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The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

The Oxford Textbook on Criminology (2nd edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 30 January 2023

p. 272p. 27310. Race, ethnicities, and the criminal justice systemlocked

p. 272p. 27310. Race, ethnicities, and the criminal justice systemlocked

  • Neena Samota


This chapter explores the broader context and history of race-related issues in the UK, considering why racial disparities persist in diverse societies like the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, before narrowing the focus to race and ethnicity in the sphere of crime and criminal justice. The concepts of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ have long played major roles in both classroom and broader societal discussions about crime, punishment, and justice, but they have arguably never been more present and visible than today. The chapter looks at the problems with the statistics available on race, ethnicity, and crime, noting the ways in which they may not tell the whole story, before considering the statistics themselves as the chapter discusses the relationships between ethnicity and victimisation and offending. It then moves on to how ethnic minorities experience the various elements of the criminal justice system and the disadvantages they often face, before outlining the attempts that have been made to address these disparities at a state level. Finally, the chapter discusses critical race theory, a key theory in modern criminological examinations of race and its relationship to crime and justice, which grew out of the US but has much broader value and relevance as a framework of analysis.

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