Racial discrimination within the criminal justice process in England and Wales - Essay Example

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Racial discrimination within the criminal justice process in England and Wales Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: How far is it possible to say that there is racial discrimination within the criminal justice process in England and Wales? Introduction Cohen (1999) asserts that racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is a global phenomenon that undermines the rule of law and faith in the judicial system…
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Racial discrimination within the criminal justice process in England and Wales
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Download file to see previous pages The United Nations Human Rights Committee highlighted some racial discrimination issues in the UK in 2001 especially the high number of the black population in prisons and unlawful stops and searches. Although, the criminal justice system has changed the approach to investigating and sentencing racially motivated crimes, the courts still have the powers to increase the sentence for the racially motivated crimes. This discrimination leads to victimisation of the ethnic minorities by the same institutions that are tasked with safeguarding their rights. Bowling (1998) is of the idea that racial discrimination exists at all stages of criminal justice system from police profiling of offenders on the basis of race, police mistreatment of the offenders in their custody and imposition of harsher judicial penalties to members of particular races (Brown, 1984). Racial stereotyping and prejudices by the officers in the judicial system leads to overrepresentation of members of a particular race in the prison system. Discriminatory law enforcement tactics such as unwarranted stop and searches towards citizens of a particular race and counter-terrorism tactics that aim at invading the privacy of members of a particular race contribute to the undermining and violation of the fundamental human rights of these citizens. Sudbury (2005b) points out that Article 1 of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), any distinction, preference or restriction that is based on descent, race or ethnic origin which has the effect of impairing the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms can be termed as a form of racial discrimination (McKenzie, 1998). Racial discrimination in the criminal justice system in the UK has attracted intense international debate and condemnation leading to a declaration of several global conferences on racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created several offenses that are lined with racial violence, harassment and public disorder and provided the maximum sentence (McKenzie, 1998). However, the Act increased racial discrimination in police profiling and prosecution of racially motivated offenses. It is a legal obligation for the law enforcement officers to use their powers of stop and search in a fair manner without discriminating the citizens on the basis of race or ethnic grouping (Malleson, 2007). Racial discrimination is evidenced in racial police profiling especially in police stops and searches (Mhlanga, 1997). Law enforcement authorities use racial stereotypes in determining who has been involved in a criminal activity. Racial origins will sometimes influence the law enforcement officers’ decisions in making an arrest. In the case of suspected juvenile crimes, the police officers take in to account the demeanor and race of the juvenile in deciding whether to make an arrest. If the law enforcement officers perceive that the offender is disrespectful, there are higher chances of arrests especially for the racial minorities. Some researchers have argued that black minorities are more likely to be shot during police arrests since the police officers use disproportionately more deadly force while making the arrests (Moorthy, Cahalin and Howard, 2004). Waters (1990) suggests ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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