Assess Sociological Explanations of Ethnic Differences in Offending and Victimization Essay

1616 WordsJan 5, 20157 Pages
Using Material from Item B and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in offending and victimisation. According to official statistics there are significant ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system. Black and Asians are overrepresented in the system. For example black people make up 2.8% of the population, but 11% of the prison population. Contrastingly whites are underrepresented. However such statistics do not tell us whether members of one ethnic group are more likely than members of another ethnic group to commit an offence in the first place; they just tell us about involvement in the criminal justice system. For example differences in stop and search or arrest rates may be due to police racism, while differences in rates of imprisonment may be the result of courts handing down harsher sentences on minorities. There are other sources of statistics to reveal link of ethnicity and offending. Victim surveys ask individuals to say what crimes they have been victims of. We can get information on ethnicity and offending from surveys when we ask what ethnicity of the person who committed the crime against them. For example in the case of mugging blacks are overly represented among those indentified by victims as offenders. Victim surveys show much crime is intra-ethnic; it takes place within rather than between ethnic groups. For example the British crime survey (2007) found 90% of where the victim was white; at least one of the offenders was also white. However while victim surveys are useful in identifying ethnic patterns of offending, they have several limitations. They rely on a victim’s memory of events. Ben Bowling and Coretta Phillips (2002) found whites may over identify blacks, saying the offender was black even when not sure. They only cover personal crimes, which make up 20% of all
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