Research indicates that socioeconomic status may have an impact on a victim’s experience with the criminal justice system. Studies of victim attitudes toward police show that individuals living in relatively poor neighborhoods with high crime rates and low employment rates report less satisfaction with police than individuals in more affluent areas (Dowler & Sparks, 2008; National Institute of Justice, 1999). Some have suggested that the attitudes toward police may be shaped by police treatment and negative past experience with police, such as police brutality (Avdija, 2010).
Research is limited regarding the influence of socioeconomic status on the reporting of crimes by victims or on the treatment of victims by the criminal justice system. However, some studies of female victims of domestic or sexual violence have noted that women with lower incomes and educational levels may report these crimes less frequently than middle-class women. Lower-income women also may have more difficulty in dealing with the criminal justice system (Phipps, 2009). Others have noted that prosecutors are more likely to prosecute crimes if the victims are comfortable with court proceedings, hearings, and conferences. Therefore, the cases of more affluent people may be more likely to be prosecuted (Davis, 2007). On the other hand, some believe that the poor rely more heavily on the criminal justice system after being victimized, and receive more assistance than the middle class.
For this Discussion, consider whether or not victims receive different treatment within the criminal justice system based on their socioeconomic status.
Post by Day 1 two examples of how victims of different socioeconomic statuses receive different treatment within the criminal justice system.
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