Ethnicity and Criminalisation

Official statistics show ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system. For example, blacks are 7x more likely than whites to be stopped and search and 5x more likely to be in prison. However, victim surveys and self-report studies throw a more direct light on ethnicity and offending.

Victim Surveys is when sociologists ask individuals to say what crimes they have been victims of. Sometimes they ask respondents to identify the ethnicity of the person who committed the crime against the. However, victim surveys have their limitations they reply on victim’s memory. White victims tend to over identify blacks as offenders. They exclude the under 16’s. they exclude crimes by businesses, so they tell us nothing about the ethnicity of the cooperate criminals.

Self-report studies are when an individual is asked to disclose crimes they have committed. Graham and bowling found that blacks and whites had almost identical rates of offending, whilst Asians had much lower, other self-report studies show similar patterns, discrediting the stereotype of blacks as being more likely than whites to offend. Overall, the evidence on ethnicity and offending is inconsistent. OS and VS indicate higher rates of offending by blacks, but SRS do not.