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March 05, 2005

Crime and Punishment: Part 2

In a recent post I looked at the data on crime by different ethnic groups in Britain. As this arose from a controversy about crimes committed by women, I dealt only with the data for women.

Out of curiosity I have done a similar exercise for men….

As previously, the data are derived from the 2002 Home Office Report on prison statistics for England and Wales, compared with data from the 2001 Census for proportions in the general population of England and Wales aged 16-34 inclusive (which I take to be the peak age of criminal activity).

This gives the following results (in per cent to one decimal place):

__________White__All non-white__Black__S. Asian__Chinese & other__Mixed

In Prison (1)__79.2_____20.2______13.5_____3.2_____3.5___________n/a

In Prison (2)__84.5_____14.1______10.4_____2.6_____1.1___________n/a

In general____88.3_____11.7_______2.6_____6.3_____1.3___________1.5

(1) percentages among all male prisoners
(2) percentages among male prisoners excluding foreign nationals
n/a = data not available in prison statistics
Figures may not total to 100% due to rounding and small numbers of prisoners with 'unrecorded' ethnicity.

As discussed more fully in the previous post, there are difficulties in interpreting these data, and not much weight should be put on them. Notably, the categories used for the ethnic breakdown in the prison statistics are not the same as in the Census. It is not at all clear what is covered by the ’Chinese and other’ category in the prison stats, and I suggest this category should be ignored. There is also the problem that some prisoners are temporary visitors to the UK. However, as compared with the women’s statistics, the number of ’drug mules’ is less important among male prisoners. I have therefore given figures for all male prisoners (first line), followed by figures excluding foreign nationals.

It will be seen that, as with the women’s figures, Black men are over-represented in the prison population, while South Asian men are somewhat under-represented, though not as dramatically as in the case of women. I suspect that a more detailed breakdown would also reveal differences between different Asian ethnic groups, as these groups also differ substantially in educational and economic performance.

Posted by David B at 04:41 AM