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Critical Criminology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 313–338 | Cite as

The Roma in Bulgaria’ s Criminal Justice System: From Ethnic Profiling to Imprisonment

  • Philip Gounev
  • Tihomir Bezlov
Article

Abstract

This paper examines the use of ethnic-specific crime data by law enforcement authorities as an instrument to formulate policies. The focus is on Bulgaria – one of the few East European countries whose criminal justice system keeps data on ethnicity – and the country’s Roma population. During the 1990s, Bulgaria’ s deep economic and social crisis impacted significantly on Bulgaria’ s Roma minority and, arguably, led to an increase in crime rates amongst the Roma. To date, however, the Bulgarian government has failed to adequately address this situation. The main argument that this paper puts forward is that over-policing of the Roma minority is a consequence of lack of adequate data on the Roma’ s involvement in crime, coupled with a crime-fighting strategy that is largely based on ethnic prejudice. As a result, a disproportionate number of Roma end-up in prisons or in long-term detention. Former inmates, in turn, influence their communities and establish a ‘revolving cycle’ of crime and social marginalisation, which is manifested in an increasing critical mass of the Roma male population in the criminal justice system.

Keywords

European Union Criminal Justice Criminal Justice System Critical Criminology Crime Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Democracy Sofia Bulgaria

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