The Usefulness Of Official Statistics In The Criminal Justice System

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The official statistics are particularly useful in that they have been collected since 1857 and so provide us with an excellent historical overview of changing trends over time. They also give us a completely accurate view of the way that the criminal justice system processes offenders through arrests, trials and punishments. However, official statistics cannot be taken simply at their face value. They only show crimes which are reported to and recorded by official agencies such as the police. They account for only those crimes which are recognised as such by victims and those detected by the police. Sociologists have argued that there exists a ‘dark figure’ of unrecorded crime. This may be due to social agencies ignoring crimes committed by the ruling class such as white-collar and corporate crime and their views and stereotypes that they have against certain individuals, such as the working-class and ethnic minorities. Arguably, another reason why police recorded may be seem as inaccurate is due to the increased problem of reporting issues. There is evidence that a number of individuals choose not to report a crime on the basis that they have little faith in social agencies or that they feel that the crime may not be serious enough. Positivists favour the official statistics as they believe that they are functional for society, whereas interactionists and Marxists go against the police the statistics as they argue that they are bias. In this essay, I will discuss the

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