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Overrepresentation in criminal justice systems

Howarth, Eponine Pamella Claudine (2018) Overrepresentation in criminal justice systems. LSE Undergraduate Political Review (25 Jan 2018). Blog Entry.

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Criminal statistics usually categorise social groups according to religion, race, gender and class. But, why are certain groups of people systematically overrepresented in the criminal justice system? We do not assume the existence of a single criminal justice system or definition of crime : both vary across space and time, and levels of overrepresentation vary accordingly. Overrepresentation also suggests two types of problems : groups more likely to commit crime, and those more likely to be arrested. This pieces shows the multi-causality of overrepresentation. The first part argues that these groups are overrepresented because more likely to be arrested due to target policing, and the influence of the media in shaping public opinion (institutionalised racism). An intersectional approach only may fully explain which groups are most overrepresented. The second part attempts to understand higher risk levels for some groups, by exploring structural factors: different levels of inequality, linked to types of welfare states, embedded ideologies (neoliberalism) and approaches to crime and punishment (retributivist, utilitarian). Ultimately, overrepresentation of economically and socially excluded groups is higher in liberal welfare states like the Unites States, also fuelled by neoliberalism and a retributivist approach – the incarceration of those financially excluded from markets committing crime.

Item Type: Online resource (Blog Entry)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 08:36
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2021 23:24

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