The Lawbreaker Justice System And Race Criminology Essay

Conceptions of race within the unlawful justice system have always been a controversial issue. Indeed, there is absolutely no denying that in conditions of prison populace cultural minorities are grossly overrepresented: despite making up only 2% of the total society of Britain, black people still constitute 15% of the population of prisons (Ashworth). If one assumes these statistics symbolize overt racism within the administration of the legal justice system then demands reform and likelihood of change will be high, however there's been a inclination to see these information as presenting the data of an irreconcilable problem, of deeper sitting decay within, not just in the low echelons of the legal justice system, but world as a whole (Chelitotis and Liebling). If this is so then the answer to whether the unlawful justice system can be made to use equitably with regards to race may require an activity of deeper reforms.

It is necessary to evaluate first the query of whether racism exists within the machine and if so, to what level. Bowling argues that there is an 'either, or' issue; if the overrepresentation in the prison population is the result of a higher rate of dark people committing offences, or, conversely, the consequence of an accumulation of bias throughout the legal process. Waters, in his early on article Competition and the Lawbreaker Justice Process, suggests that the controversy can be further thought as those that land in to the 'legal factors' camp, who think that the explanation for differences custodial sentence decisions are legal factors such as seriousness of offence and prior criminal record (which may in themselves be the consequence of broader structural and monetary factors such as unemployment and poverty) and that these variables quite satisfactorily clarify the predominance of dark people in prison. One the other palm the 'extra-legal' factors camp dispute that over and above the racial discrimination experienced in world all together, black people obtain unfair and second-rate treatment by virtue of the ethnicity as a result of a mostly white justice system. Oxbridge Essays www. oxbridgeessays. com

The research conducted by Hood would seem to suggest that there are around a little extra legal factors and therefore discrimination in sentencing. Hood found that after samples had been matched on parameters predictive of custodial phrases (e. g. seriousness of offence, previous convictions, employment, and other pre-sentence survey findings) there was a 5% higher potential for being handed a custodial sentence if you were dark-colored, and that this difference (which also resulted in dark defendants being sentenced for 3 months much longer and Asians 9 calendar months longer where a not guilty plea was entered). However Ashworth highlights the actual fact that Hood's research does not account for the actual fact that more dark people go into guilty pleas, choose to come quickly to the crown courtroom where phrases given are often harsher and may disproportionately become involved in more serious crime. Thus the study is not conclusive that there will not exist a complete variety of other factors why ethnic minorities will come to be within the system in the first place. Indeed, Von Hirsch and Roberts in their reflections on the Hood review highlight the issues inherent in the assumption of your 'level playing field' of the parameters chosen. For instance, with career: there is evidence that black people have problems with disadvantage in the labour market, to take this into account when sentencing would total an indirect form of discrimination. Thus there are plainly deeper origins of discrimination which cumulatively result in the discrepancies seen. Chelitotis and Liebling dispute that dissimilarities in levels and patterns of offending may derive from a vicious offense group of stereotyping dark-colored people as more crime prone. This brings about over-policing cultural minority neighbourhoods, in so doing drawing more ethnic minorities into the legal justice net, consequently extending their criminal records and meaning they are more likely to be sentenced severely. Also, they are therefore more likely to be re-targeted by the police, producing, again, in significantly punitive sentencing when they are reconvicted. Thus it would seem the situation is not only in the overt form of discrimination, but prevails throughout the system, maybe even worsening the lower the presence level becomes.

One only must check out the stop and search statistics to see this borne out, black people being 6. 5 times more likely to be stopped and Oxbridge Essays www. oxbridgeessays. com ), leading to 's comment that cultural minorities are "over policed and under protected". However, once again the picture is not clear cut; it could be argued that the actual figures actually represent is dissimilarities in the kind of crime committed, with cultural minorities being more involved with 'street offense' such as medicine offences and for that reason much more likely to be ended and looked in suspicion of such relatively visible activity. That is further exacerbated by interpersonal and demographic factors and by distinctions in work and leisure life which mean that not only are minorities in increased numbers in areas and sometimes where searches appear, but that more searches happen in the urban areas where they live, where unemployment and communal deprivation are high (. However the large discretion accorded to law enforcement in such cases means that the prevalence of minority groupings in the numbers suggests some type of racism.

searched than white people, and Asians doubly likely (OFFICE AT HOME 2005), considering that almost all ofthese initial ceases do not lead to anyfurther action(87%), it would seemto suggest that this is only proof discriminatoryracial profilingand stereotyping. Whilst the foundation of such actions is of s1 ofPACE (which permits police to avoid and search with onlyreasonable suspicion)and s60 CJPOA (which permits searches without suspicion where seriousviolence is anticipated or even to searchfor weaponry), andtherefore essentiallylegal, its exercise is seen as targeted (Quinton), resulting in Reiner's comment that ethnic minorities are "over policed and under protected". However, once more the picture is not clear cut;it can be argued that what the figures actually represent is variations in the kind of offense committed, withethnic minorities being more involved with 'street crime' such as drug offencesand thereforemore likely to be stopped and searched in suspicion of suchrelatively visibleactivity. That is further exacerbated by interpersonal and demographicfactors and by distinctions in work and leisure life which imply thatnot only are minorities in greater figures in areas and sometimes where searches take place, butthatmore searches occur in the urban areas where they live, in whichunemploymentand social deprivation are high (Philips). Nevertheless the widediscretion accorded to police in such cases means that the prevalenceofminority communities in the results advises some formof racism.

Indeed, the Macpherson Inquiry in to the Stephen Lawrence affair was elucidatory on the existenceof institutional racism within the police system, defined byMacphersonas "the collective inability of an company to providean appropriateand professionalservice to people for their color, culture or cultural origin, it can be seen recognized in the functions, attitudes andbehaviour which amountto unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessnessand racist stereotypingwhich negatives ethnic minorities" and thereforewould accountfor the disproportionate representation ofblacks in the systemand for the higher level of racist situations detected (authorities documented racistincidents have increased dramatically from4, 383 occurrences in 1988 to 52, 694 in2004-Home Office). WhilstLeahighlights that Macpherson's debate oninstitutional racismfails to find with sufficientprecision its roots within thestructure of functional policy and the relationship between policeand minority

Oxbridge Essayswww. oxbridgeessays. comOxbridge Essays www. oxbridgeessays. com too asserts that institutional racism will exist, which it stems not only from the occupational culture of the authorities and the particular varieties of contact they may have with cultural minorities, but also from the fact that they are simply "dangerous classes". Stopping and searching therefore represents a kind of generalised surveillance of those who they believe to own little political capital. In these ways Lea argues that racism will arise from the standard functioning of the police system, a sentiment that was echoed by way of a comment from the Director General of the Jail Service 2001 when he said that "the prison can be an institutionally racist establishment which shows an institutionally racist white society"().

communities, Leatoo asserts that institutional racismdoes exist, and that itstems notonly from the occupational culture of the authorities and the particularforms of contact theyhave with cultural minorities, but also fromthe notion thatthey are "dangerous classes". Preventing andsearching therefore represents aformof generalised monitoring of these who they believe that to get little politicalcapital. In these ways Lea argues that racism will arisefrom the normalfunctioning of the authorities system, a sentiment that was echoed with a commentfrom the Director General of the Jail Service 2001 when he said that "theprison is an institutionally racist establishment which reflects an institutionally racistwhite society"(Lea).

Thus it can be seen that a intricate interplay of socio-economic, demographic, institutional, structuraland culturalfactors, alongside immediate and indirect racialdiscrimination (Philips) are responsiblefor the overrepresentation anddiscriminatory outcomes evident in the system. Edgar and Martinconcur, suggesting that in the context ofdiscussion on discriminatory treatment withinprisons, the experience of cultural minorities should be see in the framework ofexpectations which can have arisen fromcontact with other legal justiceagencies. Further, Wacquentnotes that prison confines organizations endowed with negative symbolic capital, which their stigmatisation constitutes part oftherelationship between the limited and thosein expert. Equally as the prison, heargues, may mirror external macro-socialtrends, "so too can it lead to theirexistence by stigmatising and curtailing the life span chances of ethnic minoritiesfurther". Thus once again, discrimination can be seen to be adeep-seatedissue, and the one that is not necessarily adequately dealt with by combatingthe administration of the laws. Waters, in his article, expresses the need todistinguish between concepts ofequality and equity. Indeed, it could be seenthat equality between treatment of black and white offenders does notnecessarily equate tofairness or appropriateness, and we ought to strive forjustice rather than equality per se in recognition that contemporary society is notequal. This is acomparative exercise where quality meansthatsameness is notnecessarily desirable, and justice may demand some differentiation on groundsof race in order to take care of all people equitably(Pinder). For example, in connection tothe occupation point above, recognising the inequalities in the labour market

Oxbridge Essayswww. oxbridgeessays. comOxbridge Essays www. oxbridgeessays. com records, the challenge for the legal justice system is to find at what point negotiated differentiation becomes an imposed discrimination. We have to distinguish between notions of process and result; justice and fairness in the way laws are given does not always make them reasonable in and of themselves. Thus, there exists discrimination on a broad level within the legal justice system, which needs to be accepted and attended to at the decision-making level. As advocates, it is necessary to address both administration of the system in regards to to race, but also the plans themselves, and what is essential to ensure that treatment throughout the system is reasonable.

and therefore not unduly discriminating against those who are unemployed during sentencing may help to furtherfairness overall. As Van Dykenotes, thechallenge for the unlawful justice system is to discover at what point negotiateddifferentiation becomes an imposed discrimination. We need to distinguishbetween notionsofprocess and end result; justice and fairness in the way laws are implemented does not automatically make themfair inandof themselves. Thus, there is discrimination on a wide levelwithin the legal justicesystem, which needs to be accepted andaddressed at the decision-making level. As Von Hirschadvocates, it is necessary to handle both theadministration of the machine withregard to race, but also the policiesthemselves, and what is necessary to ensure that treatment throughout thesystem is reasonable.

The simple fact, however, is the fact that ethnic minorities do notcare whatreasonsunderpinthe discrimination they may be suffering, whether anticipated tobroader socio-economic factors or whether it issues straight from the personthey are dealingwith (Waters). The result is too little legitimacy to them, related to the criminal justice system all together, leading to blackdefendants being more likely to pleadnot guilty and optfor the Crown court(Von Hirsch), thus furtherincreasingtheir propensity to be sentencedseverely. The issue becomes perpetual:if the justice system is looked at asinequitable it will breed defianceamong those who feel they are not beingtreated fairly, leading to afurtherhike in the overrepresentation ofethnicminorities within the system. If the system is to made to operate equitably with regards to race it will require a extra tall order of reforms. Whilst immediate and institutional racism can be addressed by cultural minority recruitment drives within the police force, and racial consciousness trainingfor all unlawful justiceofficials, the broadersocial-economic issues will require change in politicaland sociable policy(Hood and Shute). Whatis clearis that race is a covertissue;a hard problem to attemptto address as so few are ready toacknowledge its existenceoutright(Bosworth). Thus perhaps most pertinentwould be to increase awareness of the prevalenceofbroaderforms of indirectdiscrimination and interpersonal inequality and to attempt to keep these concerns in

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mind so that decisions whatsoever stages can, at least just as much as is possible, be made equitably.

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