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The objective of this report is to analyze theory and practices in the context of Criminology in order to determines its potential impact over different aspects. The analysis of this report considered:
- Provide an analysis based on social inequality, Discrimination against the poor in the CJS, Historical, Media sensationalism and Education etc.
Social disparity is the common issue that has been faced by the country even after having various social equality laws and provisions. The report makes a comprehensive discussion regarding various social inequalities aspects in the country which have been affecting criminal justice system as well. The report will then make a discussion regarding how discrimination with the poor is actually conducted while analysing any criminal activities or during its process. In the ends, the report will make discussion regarding various approaches that can be used in the form of media and education so as to ensure that disparity related activities can be mitigated.
Paragraph 1: Social inequality / Politics
From assessment, it has been identified that when two people are committing crime of similar seriousness then they are equally accountable for punishment. On the basis of this aspect, in case of departing from equality, there must be suitable differences and justification. Through evaluating articles, it has been found that England and Wales get failed to employ or undertake similar treatment in against to the individuals who committed same crime or undesirable acts. Under criminal justice system, biasness takes place on the basis of class, race and gender (Beckett and Western, 2001). Usually, biasness occurs at sentencing stage or even within the penal system in against to a wider criminal justice system. Inequality or biasness occurs at each and every stage of the criminal process. Hence, biasness starts with the stage where investigation and charges are taken by Police.
In addition to this, inequality has also assessed in the prosecution decisions taken by the crown service, decisions related to bail, court verdicts and sentencing aspects. Thus, it can be presented that biasness arises usually after sentencing. In addition to this, penal system cannot be viewed or considered in isolation while considering issues pertaining to biasness. In context of criminal justice system, biasness or inequality arises due to the several reasons. Laws and legislation lay emphasis on avoiding discrimination on the basis of age, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation. Irrespective of existence of Equality Act 2010, discriminatory practices are taking place in the penal system.
Paragraph 2: Discrimination against the poor in the CJS
Researchers have stated significant biasness in fundamental principle of justice. It is important that all the like cases must be treated alike only. If two individuals have been involved in the crime of similar gravity, then in that case, they are liable to bear equal punishment unless and until there is some important as well as relevant difference between the two cases. However, there is enormous amount of disparities present in the sentences granted to criminals. The differences lie based on social status and power an individual may carry. It can be stated that variance in the level and gravity of punishment have been noticed based on race, social class and gender of the individual, who have committed the crime (Bennett, 1979). There are other stages as well where biasness can be presented in the criminal process or other stages where various aspects are included such as investigation or charge from the side of police, court verdicts, bail decisions and other sentencing decisions as well.
The discrimination can be deliberate and can be of unconscious nature as well. Stereotype thinking can also be the other reason of social and criminal justice biasness. Regular data of official series have stated regarding alteration in penal and criminal statistics based on representation of class of the individual. Operation of class biasness in criminal Justice System has been presented since a long time (Hudson, 2007). As per stereotype thinking of people, individuals belonging to lower socio-economic group have greater tendency to commit one or other offence. But, differentiating the criminals based on classes to further divide them as per crime can create difference in overall justice given to them. The researchers have been able to vastly magnify difference between the social classes in such a manner that Criminal Justice System has also been widely affected by same. Common criminal related behaviour of people with lower social status includes robbery and burglary. However, it has been evidenced that middle class individuals are treated with more leniency in comparison to that of lower class people. Such discriminated attitude towards individuals have affected the overall set up being created by Criminal Justice System. The criterion of misinterpretation and conveying disrespect towards lower class people affects the justice aspects of overall lower socio-economic group people (Jewkes, 2012).
Biasness based on social class or poverty is initiated at very early stage of criminal process before it is actually discovered by police while ascertaining that whether crime has actually been conducted by the particular individual or not. Subsequent detection of offences may also affect the overall practices of detection of police or investigation team involved in it. Unemployed people are also able to get forcefully attracted towards sentencing. Racial disparities in sentencing have affected the overall justice system where people who have actually conducted any crime are decided based upon their income level and social status in the country. Penal system of the nation may get affected due to instrumental power of class and social status.
Paragraph 3: Historical / Continuity
Social class refers to the group of individuals who belong to similar level of influence, wealth, educational level and status. There is a greater tendency of people belonging to minorities to go into the prison. It is due to prevalence of racism and inequalities while identifying that whether an individual has actually committed a particular crime or not. based on the notion that minorities tend to indulge more in criminal activities, they are imprisoned without clarifying that whether activity has actually been conducted by them or not. Harsher treatment is given to them in the prison which is clear depiction of inequality in Criminal Justice System of the country (Cavadino, Dignan and Mair, 2013).
However, there is no social data present which states that people belonging to particular social class or certain occupation is indulged in criminal behaviour to a greater extent in comparison to the other. Due to unequal behaviour, poorer and people from marginal class are affected by the decision and are liable to suffer more in comparison to that of other individuals. Self-reports have been able to state that there is no obvious relationship between crime and belonging ness of individual to a particular class. Police likely to suspect and enquire lower class people due to various reasons. One of the most common out of all is related to requirement of money or funds so as to earn their livelihood. Notion states that they have more reasons to commit a particular fraud in comparison to the one who belongs to higher social class. Hence, the prosecution tends to suspects people with lower social status (Tierney and O’Neill, 2013).
The cause of sentencing lower social class is also related to richer defendants. An individual belonging to high class category is able to afford better lawyers and are able to escape even if they have been involved in committing the particular crime. On the other hand, court is also quite strict and punishing when it comes to a crime that involves any individual belonging to lower social class. The studies being conducted in 1960s and 70s, it has been stated that there is a significant biasness in the manner that lower class offenders are actually handled in the prison and are back lashed at every stage in the process of criminal Justice System. It is more likely that if a poor has committed the crime then there are less chances that he will not be arrested or convicted. The biasness generally tends to begin against the poor at the stage when, legislator decide what is to be a crime (Freilich, and LaFree, 2015). Hence, it can be stated that an individual getting affected by the crime is much higher in case of individuals belonging to lower social class.
Criminal Justice System have failed to fight against the crime that is related to social status. Hence, the disparities lie based on wealth, privilege and opportunities that are available to people and can then reinforce the overall decision-making being taken by the court and other people involved in criminal justice process as well. Diverting the public discontent and opposition from rich and powerful people on to poor and powerless can help in ensuring that greater degree of justice have been extended to the individual (Wartell and Gallagher, 2012). Due to misinterpretation of the available facts, that lower social groups are more likely to commit the crime have affected overall Criminal Justice System of the country. It is important for the authorities to take decisions equally and without considering any type of social disparities.
Paragraph 4: Media sensationalism
Sensationalism is considered as type of editorial bias in mass media. Some times media conducts biased presentation of stories that omit real facts and information. Moral panic has caused anxiety for the public. There are many people those get vulnerable by the powerful social agents such as news media etc. It is the situation in which particular group of people threats these lower class society members (Hypodermic Needle Theory of Communication, 2018). These powerful persons present information in negative manner that impacts negative on the people which create moral panic for them. If new media circulates any information against the person then it changes views of other people as well. This shapes views on incarceration. This panic gets arisen when mass media create fear among other persons on the bases of race, ethnicity or social class.
There are many white collar people those who commit crimes but as they have high power thus, media gets failed to present their crime in front of population (Almond and Verba, 2015). White collar crimes are non-violent crimes that are committed by business persons or government professionals. Thy all are having high power and have strong connection thus, they hide their crimes through their power. Fraud, insider trading, bribery are some examples of such type of criminal activities. DrillTech company was engaged in horizontal drilling project that runs through North City. In this, Mr. Smith has offered bribery to the city engineer for approving this project. DrillTech has committed this crime by accepting bribe which as they were having huge power thus, this, case was not presented in the media (Al-Hujran and et.al, 2015).
Hypodermic needle theory is also known as magic bullet theory. This model explains that media has huge power on audience. Media circulate message like magic bullet and this message gets entered into audience mind. Media has power to control over the mind of population. Population get to know about any kind of crime through newspaper or television media. If media presents the case in positive manner then audience gives positive reaction over it whereas if media circulates the case in negative manner then it may impact negative on the people (Hypodermic Needle Theory of Communication, 2018). Overall perception of audience are being controlled by mass media. Population do not have any power in front of media channels because these channels influence opinion of public ad change their behaviour as well. Whenever people receives information through media then it creates uniform thinking among the audience (Almond and Verba, 2015).
Current government party significantly influence attitude of public on crime. These government authorities have high power thus, they can force media to circulate any news which can impacts positive on their party. In such condition some information are being hide thus, population do not get to know about these cases. Current government parties highlight the cases which can give benefit to their party thus, people are unaware with most of the cases. Islamophobia has faced the war, after this people has become negative towards Muslim and Islam (Al-Hujran and et.al, 2015). This case has been highlighted in the media which has changed perception of population to great extent.
Paragraph 5: Education
Educational inequality is the main cause of increasing crime in the nation. People believes that lower class families do not get adequate education opportunities as compare to high class families. These high income class people gives quality education to their children that support kids in making bright career but lower income class parents do not have adequate monitory resources which creates issue for them in spending such large amount for their children education (Darling-Hammond, 2015). In such condition some times these kids have to leave their education in mid. In the recent time people has to spend high amount in order to get quality knowledge. If parents are unable to spend such large amount then it creates inequality in the educational institutes which force children to move towards crime.
Educational activity opens more opportunities for the learners and give them chance to make their own carer. But due to inequalities some kids fail to get adequate knowledge in the educational institutes (Egalite, 2016). Sometimes teachers promote to the students who belong from high class families. This increase feeling of anxiety among lower class students and they move towards crime. Parental income directly affects academic outcome of the children. Parents those who have high income sources can admit their kids to the high school where they can get high opportunities and can build their career. They spend money and send to their children to such places where their kids can participants in extracurricular activities at school. This enhances confidence of the person and they become more interactive. This helps the person in gaining more opportunities and making a bright future (How Family Background Influences Student Achievement, 2016). But the parents those who do not have adequate income sources or they struggle economically. These people have no time to check homework of their kids or send them to extracurricular activities. In such condition these kids start doing jobs in the early age before completing their education. This impacts on their career sometimes these people gets failed to get good job on time (Darling-Hammond, 2015). family background is strongly related with overall success of kids. If parents are paying attention on performance of the learners then these kids can perform well in classes and can gain success in the future
It can be concluded from the above report that there is an existence of social disparities in the country which not only affect the overall aspects of society but also have greater impact on Criminal Justice System of the country. It has been stated by the formation or structure of the society that, people belonging to lower social status have higher tendency to perform stealing, robbery or indulge in other criminal activities. The biasness can also be noticed in handling of offenders in the prison as people with high social status are given better treatment in comparison to the one who belongs to lower social class. Education and media also play an important role in it in order to assess that whether people belonging to ethical minorities are more prone to conduct criminal activities or not.