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Crime, Punishment, and Ethnic Minorities in England and Wales


In a report issued by the House of Commons in 2007, it is stressed that in the UK the proportion of young people from ethnic minorities who enter the criminal justice system is unacceptable. This paper provides data on the over-representation of minorities and discusses explanations offered by independent qualitative researchers. The authors note the prevalence of causation theories revolving around disadvantage, exclusion, and marginalisation as the core explanatory variables adopted in the study of crime and ethnic minorities. They identify forms of self-victimisation, related to violent as well as non-violent crime, that connote illegal conduct in marginalised and over-policed areas. Finally, they suggest that social disadvantage turns into vulnerability even when minorities engage in illicit behaviour and business. Hence, partly, their overrepresentation in the criminal justice system.