heard using racist language. Despite there being many witnesses,some of the persistence of his parents, who refused to give up, thecase became a national scandal, especially when the identities of the killers became known and they could not be punished. The eventual inquiry found the police had mishandled the case and described theMetropolitan Police as institutionally racist. It recommended urgent measures to increase the number of police from minorities and to improve awareness of race issues. Now, write a definition of what is mean by the term institutional racism.
  15. 15. • Institutional racism describes any kind of system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies, private business corporations (such as media outlets), and universities (public and private).
  16. 16. Stephen Lawrence, Rodney King, Mark Duggan
  17. 17. Task According to official crime statistics, the typical criminal is a young, black, working class male. So why is it black? As a class brainstorm possible sociological explanations for why Black people are more likely to be involved in crime. Some sociologists believe it is not primarily the fault of the Blackculture, but how society may affect it. For example police labellingand stereotyping has been investigated and shown some interesting results. The documentary below highlights this.
  18. 18. Explaining Ethnic Differences
  19. 19. Left Realism• Lea and Young (1993) argue that official statistics are generally accurate, and young black men really are committing more offences than other groups.• First criminologists to acknowledge that black people were not simply victims of a racist police force and CJS but are actually more likely to be involved with street crime than whites.
  20. 20. • LR’s argue that racism has led to the marginalisation and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities who face higher levels of unemployment, poverty and poor housing.• The media’s emphasis on consumerism promotes a sense of relative deprivation by setting materialistic goals that many members of minority groups are unable to reach by legitimate means• One response is the formation of delinquent subcultures, esp by young unemployed black males. Producing higher levels of utilitarian crime e.g. Theft and robbery. Because these groups are marginalised and have no organisations to represent their interests, their frustration can lead to non utilitarian crime e.g. violence and rioting
  21. 21. • Lea and Young recognise that racist policing often leads to the unjustified criminalisation of some members of minority groups.• However even if police do act in racist ways, Lea & Young argue that this is unlikely to account for the ethnic differences in the statistics (90% of crimes known to police reported by members of public)• Similarly police racism cannot explain the much higher conviction rates of blacks than of Asians, they would have to be selectively racist against blacks not Asians to cause these differences
  22. 22. • Lea and Young conclude that the statistics represent real differences in levels of offending between ethnic groups• These are caused by differences in levels of relative deprivation and marginalisation Lea and Young are criticised for their views on the role of police racism e.g. Arrest rates for Asians may be lower than for blacks not because they are likely to offend but because police stereotype the 2 groups differently seeing blacks as dangerous and Asians as passive. These stereotypes may have changed since 9/11, Asians now seen as dangerous- explaining rising criminalisation rates for this group
  23. 23. • Summarise the LR view of ethnic differences in crime rates (25-50 words)
  24. 24. Other reasons for higher rates of street crime amongst blacks
  25. 25. Neo-Marxism: Black crime as a construct• Gilroy (1982) and Hall et al (1979) reject the view that the statistics reflect reality• They are the outcome of a social construction process that stereotypes minorities as more criminal than the majority population
  26. 26. Gilroy: The myth of black criminality• Gilroy argues that the idea of black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of African Caribbeans and Asians• In reality these groups are no more criminal than any other group• But as CJS acts on these racist stereotypes, minorities are criminalised and therefore appear in greater numbers in the official crime statistics
  27. 27. • Ethnic minority crime is a form of political resistance against a racist society, this resistance has it roots in earlier struggles against British imperialism (holds similar view to critical criminology- argues WC crime is a political act of resistance to capitalism)• Most blacks and Asians in the UK originated in former British colonies, where their anti-colonial struggles taught them how to resist oppression e.g. through riots and demonstrations• 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
  28. 28. AO2• Lea & Young criticise Gilroy1. First generation immigrants were law abiding; its unlikely they passed on a tradition of anti-colonial struggle2.Most crime is intra-ethnic (criminals & victims have same ethnicity) therefore not a struggle against racism3.Gilroy romanticises street crime as revolutionary
  29. 29. Hall et al: policing the crisis• Neo-Marxist perspective• Hall et al argue that the 1970’s saw a moral panic over black ‘muggers’ that served the interests of capitalism in dealing with a crisis• Ruling class are normally able to rule society through consent but in times of crisis this becomes difficult.• In early 1970’s British capitalism faced a crisis: high inflation, unemployment and strikes. At such times when opposition to Capitalism begins to grow, the ruling class may tend to use force to maintain control. Use f force needs to be seen as legitimate or it may provoke more widespread resistance
  30. 30. • 1970’s saw a media driven moral panic about the supposed growth of a ‘new’ crime- mugging- apparently committed by black youths. In reality there was no evidence of a significant increase in this crime at the time. Mugging became associated with black youth• 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 societys problems e.g. Unemployment
  31. 31. • By presenting black youth as a threat to the fabric of society, the moral panic served to divide the WC on racial grounds and weaken opposition to capitalism, as well as winning popular consent for more authoritarian forms of rule that could be used to suppress opposition.• 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, and this drove some into petty crime to survive.
  32. 32. AO2• Hall et al are inconsistent; they claim that black street crime was not rising, but also that it was rising because of unemployment• They don’t show how the crisis led to a moral panic, or that the public were actually blaming crime on blacks
  33. 33. Ethnicity and Victimisation• Information comes from victim surveys (BCS) and police recorded statistics which cover racist incidents and racially or religiously aggravated offences• Police recorded 61,000 racists incidents (06/07) while the BCS reports 184,000 many go unreported.• People from mixed ethnic backgrounds were more likely to be victims of crimes (36%), compared to blacks (27%), Asians (25%) and White (24%)
  34. 34. • Summarise the Neo-Marxist view of ethnic differences in crime rates (25- 50 words)
  35. 35. Exam Question Activity• You have a series of cards with studies, concepts etc on relating to ethnicity and crime debate.• Students work in groups and need large surface area to lay all cards out. Give them a focus such as an essay style question on ethnicity and crime statistics or explanations for crime rates etc.• They should place related cards close together. When happy with the order they are in. Glue to large sugar paper. In one coloured pen..add any relevant bullet points. In a different coloured pen they can add evaluation points where relevant. They should also add linking arrows between various cards (write nature of link along arrow).
  36. 36. Exam Questions for Activity•  ‘Poverty is the major cause of ethnic minority crime.’ Discuss. (21 marks)• Assess the usefulness of conflict theories for an understanding of the relationship of ethnic-minority youth to crime’ (21 marks)• Assess the view that ethnic differences in crime rates can best be explained by racism in the CJS (21 marks)
  37. 37. H/W• Complete your own content analysis of representation of crime in the fictional media. This is a using secondary source (the media) and is qualitative.• Decide what you want to measure – e.g. the media’s representation of the police in fictional crime.• Select a representative sample of media – e.g. episodes of Silent Witness, Wire in the Blood, CSI etc• Decide which categories you are going to use – e.g. the police as corrupt, bitter, avenging victims, working class, alcoholic, getting their man etc…• Study the stories you have selected and place the characters in them into categories you have decided on. This is called coding.• Quantify how the character/s you are looking at are characterised in the stories simply by counting up the number of each category.
  38. 38. Key facts Ethnicity and the 1. PolicingOfficial statistics say black criminal justice system Many allegations of people are: oppressive policing 7 times more likely to be from minority ethnic 2.Stop and search communities are made. stopped and searched. Lots of stop an search is 3 ½ times more likely to perhaps due to racism be arrested. 3. Arrests and and the targeting of cautions 5 times more likely to be ethnic minorities. in prison than their white More likely to be counterparts. arrested and cautioned Ethnicity and perhaps due to a Victim studies say black mistrust of police and crime people are more likely to not admitting to the be identified as offence. offenders & most crime 4. Prosecution & is intra –ethnic meaning conviction it takes place among 5. Sentencing and Prison rather than between Crown prosecution Service more likely to Custodial sentences more ethnic groups. likely to be given to black drop cases against ethnic Self-report studies minorities. Black and offenders. Blacks and conclude that black Asian defendants are less Asians over-represented people have similar rates likely to be found guilty. in prisons and more likely of offending to whites if to be given longer not lower. sentences.
  39. 39. Explaining differences in offending Neo-Marxist - Paul Gilroy Neo-Marxist - Stuart Black people commit more Hall et al (Policing the Left realism crime because they resent crisis)Ethnic minorities commit more the cultural experience ofcrime because racism in wider colonialism i.e. being taken Combines Marxism and has caused them to be over and having black slaves Labelling theory. marginalised, coupled with sent to Britain to work. This economic exclusion such as experience causes Economic conditions in high unemployment and poor resentment in young black the 1990’s were bad, housing. Left realists don’t males which makes them government look for a believe that racism in the commit crime. scapegoat. police can account for higher crime because black people Young black muggers Ethnicity and are labelled and a moral have a higher offending rate than Asians. crime panic is created about Stephen Lawrence their behaviour in the Victimisation media. The death of StephenLawrence in 1993 by a white Police recorded 61,000 Young black malesgang caused outcry as police racists incidents while the commit no more crimebotched the investigation. BCS reports 184,000 many than any other group The inquiry called the go unreported. People from but labelling and the mixed ethnic backgroundsMacpherson report declared economy makes it seem institutional racism in the were more likely to be like they do. police. victims of crimes.