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.
Although not all jurisdictions, academics, or professionals agree about who should be protected by hate crime laws, the majority of such laws describe the offender’s motivation based on prejudice against the victim’s, race, color, nationality, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.
Some laws also include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
The federal hate crime system includes laws, acts, and data collection statutes.
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.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.Hate crime is defined as an illegal act against a person, institution, or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against the victim’s group membership. Proponents of hate crime laws feel strongly about society making a statement that biased (or hate) crimes will not be tolerated and that serious penalties will be applied to those who commit such crimes.Although hate crime is a relatively new category of crime, the United States has a long history of biased actions against individuals because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and gender. In addition, these laws are important in order to deter potential hate crime offenders who intentionally target members of subordinate groups.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.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.