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Module ETHNICITY, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Module code: LW297
Credits: 5
Semester: 1
Department: LAW
International: Yes
Overview Overview
 

This module introduces students to key issues regarding ethnicity within the study of crime, punishment and the criminal justice system. In doing so, it addresses topics including the overrepresentation of minority ethnic groups in criminal justice systems internationally; interaction with law enforcement; sentencing disparities; and the impact of crime legislation on minority ethnic communities, for example the ⿿War on Drugs⿿. Taking a comparative criminological perspective, students will explore the Irish context as it relates to that in other common-law jurisdictions, with particular reference to the Irish Travelling community and their parallels with the Maori community and indigenous Australians, Canadians and Americans. This module also examines minority ethnic victims of crime, looking at punitive attitudes toward ingroup and outgroup crime, and hate crimes. Additionally, the cultural and media representations of ethnicity and crime are discussed, and the module overviews the representations of minority ethnic group members as victims and offenders and the impact that these may have on punitive attitudes and outcomes. Topics will also be explored using the concept of intersectionality, which looks at how other factors such as gender and socioeconomic status are felt alongside ethnicity. This module uses Irish and international case studies to illustrate the implications of differential treatment based on ethnicity in the criminal justice system and will draw on statistics, policy documents and academic literature. Topic Outline: Across this module, the following content will be covered. Lecture presentations will be complemented by guest speakers, video material and in-class activities. Minority ethnic offenders: Sentencing disparities, higher rates of death penalty verdicts when the victim is from the majority ethnic community, poor relationships with law enforcement. Minority ethnic victims: Hate crimes, domestic violence, differences in punitive attitudes and outcomes for minority ethnic victims. Legislative impacts: Disproportionate impact of criminal justice policy on minority ethnic communities in Ireland and internationally. Ethnic stereotypes: The role of the media in perpetuating minority ethnic stereotypes and in shaping responses to crime. The Irish context: Examining the overrepresentation of the Irish Travelling community in the Irish prison and probation service. Reviewing research which has found that non-Irish nationals receive significantly longer custodial sentences than their Irish counterparts for certain offences.

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