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Race and crime. One in three African American males ages 20-29 are under some form of correctional supervision in the U.S. Proportion has doubled since WW II Also victimized at higher rates. Prison populations. In 1926, 75-80% of inmates were white Today, around 50%

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Race and crime

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race and crime
Race and crime
  • One in three African American males ages 20-29 are under some form of correctional supervision in the U.S.
  • Proportion has doubled since WW II
  • Also victimized at higher rates
prison populations
Prison populations
  • In 1926, 75-80% of inmates were white
  • Today, around 50%
  • 1926: about 20% of inmates were African American
  • Now around 50%
  • Gap began to narrow noticeably in the 1970s
theoretical explanations
Theoretical explanations
  • Biological unlikely—does not account for the changes
  • Poorer prenatal care and nutrition might contribute a biological factor, but there are social roots to this problem
  • Most explanations sociological
theoretical explanations4
Theoretical explanations
  • Moynihan report
  • Economic factors
  • Poverty (1/2 of AF Am children live below the poverty line); Hispanics
  • Barriers to employment and education
  • However, do not explain the increase
  • Relative deprivation
income distribution
Income distribution
  • 1% of the population owns 40% of the wealth
  • The top 20% own 80% of the wealth
  • The top 20% have become wealthier over the last 40 years
  • The bottom 20% has lost ground
theoretical explanations6
Theoretical explanations
  • Ecological research: migration from the rural South beginning in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Durkheim and alienation
  • Culture conflict, Conflict theory
  • Examples of conflict theory
the role of the cjs
The role of the CJS
  • 14th amendment guarantees equal protection
  • Post Civil War amendment
  • Rules out arbitrary and unreasonable government classifications
  • Does not prohibit “reasonable” classifications (I.e., children v. adults)
14 th amendment
14th amendment
  • There must be a relationship between classification and a legitimate governmental purpose
  • If a law impinges on a fundamental right, then the state must have a “compelling state interest”
  • Suspect classifications: race, national origin, illegitimacy, gender (??)
  • Most riots in U.S. have been sparked by incidents involving the police
  • Young low-income men have the most negative views of the police
  • Police brutality
  • Stop and frisks
  • Searches (more likely to get caught)
  • Profiling
  • Jury selection
  • Challenges for cause and peremptory challenges
  • Swain v. Alabama
  • Reversed in Batson v. KY: race based peremptory challenges violated EP
  • Little effect
  • Legal representation
  • Much of the debate has been over private v. public defenders
  • Not a consistent pattern. The research does not get at quality of representation
  • Bail
plea bargaining
Plea bargaining
  • Prosecutors more willing to offer concession for less serious crimes, fewer priors, weak evidence
  • A number of studies suggest that whites get better deals, although studies in some states find that it makes no difference
  • “Substantial assistance”
juvenile justice
Juvenile Justice
  • Minorities more likely to be formally processed
  • More likely to be transferred to adult court
  • Partially dependent on race of victim and offender
  • Majority of crime is intraracial
  • (exception: Native American Indians)
  • For some types of crimes, sentencing of African American is longer if the victim is white
  • For some very serious crimes, race appears to make little difference
  • Death penalty
  • Baldus study
  • A minority murderer with a white victim were more likely to get the death penalty
death penalty
Death penalty
  • Race of the victim, rather than the offender, had the greatest impact on the outcome
  • McKlesky v Kemp (1987)
  • Used this study to challenge the imposition of the death penalty
  • Court ruled that he had not shown discrimination in his individual case
  • Pure justice to systematic discrimination
  • U.S. in the middle
  • Minorities treated more harshly at some stages, no differently at others
  • Variation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction