strategies to address hate crimes

Various approaches could be employed to minimize the incidence of hate crimes. Firstly, strengthening and clarifying legislation that deals with hate crimes could dissuade individuals from engaging in the crime. Although most states in the United States have laws specifically addressing hate crimes, such vary significantly from state to state (Shirley & Mulford, 2007). Such variance acts as a barrier to establishing consistency in hate-crimes prosecution practices (Shirley & Mulford, 2007). The lack of a standard legal definition of hate crime also means that some acts that fall under hate crimes are not provided for in legal recourse (Shirley & Mulford, 2007). Further, lack of  national consensus on how to establish hate crime statutes (e.g. whether such laws should encompass the motivation behind the crime, when accompanying actions such as vandalism are already catered for in the criminal law remedies), complicates the process of providing a legal solution to hate crimes (Shirley & Mulford, 2007).

Apart from strengthening legislation to deal with hate crime, other approaches could also help alleviate the problem. These include setting up prevention programs in the communities and improving police response to the crime through training and equipment provision (Shirley & Mulford, 2007). With respect to the police, having a hate crime unit could for instance hasten the arrest and prosecution of the offenders (Shirley & Mulford, 2007). Community-based programs, on the other hand, may help prevent the crimes from taking place by encouraging acceptance of individuals belonging to different affiliations. Further, support organizations could offer assistance to victims to file a civil lawsuit seeking legal redress where criminal procedures prove inefficient.

 References

Human Rights First (2007). Hate crimes, 2007 survey. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.humanrightsfirst.info/pdf/07601-discrim-hate-crimes-web.pdf

Medoff, H. (1999). Allocation of time and hateful behavior: A theoretical and positive analysis of hate and hate crimes. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc 58(4), 959-973.

National Coalition for the Homeless (2007). Hate crimes and violence against people experiencing homelessness, Fact Sheet No. 21. Retrieved November, 30, 2010, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Hatecrimes.pdf

Nutter, M. G. (2007). The dangerous intersection of youth and hate crime. Proceedings of Persistently Safe Schools: The 2007 National Conference on Safe Schools and Communities. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://gwired.gwu.edu/hamfish/merlin-cgi/p/downloadFile/d/19156/n/off/other/1/name/025pdf/

Shively, M. & Mulford, C. F. (2007). Hate crime in America. The debate continues. NIJ Journal, 257, 8-13. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/jr000257c.pdf

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