While hate crime behavior has a long history, it has only been in the last couple of decades that research to understand this type of crime has been conducted.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 requires that the U. Sentencing Commission enhance criminal penalties (up to 30%) for offenders who commit a federal crime that was motivated by the victim’s race, religion, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. The first, the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, requires that the U. Attorney General collect data on all crimes that are motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
Since 1992, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have jointly published hate crime statistics on an annual basis.
For example, some states treat hate crimes as low-severity offenses, while other states have more general hate crime laws or sentence enhancing for crimes that are motivated by bias.
In some states, maximum criminal sentences may be doubled, tripled, or increased even more for a hate crime.
This research paper will present the history of hate crime law, the scope of the problem, the theory and psychology behind hateful/prejudicial behaviors, characteristics of perpetrators and victims, policing hate crime, and responding to and preventing hate crime.
The purpose of this research paper is to present the hate crime knowledge that has accumulated over these last decades.Hate crime laws are also symbolic and promote social cohesion by officially stating that victimization of people who are “different” is not accepted or tolerated in a modern society.There have also been arguments against the formation of hate crime laws.Not all believe that hate crimes have been a significant problem in society; rather, some see it as a media-exaggerated issue—a product of a society that is highly sensitive to prejudice and discrimination.Thus, a special set of criminal laws that include hate is not warranted, and the generic criminal laws will suffice.Critics also wonder why anger/hate is more punishable than other motives such as greed.Although there has been (and still is) debate about hate crime laws, the mere fact that they exist in several countries around the world, as well as within the United States, indicates that reasoning in favor of these laws has outweighed that against them.The states also differ in the subordinate groups that transform a general crime to a hate crime and as to what degree this bias must be shown (e.g., beliefs, character).All state statutes include at least race, religion, and ethnicity, but differ on inclusion of other subordinate groups.The current federal hate crime law permits federal prosecution of crimes committed based upon the victim’s race, color, religion, or nation of origin when the victim is engaging in a federally protected activity (e.g., attending a public school; working at a place of employment).The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2007 (i.e., the Matthew Shepard Act), which is under consideration as of this writing, would extend the existing federal hate crime law to include crimes based upon the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability, and would drop the existing requirement that the victim be involved in a federally protected activity.