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Lecture 13

WDW205 Lecture 13

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Woodsworth College Courses
Jim Davies

WDW205 Lecture 13 12/03/2012 Racial Bias in the Canadian Criminal Justice System Example of Possible Bias - Racial Profiling (police stop and search activities). - Arrest Decisions. o Diversion of white youths over minority groups - Police use of force. o Are police officers more likely to use physical force against minority groups over others? - Pre-trial decision-making. o Are minority more likely to get denial bail - Plea bargaining. o Minorities are less likely to accept a plea o Minorities are not going to plea because they are truly innocent o White offenders charged with a crime are more serious crime, and they know that they are guilty o They can do time easily - Conviction rates and Sentencing. o Minorities charged with violent crime receive less serious sentences than the white counterparts (sentenced more leniently) o As long as you kill minority victims, lighter sentences will occur, because the community devalues minorities - Criminal Deportation. o Landed immigrant without citizenship, you can be deported back to your country of origin (usually those that lived in Canada since they were a kid) - Correctional treatment. - Prison discipline. - Parole decisions. Without proper race crime stats it is hard to explore the correctional treatment, prison discipline and parole decisions Questions - To what extent does the general public perceive racial bias in policing? - What research has been conducted to investigate allegations of racial profiling? - What are the consequences of profiling? - Can racial profiling be eliminated? - How can perceptions of bias be reduced? - How can we explain racial differences in police use of force. Perceptions of bias - Perceptions of racial bias is a problem if the majority of individuals believes that the police, courts and prison sentencing is based on racial bias Percent of Respondents Who Believe that the Police Treat Black People Worse than White People - Perceptions of discriminations were not isolated Percent of Respondents Who Believe that a Black Person Would Receive a Harsher Sentence Than a White Person Convicted of the Same Crime - More bias in policing than in courts - Evaluating the police more higher over the court Percent of Respondents from the 2007 Survey Who Agree or Strongly Agree that Discrimination Makes it Difficult for People From Their Racial Group to Get a Good Education - 16% whites, 23 Chinese, 59 whites Percent of Respondents from the 2007 Survey Who Agree or Strongly Agree that Discrimination Makes it Difficult for People From Their Racial Group to Get a Good Job - 24% whites, 56 Chinese, 76 black Percent of Respondents from the 2007 Survey Who Agree or Strongly Agree that Discrimination Makes it Difficult for People From Their Racial Group to Get Good Housing - 17%whites, 17& Chinese, 75% black Percent of Respondents from the 2007 Survey Who Agree or Strongly Agree that Racism is a Bigger Problem in the U.S. than in Canada - 72% whites, 66% Chinese, 48% black Percent of Toronto High School Students Who Perceive that the Police Treat Members of Their Racial Group Worse than Others (2000 Survey) - 13% whites, 27% Asian, 31% South Asian, 74% Black Why the Perception of Bias? - Exposure to the American Media? - Experiences in country of Origin? o Recent immigrants are less likely to received bias, and value highly on the courts o The longer you stay in a country the more likely you are to perceive the police lower over time - Parental/peer socialization? o Racial minorities are taught to hate the police - Experiences of Racial Discrimination? o Bias actually exist, through personal experience and hearing them indirectly from friends and family members o Positive encounters with the police does not reinforce this relationship, but one or two negative encounters will stick with you highly Racial Profiling: A Definition - Racial Profiling exists when the members of a particular racial or ethnic group become subject to greater criminal justice or institutional surveillance than others. - Profiling exists when racial characteristics -- rather than behavior – contribute to surveillance decisions. - Hard profiling: this profiling can exist only when race was the factor - Criminal Profiling: race + another characteristic(s) - Most police stops individuals because of race + furtiveness Examples of Racial Profiling - Police stop and search activities o Qualitative Interviews, focus groups, etc.  Documented negative experiences  Not based on random samples and does not include a comparative aspect o Observational studies (field work)  Hawthorne perspective (individuals will not act maturely because they know that they are being watched) o Survey data o Official data - Undercover surveillance decisions - Customs activities (secondary searches) - Immigration (security) checks - Private security activities - School disciplinary activities Multivariate Analyses (1994 Survey) - Statistically controlled for age, gender, education, social class, immigration status, residential location, etc. - Blacks still 2 times more likely to experience a single stop, 4 times more likely to experience multiple stops and 7 times more likely to experience an “unfair” stop. - Age and social class do not protect blacks from police stops. - Nicely dressed blacks driving nice cars are more likely to be stop (seems abnormal to see black individuals with luxurious possessions) Toronto Youth Crime and Victimization Survey - Stratified Random Sample of 3,400 high Toronto high school students. - Response Rate = 84% - Diverse sample: 1,313 white students, 486 black students, 421 South Asians, 662 Asians, etc. - Blacks get stopped more than whites, whites gets stop more than minorities Race and Crime - “If police pay special attention to blacks, is it because, statistically and pragmatically, blacks commit more crimes than others? Or because they don’t like blacks?” (Worthington, Sun, Oct. 21). - “Look, everyone knows there is a huge amount of black-on-black crime going on in this city and it is a problem that needs to be addressed. That’s not racism. That’s police doing their jobs” (Goldstein, Sun, Oct. 29). Multivariate Analyses - Controlled for social class, leisure activities, gang membership, drug and alcohol use and criminal behaviour. - All are strongly related to police contact. - However, they do not reduce the impact of race. In fact, the impact of race on police stops get stronger after statistically controlling for other factors - Controlling for time spent in the public sphere affects ones likelihood of being stopped by police officers The Kingston Pilot Project - An investigation of all stops conducted by Kingston police officers from October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2004. - A contact card or OV record was supposed to be completed every time a civilian was stopped by the police and questioned in any manner. - “Casual contacts” with civilians were not recorded. Stops initiated by RIDE programs were not supposed to be recorded. - For each contact, officers were supposed to record the name, residential address, age, gender and race of the person stopped – as well as the location of the stop, the reason for the stop and the final disposition of the case. - Final Merged dataset consists of 16,616 cases. - An average of 95 stops per Kingston Police officer; 208 stops per patrol officer. Toronto Contact Card Data - Toronto police regularly fill out 208 Contact Cards or – or Field Information Reports – to document “persons of interest.” - These cards contain information about the reason for the stop, the time and location of the stop, and the personal characteristics of the civilian. - Police also collect data on “associates.” - Contact card information is usually not collected when an arrest is made. - Contact card data is entered into a massive police database. All people in this database are thus “known to police.” - The Police argue that such informatio
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