Ethnic Origins, Crime, and Criminal Justice in England and Wales in Ethnicity, Crime and Immigration: Comparative and Cross-National Perspectives: Crime and Justice: A Review of Research

David J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The main ethnic minorities in Britain arise from postcolonial migrations from the West Indies and the Indian subcontinent. South Asians adopted survival strategies based on the family, religion, and ethnic community, whereas Afro-Caribbeans initially adopted more outgoing and integrative strategies. Both groups have been subject to similar levels of racial discrimination in the fields of employment and housing. The rate of imprisonment of black people is currently seven times that of whites or South Asians. The theory that this disparity is mostly caused by cumulative bias at the various stages of law enforcement and criminal process is implausible in the light of the fragmentary evidence available. There is evidence that law enforcement targets black people, that certain stages of criminal process are biased against them, and that apparently neutral criteria used by the criminal justice system work to their disadvantage; but these effects are small compared with the disparity in rates of imprisonment. Despite conflicting evidence from a major self-report study, it is likely that the actual offending rate is substantially higher among black people than among other groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-82
Number of pages82
JournalCrime and Justice
Volume21
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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