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Ethnicity and Crime The relationship between involvement in crime and ethnicity.

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1 Ethnicity and Crime The relationship between involvement in crime and ethnicity

2 Statistical evidence Recent statistics from the Ministry of Justice (2008) show that members of some ethnic groups are over- represented in the prison population. Black people, for example, are 5 times more likely than white people to be in prison. Although only making up 2.8% of the British population, black people make up 11% of the prison population. Black people are around 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and 3.5 times more likely to be arrested

3 Waddington et al (2004) Race, the police & “stop and search” Waddington et al investigated stop and search policies used by the police in the towns of Slough and Reading in order to ascertain whether ethnic groups were being targeted unfairly. Read the research details on page 387 of your text book and answer the questions

4 Phillips and Bowling (2002) However, Phillips and Bowling argue that discrimination against ethnic minorities starts with policing. The criminalisation of ethnic minorities starts with “the over policing of neighbourhoods where ethnic minorities, particularly African/Caribbeans are heavily concentrated” How does this compare to the research results of Waddington et al?

5 Do the Police and the courts discriminate against ethnic minorities? In 1966, Skolnick observed that the police held stereotypical beliefs that were perpetuated through the “canteen culture” a culture that has developed as a response to the high pressures of the job and gives police a sense of group identity One of these stereotypes was that the young, black male was the “typical offender” Drabble (1982) found that, when similar acts were committed, black people were more likely to be charged with more serious forms of the offence than whites. Whites were also more likely to be cautioned rather than being prosecuted than blacks for doing similar offences Hood (1992) stated that blacks were far more likely than whites to receive custodial sentences even though fines and community service punishments were available alternatives

6 Sociological explanations for over-representation of ethnic minority groups within crime statistics – the Statistical Artefact Approach If statistics are to be taken at face value we could see them as a reflection of the levels of criminal activity within this ethnic group. If we assume that this is the case then one possible explanation is that higher proportions of black people experience unemployment and so the level of crime could be linked to poverty and relative deprivation Fitzgerald et al (2003) researched ethnic minority street crime in London Read the report of their research on page 390 of your textbook and fill in a “synoptic evaluation exercise” booklet

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