statistics on the ethnicity of criminal justice populations show overrepresentation of minority grou

Statistics on the ethnicity of criminal justice populations show the overrepresentation of minority group members, especially blacks. Official data indicate a more significant overrepresentation of blacks in prison concerning Hispanics but a pattern of increasing commitments among Hispanic groups. Available information also suggests that crime patterns of Native Americans and Asian Americans differ from those of Hispanics or blacks. While minorities are overrepresented among arrestees and prison inmates, evidence that they commit more crimes than the norm is not definitive. Research on minorities and crime must examine the patterns of organized crime enterprises, irregular economic activities, drug and alcohol use among minorities, and the interrelationships of these factors with conventionally defined crime and legitimate employment. Personal victimization rates are higher for nonwhites than whites but differ for various groups according to the type of offence. Hispanics appear to have higher victimization rates than blacks but lower rates than whites. Future studies should focus on different victimization experiences of the various minorities and trends in interethnic crime. Inadequate and unequal treatment of minorities is evident in the operations of criminal justice agencies. Race appears to affect criminal case disposition, the quality of relationships with middle-class representatives of the establishment, and the use of deadly force by the police. A theoretical approach to crime among minorities would focus on the separate and combined effects of structural and subcultural factors on the crime and victimization experiences of minorities. The influence of legal and extralegal factors on the treatment of minorities by the criminal justice system will also be considered. Research on minority crime and criminal justice experiences is necessary for developing new policies to make the criminal justice system responsive to the problems of minorities. Fifty-nine references are supplied.
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