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The US Liberal Criminological Tradition Critical Analysis - Essay Example

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The US Liberal Criminological tradition has cast a long shadow over contemporary theorising and research on race and crime in the UK. Critically analyse this statement with reference to relevant academic literature. Introduction There are times when tradition plays a clear role in the development of theory and research, making it difficult to go beyond traditional thought and influencing a number of areas, perhaps imperceptibly…
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The US Liberal Criminological Tradition Critical Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages There are clear statistics that show that some ethnic minorities are more likely to be associated with crime and the punitive system within both the US1 and the UK2. There is further evidence that this may be a result of ethnic discrimination and social stratification3, leading some scholars and supporters of liberal criminology to suggest that there is racial bias within the criminal justice system. There are those that go further and suggest that the punitive system does not represent what could be seen as a ‘true definition of criminality’ but rather a skewed view based on these ethnic and economic differences that evidence themselves in the statistics. This liberal criminology has become somewhat of a tradition, particularly in the US4, meaning that it has influences on criminological research in the UK and further afield. Whilst the aim to find a definition of true crime free from the effects of social and political order is perhaps noble, it can be difficult for scholars to move away from the shadow that the US liberal criminological tradition has cast. ...
This will provide insight into crime politics and how criminological traditions and research find themselves part of the legal landscape, and the effects that this type of background can have on contemporary research and attitudes within the field. The US Liberal Criminological Tradition To fully understand the nature of the question, it is perhaps prudent to examine the US liberal criminological tradition in more detail. Liberal criminology can be said to be the ‘perennial search for a measure of actual or real criminality’5. This search is deemed necessary partly because of the thought that crime figures (and the resultant research) often fails to account for crimes that have gone unreported or criminals that have not been prosecuted or otherwise recorded by the punitive system6. Liberal criminologists often go so far as to suggest that this way of analysing crime means that it is not true scientific research as it does not represent the scientific method7. The purpose of finding this true definition of criminality is to reduce the effects of political and socioeconomic factors on the justice system8. It has also been suggested that liberal criminologists ‘tend to share the hope that once real crime has been isolated and measured, its causes can be identified and solutions devised’9. Evidently, it is incredibly difficult to separate a justice system which relies on human judgement from political and socioeconomic factors present within the culture. Liberal criminology acknowledges this factor, but insists that much of the data provided on crime and criminals is false; ‘they reflect the bias inherent in an economically, ethnically, and racially stratified society’10. The argument here is perhaps ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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