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Hate Crime Analysis

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Hate Crime Analysis According to "The United States Department of Justice" (2014), “Hate crime is the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability” (para. 3). This hate crime analysis will provide a brief description as to what specific factors serve as a basis for victimization. Specific case examples and restorative justice models will be assessed. Benefits and challenges of the use of restorative justice will be discussed, and contemporary research instruments to measure the victimization of gays and lesbians will be the focus. Lastly, the identification of the criminological theory that explains the victimization of the chosen group.
Over the years, dominant groups, and communities with similar cultures and beliefs have asserted their prejudices on other groups believing differently. Many times these assertions or acts of power similarly resemble the power-control and gender-based theories. Groups that assert power or control over individuals by intimidation or violence can be known labeled as hate groups. The last few decades have brought about a voice for civil rights, a fight for women’s rights, and a surge of protests for gay and lesbian rights. These protests further fuel a loathing and hostility by these hate groups.
Victimization Factors The victimization of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are the focus of this analysis. Sexual orientation is a primary focus when it comes to hate crimes against gays and lesbians. However, religion or lack thereof is a secondary factor as well. "Lesbians, gays and bisexuals, or LGBs, have received significantly more threats than straights, and significantly more physical assault” (Tenenbaum, 2012, p. 1). Studies show youth who are lesbian, bisexual, or gay are more likely to fall victim to discrimination because one’s sexual orientation. High rates of victimization happen in both community and school settings. However, violence against these groups occurs not only in school and community settings but also in the workplace, in the home, and other public places. Crimes based on sexual orientation alone include assault, robbery, rape, vandalism, harassment, and murder (Ryan & Rivers, 2003).
Case Examples In 2007, Sean Kennedy, a gay man, was attacked outside a bar because of his sexual orientation. “While making derogatory comments regarding Kennedy's sexual orientation, the assailant fatally beat and punched him until he fell, hitting his head on the pavement” and he died of his injuries ("The Leadership Conference", 2015, para. 8). The assailant was charged with murder, but he plead out to involuntary manslaughter. Another case in 2008 involved transgender Angie Zapata, who was beaten to death after her date had discovered she had genitalia and was transgender. Her perpetrator charged with first-degree murder was convicted of the hate crime in 2009. In this case, the perpetrator was a member of a Colorado gang with zero-tolerance on homosexuality ("The Leadership Conference", 2015). Lawrence King, a 15-year-old gay student, was shot in the head twice by Brandon McInerney in a California school February 12, 2008. Lawrence is described as “a sassy gay kid who bragged about his flashy attire and laughed off bullying” but because of his small physique he was an early target ("The Leadership Conference", 2015, para. 8). The perpetrator Brandon McInerney, only 14 years old was tried as an adult for murder and convicted of the hate crime. The FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics show in 2013 5,928 crime incidents were reported involving 6,933 offenses. Of these crimes reported, 20.8 percent resulted from sexual orientation. In September 2013, Brice Johnson sought out a gay man on the website, after the victim arrived at Johnson’s home, Johnson brutally assaulted him, bound his wrists and locked him in the trunk of his vehicle, and drove him to a family friend’s home. At the urging of his friends, Johnson took the victim to a local hospital where the victim later died of the skull and facial fractures ("The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation", 2014).
Restorative Justice Models When the criminal justice system focuses on the needs of both offenders and victims, this is referred to as restorative justice. "Crime is a violation of people and relationships. It creates obligations to make things right. Justice involves the victim, the offender, and the community in a search for solutions which promote repair, reconciliation, and reassurance" ("Prison Fellowship International Centre for Justice and Reconciliation", 2015, p. 1). Repairing harm to the victim caused by criminal behavior falls under the restorative justice theory.
Benefits and Challenges of the Use of Restorative Justice Benefits of restorative justice are that criminal acts are viewed more comprehensively and recognize the harm offenders can enact on victims and communities. Restorative justice identifies and works with all parties involved to include criminal justice actors, the offender, the victim and the community. The measure of success is done differently within the restorative justice model. “Rather than measuring how much punishment has been inflicted, it measures how much harm has been repaired or prevented” ("Prison Fellowship International Centre for Justice and Reconciliation", 2015, p. 1). Restorative justice also believes community involvement is essential for responding to and reducing crime. Challenges to restorative justice come in many forms. Restorative justice and public policy are not always working on the same paths. Prisons are overcrowded, and monies to fund programs that work with victims are often redistributed to prison expansions. Corrections practitioners continually forget to involve victims or representatives in planning in a victim-centered approach to resolving crime. Restorative approaches are historically unevenly applied, while some methods benefit some groups, they may not benefit others.
Contemporary Research Instrument According to Williams and McShane (2010), “self-report studies had become the dominant form of criminological evidence” (p. 150). In these self-report studies, individuals are asked about their behaviors and criminal activities. The studies are then compared to official or organizational records to measure behaviors. These self-report studies are critical in research when analyzing crime. “Self-report studies are particularly prominent in research on crime. The validity of official criminal statistics is limited by omissions and bias; a self-report study offers the promise of data free of these problems” (Fielding, 2006, para. 1).
Criminological Theory to explain victimization Many criminological theories explain can be applicable to prejudice and hate crime occurrences; however, no one criminological theory can adequately state whether biases lead to the commission of a hate crime. The Social Learning theory suggests the beliefs, values, and attitudes about certain individual groups are learned from peers and family in which views can be adopted. “Some of the literature on perpetrators of hate crimes stresses the impact of intimate acquaintances and family members, and the influence of localized social norms on the development of a child’s prejudices” (Miller, 2009, p. 493). Parent’s views can be distributed to children’s prejudices as these aspects are discussed with a child nearby. Prejudices toward a specific group is another learned behavior reinforced through a child-parent relationship.
Hate crimes are illegal acts against individuals or specific groups, institutions, or property motivated by bias and prejudices. There has been a long history of bias and prejudices against individuals because of their sexual orientation among other factors. The United States has protections for any culture, race, group, or religion under the Constitution. The Constitution is written to guarantee equal rights for everyone.
After review of victimization factors, case examples, restorative justice models and their benefits and challenges, it appears the perpetrators in hate crimes are a unique breed. The self-report process studies behaviors and the social learning theory describes the reason for the actions. However, these victims do not appear to attack for survival or defense of others. It is more likely these individuals believe they find themselves judge, jury, and executioner for those particular groups in which they fear and dislike.

Fielding, N.G. (2006, Fall). Self-Report Study. The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research
Methods, 1-2.
Miller, J.M. (2009, July). 21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook. Social Science, 1- 915.
Prison Fellowship International Centre for Justice and Reconciliation. (2015). Retrieved from introduction-to-restorative-justice/lesson-1-definition/lesson-1-definition
Ryan, C., & Rivers, I. (2003, April). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: Victimization and it's Correlates in the USA and UK. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 5(2), 103-119.
Tenenbaum, D. (2012, May 4). Study Finds High Rate of Victimization among Gays, Lesbians And Bisexuals. The University of Wisconsin News, p. 1.
The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2014). Retrieved from violent-kidnapping-of-gay-man
The Leadership Conference. (2015). Retrieved from The United States Department of Justice. (2014). Retrieved from Williams, F.P., & McShane, M.D. (2010). Criminological Theory (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

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