How Class Bias Stereotypes Play a Role in Decisions to Arrest
The role of class bias stereotypes in police decision-making has been studied extensively since the publication of Aaron Cicourel’s 1968 book, The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice. In it, he showed how police officers’ decisions to arrest were based on class bias stereotypes they had about offenders. But what does that mean? Let’s take a closer look at the class bias behind police decisions and how justice is not fixed but negotiable.
Class Bias in Policing
Cicourel pointed out that working-class areas were more likely to be patrolled by larger numbers of police officers than middle-class areas, which meant that people living in these areas had higher chances of being arrested for minor offences. This created a cycle where people from poorer backgrounds were criminalised more often and thus labeled as criminals while those from wealthier backgrounds were allowed to go unpunished.
Justice Not Fixed But Negotiable
Cicourel also demonstrated that justice was not fixed but negotiable. He found that arrests could be avoided if people had the right amount of money or connections with influential people who could intervene on their behalf. This showed how social status played an important role in determining whether someone was arrested or not. It also revealed the power dynamic between the police and the public, with those in authority having more say over how justice was served.
Aaron Cicourel’s 1968 book The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice opened our eyes to how class bias stereotypes play a huge role in policing decisions and outcomes, especially when it comes to class bias and working-class neighborhoods being policed more frequently than middle-class ones. His findings further showed us how justice is not fixed but instead is negotiable depending on who you are and what resources you have access to. The implications of this are far reaching and should not be overlooked as we continue to strive for a just society where everyone is treated equally under the law regardless of their background or social status.