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Differences in ethnic experiences of criminal justice system

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Introduction

Examine the reasons for ethnic differences in experiences of the criminal justice system. Ethnic minorities, afro-Caribbean's and, to a lesser extent, Asians, are vastly over represented in official statistics for criminal offending, and convictions, but these statistics are not necessarily representative of what is real. An example of these statistics is that black people make up 2.7% of the British population, and Asians 4.7%, but black people make up 11% of the prison population, and Asians 6%. Experiences amongst different ethnic groups who interact with the criminal justice system are still very diverse. Whilst self-report studies show that whites are more likely to offend than blacks and Asians even less likely (Indians 30%, Pakistanis 28% and Bangladeshis 13% according to Graham and Bowling) this does not represent the experiences of said ethnic groups. The criminal justice system consists of a number of steps which include policing, stop and search, arrests/cautions, prosecutions, trials, convictions, sentencing and ...read more.

Middle

Institutional racism within the police force and its individual members may make officers more suspicious, weary and paranoid about ethnic minorities. This could also be the result of demography, ethnic minorities are over-represented in the social groupings most likely to be stopped and search, such as young, unemployed, working-class males. However this could simply reflect the differences in offending between ethnic groups. But more evidence for institutional racism towards certain ethnic groups appears when we investigate more, white people are given cautions for crimes much more often than blacks or Asians, arrest rates for blacks are 3.6 times higher than for whites. This again indicates some kind of unfair or racist treatment; however it could be the result of blacks or Asians being more likely to deny an offence and look for legal advice out of mistrust for the police, leading to an eventual arrest, as we have already noted that these minorities are more likely to be unfairly policed by officers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Since the 9/11 attacks suspicions about Muslims have risen greatly, even though they cannot be justified on the large scale discrimination and prejudice they experience, this prejudice can often lead to over policing in ethnic minority areas, thus adding to the disparity in the criminal statistics, it may not be that these ethnic groups are committing more crime, it could just be that there are more police acting in a vigilant way around and towards these groups, so they are punished more harshly. It could be argued that if the same amount of vigilance and over-policing was applied to white communities equally, the statistics may equalize. Whilst it is clear that Blacks and Asians are overrepresented in criminal statistics, the extent of this remains to be seen, it is possible that the reality is that those ethnic groups, on average, do commit more crimes than others, it is also possible this is false. ...read more.

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