Effect of suspect race on officers' arrest decisions - Research Paper Example

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Article Evaluation The article “Effect of Suspect Race on Officers’ Arrest Decisions” by T.R Kochel, D.B Wilson and S.D Mastrofski, is a research paper that addresses and examines the fact whether US police officers’ decisions to arrest an individual depends on matters of racial discrimination…
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Effect of suspect race on officers arrest decisions
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Article Evaluation The article “Effect of Suspect Race on Officers’ Arrest Decisions” by T.R Kochel, D.B Wilson and S.D Mastrofski, is a research paper that addresses and examines the fact whether US police officers’ decisions to arrest an individual depends on matters of racial discrimination. The hypothesis of the research is that the police officers, in the USA, indulge in racial discrimination in cases of arresting individuals for crimes. Due to this method of racial profiling followed by the police force, Blacks are arrested more than the Whites for a given set of crimes. This racial profiling is more in case of trivial crimes but less so for serious crimes. The dependent and independent variables considered in this study are as follows. Arrest versus a less severe form of punishment is taken as a dependent variable. The citizen’s race is taken as an independent variable. These are the two main variables considered but there are a number of variables considered in different papers. There are legal factors like the strength of evidence, complainant’s cooperation, seriousness of offence, criminal record of suspect and mandatory arrest policies. Then, there are extralegal factors like the personal characteristics of the suspect and the complainant, the need, dictated by the conditions, to exercise control and the level of intimacy between the antagonists. The methodology of Meta-analysis was used for data collection and for a sample to be used it had to satisfy the following criterion. It had to be collected within USA. It had to show a clear relation between race of the suspect and incidences of arrest. The time limit for these data was infinite. Published and unpublished, both forms of data were used. The prior literature reviewed showed that though public opinion claimed the presence of racial discrimination in police officers’ decisions to arrest, a panel of academics claimed that the findings were so mixed up, it was difficult to come to a definite conclusion. This is the reason that this research had to be conducted, in support of the public opinion. The prior literature review was definitely not an adequate representation of all relevant studies as it seems to have indulged in the collection of biased data, mostly from police records that would have completely hidden the problem. The findings suggest that even though the probability of arrest of Blacks has been high, the result has been heterogeneous throughout the different studies. However, overall result suggests that the probability of a Black getting arrested is 30 percent higher than the same for a White. This research can be generalized and its generalization will have huge social implications. This is because racial discrimination is followed against the African American population in USA, pertaining to not just legal matters but also, political, social and economic. And, why just USA, this is the trend of occurrence in most other European countries or countries where the majority of population are Whites. The research design chosen was considerably adequate for the purpose of the research. Inclusion of a number of variables from studies compiled by a number of published and unpublished sources and an infinite time period ensured that the research is unbiased and not subjected to limitations. The data was presented and discussed with great precision and in an organized manner. The results from the study are extremely relevant as it showcases the existence of unjust racial discriminating practices in so-called developed countries like USA, and that to on the face of unanimous public opposition. The result from this study has to be kept in mind in times of policy formulation and while taking other administrative decisions. Four main hypotheses are put forward by this study. They are as follows. i) The data collected by researchers was most dependable but, on the whole, differences in data sources did not show much variation in result. ii) The mean given by regression models was higher than the one given by OLS-models, however, they are not large enough to be statistically significant. iii) Racial discrimination was higher in case of juvenile crimes but the data, in this case was biased. iv) Incidences of racial discrimination were lower in case of serious crimes. This may be due to the exercise of more scrutiny of police action in these cases. There are three potential drawbacks of this research paper. It stresses that racial discrimination, in matters of the law, exists USA but it does not state clearly the causes for its occurrence. It also does not suggest a clear policy as to how this problem can be solved. Even though this paper concludes that there is robust proof of more incidences of arrest of Blacks than whites, in proof it is clear that heterogeneity exists throughout the studies. Thus, the inference is not backed by solid proof. It may be conclude that the relevance of this paper may be immense if the minor flaws in it are amended. It will be a first step toward a society devoid of discrimination and disparity and truly fulfill the goals of democracy. Read More
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