To What Extent Is It True to Say That High Levels of Crominality Amongst Ethnic Minorities Are a Real Visible Phenomenon

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To what extent is it true to say that high levels of criminality amongst ethnic minorities are a real visible phenomenon? Official statistics on the criminal justice process show some striking differences between ethnic groups. For example, black people are more likely to be imprisoned than other groups. Is this because some ethnic groups are more likely to offend in the first place, or is it because the criminal justice system is racist and discriminates against ethnic minorities. According to official statistics, there are some significant ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system. Black people, and to a lesser extent Asians are over represented in the sample. For example black people make up just 12.8% of the population, but 11% of the prison population and Asians make up 4.7% of the population, but 6% of the prison population. By contrast, white people are under-represented at all stages of the criminal justice process. The Ministry of Justice states that members of the black communities are seven times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched , three and a half times more likely to be arrested, and five times more like to be sent to prison. However, such statistics do not tell us whether members of one ethnic group are more likely than members of another group to commit an offence in the first place – they simply tell us about involvement with the criminal justice system. For example, differences in stop and search or arrest rates may simply be due to policing strategies or to discrimination by individual officers, while differences in rates of imprisonment may be the result of courts handing down harsher sentences to minorities. In addition to statistics on the ethnicity of those individuals who are involved with the criminal justice system, we can call on two other important sources of statistics

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