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NCJ Number: 203433 Find in a Library
Title: Data, Denials, and Confusion: The Racial Profiling Debate in Toronto
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:45  Issue:3  Dated:July 2003  Pages:367-389
Author(s): Scot Wortley; Julian Tanner
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 23
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article discusses the issue of racial profiling in the Toronto (Canada) police department.
Abstract: In October, 2002, the Toronto Star published a series of articles revealing that Black residents were highly overrepresented in certain charge categories -- including drug possession. The Star maintained that this pattern of overrepresentation was consistent with the idea that the Toronto police engaged in racial profiling. Blacks were treated more harshly after arrest than their White counterparts. White offenders were more likely to be released at the scene, while Black offenders were more likely to be detained and taken to the station for processing. Black offenders were much more likely than Whites to be held in custody for a bail hearing. This article reviews the reexamination of the Toronto Star data on racial profiling and the conclusion that racial profiling does not exist in the Toronto area. Upon reexamination, it appears that the report does not properly define racial profiling and ignores the published criminological literature on this topic. Several incorrect and/or misleading statements were made that were designed to discredit the Star’s analysis. The author of the report engaged in questionable “data cleaning” procedures that may dramatically reduce racial disparities in the arrest statistics. The report also provided neither a transparent nor a complete reanalysis of the Star’s major findings, and provided no concrete evidence that could disprove the Star’s allegations of racial bias. Many of the findings produced by this report were completely consistent with the racial-profiling argument. The discipline of criminology has taken a beating over its part in the racial-profiling debate. Most damaging are accusations that social scientists can be hired to provide support for any side of the argument. Almost as damaging are accusations that research can actually cause social problems. 3 tables, 3 notes, 41 references
Main Term(s): Police-minority relations; Racial discrimination
Index Term(s): Bail discrimination; Discrimination; Ethnic groups; Minorities; Race-punishment relationship; Target groups
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