The are certain linkages that one can make with regard to the criminal justice system and the role identity plays within this system (where age, gender, sexual orientation or social class denote identity). The first link is that one’s identity has a direct effect on the access to resources of power. Also, it is plausible to assume that identity determines one’s punishments and rewards in the criminal justice system. The second aspect about identity is that it highly affects the nature of crime control dispatched upon various groups. Thirdly, these differences in crime control have an overall effect of changing the way of life of respective identities both within and without the criminal justice system. Lastly, it can be assumed that the nature of crime control can reinforce some of the inherent inequalities within society. (Andersen and Patricia, 1998)
The Australian criminal justice systems has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades. This is because certain blatant cases of discrimination such as discrimination against gender and race have reduced dramatically. However, some institutionalised systems of discrimination still form part of the Australian criminal justice system. Specific social classes, races, sexual orientation receive fairer treatments than others. The essay shall examine the complexities of these identities with regard to the criminal justice system.
How sexual orientation is handled within the Australian criminal justice system
The criminal justice system is perhaps one of the most prominent areas of the Australian society that depicts negative sentiments to gays or lesbians. Statistics conducted on
how social class affects administration of justice by the Gay Men and Lesbians Against Discrimination (GLAD) in Victoria found that approximately eighteen percent of the male respondents had ever experienced some form of harassment from law enforcement officers. It also found that police had harassed twelve percent of the female participants. Therefore, police officers had harassed thirty percent of the one thousand participants at one time in their lives. This is an alarming rate especially considering the fact that incidences of police harassment among the general public are at a much lower rate. (Baired et al, 1994)
The nature of response to gay related crimes also depicts discrimination. In the year 1999, a survey conducted by the Gay Men Community Action in South Australia found that a whooping forty four percent of gay/lesbian victims never contacted the police when they had been victims of hate crime. The same research also found that forty nine percent of the respondents would not report their cases to the police if the crime under consideration involved sexual issues. The same survey also found that seventy nine percent of the participants (who were all gay/lesbians) felt that police officers had a negative attitude towards homosexuals. These perceptions were not just founded on baseless allegations; it was found that twenty three percent of the homosexuals who had reported their cases to the police received homophobic reactions from them. As if that was not enough, these victims asserted that the same homophobic behaviour was …