Bias con­trib­utes to criminolog­ists mis­lead­ing us

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

John Paul Wright, pro­fes­sor at Uni­ver­sity of Cincin­nati, and Matthew DeLisi pro­fes­sor at Iowa State Uni­ver­sity have penned a pow­er­ful ar­ti­cle ti­tled “What Criminolog­ists Don’t Say, and Why,” in City Journal, Sum­mer 2017.

There is sig­nif­i­cant bias among criminolog­ists. The rea­son for that bias is that po­lit­i­cal lean­ings of aca­demic criminolog­ists are lib­eral.

Lib­eral criminolog­ists out­num­ber their con­ser­va­tive coun­ter­parts by a ra­tio of 30-to-1. Ide­ol­ogy al­most per­fectly pre­dicts the po­si­tion of criminolog­ists on is­sues from gun con­trol to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment to harsh sen­tenc­ing.

Lib­eral criminolog­ists march in step for gun con­trol, op­pose puni­tive prison sen­tences, and are ve­he­mently against the death penalty.

In 2012, the Na­tional Academy of Sciences com­mis­sioned a study on the growth of in­car­cer­a­tion. It showed that from 1928 un­til 1960, crime rates rose slowly each year. Af­ter the 1960s, crime rates ex­ploded to un­prece­dented lev­els of vi­o­lence un­til the 1990s.

Prior to 1980, only 40% of in­di­vid­u­als ar­rested for mur­der were sen­tenced to prison and those that were served an av­er­age of five years. In 1981, less than 10% of those ar­rested for sex­ual as­sault were sen­tenced to prison. Those who were sen­tenced served an av­er­age of 3.4 years. Lib­eral criminolog­ists prob­a­bly be­lieve that light sen­tenc­ing for mur­der­ers and rapists is just.

If criminolog­ists have the guts to even talk about a race-crime con­nec­tion, it’s be­hind closed doors and in guarded lan­guage. Any dis­cus­sion about race and crime sets one up for ac­cu­sa­tions of racism and that can mean the de­struc­tion of one’s pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

Wright and DeLisi say that lib­eral criminolog­ists avoid dis­cussing even ex­plicit racist ex­am­ples of black-on-white crime such as flash-mob as­saults, “po­lar bear hunt­ing” and the “knock­out game.” Th­ese are cases where black youth seek out white peo­ple to phys­i­cally attack.

Ac­cord­ing to Wright and DeLisi: “Dis­pro­por­tion­ate black in­volve­ment in vi­o­lent crime rep­re­sents the ele­phant in the room amid the cur­rent con­tro­versy over polic­ing in the United States.

Homi­cide num­bers from the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion Sup­ple­men­tary Homi­cide Re­ports, 1976-2005 in­di­cate that young African-Amer­i­can males ac­count for homi­cide vic­tims at lev­els that are ten to 20 times greater than their pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion and ac­count for homi­cide of­fend­ers at lev­els that are 15 to 35 times greater than their pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion.

The black-white gap in armed-rob­bery of­fend­ing has his­tor­i­cally ranged be­tween ten to one and 15 to one. For all racial groups, vi­o­lent crime is strongly in­trara­cial, and the in­trara­cial dy­namic is most pro­nounced among blacks.

That means the primary vic­tims of black crime are other black peo­ple. In more than 90% of homi­cides, for ex­am­ple, both the victim and the per­pe­tra­tor are black.

Be­tween 1991 and 2017, the na­tion­wide vi­o­lent crime rate fell from 758 cases to 382 cases per 100,000 peo­ple. De­spite the ev­i­dence that higher in­car­cer­a­tion re­duces crime rates, many criminolog­ists ar­gue that “mass in­car­cer­a­tion” has ac­tu­ally “took mi­nor­ity men out of their neigh­bor­hoods, stripped them of vot­ing rights, desta­bi­lized fam­i­lies, and sapped al­ready-pal­try eco­nomic re­sources from strug­gling com­mu­ni­ties.”

Wright and DeLisi say that “Such claims could seem plau­si­ble only if one be­lieves — con­trary to ev­i­dence and com­mon sense — that ca­reer crim­i­nals con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to their neigh­bor­hoods, en­joy sta­ble and func­tional fam­i­lies, vote, and work. What they did, in re­al­ity, was to prey on their neigh­bors.”

Crime is a ma­jor prob­lem for the black com­mu­nity. But in ad­di­tion to in­car­cer­at­ing those who prey on the black com­mu­nity, what can be done? The an­swer is easy, though im­ple­men­ta­tion poses a chal­lenge.

We should re-adopt the val­ues and prac­tices of our an­ces­tors. Black fam­i­lies of yes­ter­year were mainly two-par­ent and sta­ble, even dur­ing slav­ery. Black peo­ple didn’t tol­er­ate prop­erty de­struc­tion.

There were few school fights. Dis­re­spect and as­saults on teach­ers were vir­tu­ally un­known. Th­ese are now all too com­mon. The strong char­ac­ter of black peo­ple is re­spon­si­ble for the great progress made from eman­ci­pa­tion to to­day. Find a 70-, 80- or 90-year-old black per­son and ask him whether to­day’s conduct among black youth would have been tol­er­ated yes­ter­year. I guar­an­tee you that no will be their an­swer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.