September 25, 2002

Race and the Criminal Justice System

Wayne State University is sponsoring a series of fall lectures on Race and the Criminal Justice System. The first of these lectures, addressing the topic "Minority Communities and Police Brutality: What Is to Be Done," will be held Thursday, September 26, at 4:30 in the Bernath Auditorium of the David Adamany Undergraduate Library.

The speaker, Dr. Malcolm Holmes, is a professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wyoming. His primary teaching and research interests are in the area of discrimination and the law. This research includes numerous studies of the experiences of African Americans and Mexican Americans in the criminal justice system. He has also conducted research on a range of issues in the area of race and ethnic relations.

"Research shows that complaints of police brutality are higher in large cities with high percentages of minority residents and high levels of income inequality between white and minority residents," said Marvin Zalman, chair of Wayne State's department of Criminal Justice. "Surveys of public opinion generally have shown that minorities are more likely than whites to perceive police abuses."

Research supports the arguments that minorities are victimized disproportionately by police brutality, but studies show that the overall number of brutality complaints are low - less than 1/2 of 1% of observed police-citizen interactions. Holmes relies on data collected by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on 106 municipal police departments, allowing a national study.

Wayne State University is a premier institution offering more than 350 academic programs through 14 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students in metropolitan Detroit.


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