Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Race and Crime - Data Sources And Meaning, The Nature And Direction Of The Race And Crime Relationship, Bio-psychological Theory - Conclusion

Race and Crime - The Nature And Direction Of The Race And Crime Relationship

criminal justice system races

Official crime measures indicate that certain races are disproportionately represented in crime statistics and the criminal justice system. While there is legitimate cause to question official crime measures, a relationship between race and crime nonetheless exists. Two theoretical models explain the relationship between race and crime. The first explanation is the disproportionality hypothesis, which states that certain races, namely African Americans and Hispanics, are disproportionately represented in official crime statistics and the criminal justice system because these races are disproportionately involved in crime. This approach explains the relationship between race and crime as a product of legitimate, or legal, factors, such as offense severity and prior record. Obviously, if members of race A commit more crime than members of race B, then race A will be disproportionately represented in official crime statistics and the criminal justice system for legitimate reasons.

The second theoretical explanation is the disparity hypothesis, which states that multiple facets of society, namely the various stages of the criminal justice system, treat some races differently than others. In other words, there is disparity between how a member of one race and a similar member of another race are treated. This approach contends that extralegal factors play a role in affecting various parts of society and the criminal justice system. Rather than only considering legal variables, such as offense severity and prior record, when arresting or sentencing offenders, disparity theorists argue that society considers extralegal factors, such as race, ethnicity, social class, or lifestyle, when dealing with actual or potential offenders. According to the disparity hypothesis, members of some races are treated differently by the criminal justice system, and it is this pervasive disparity and discrimination that explains why some races are disproportionately represented in official crime statistics and the criminal justice system.

Race and Crime - Bio-psychological Theory [next] [back] Race and Crime - Data Sources And Meaning

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or