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The Israeli criminal justice system in action—Is justice administered differentially?

Abstract

This study focuses on two major junctures in the Israeli criminal justice system, the preadjudication stage and the trial stage. The data are gathered from records accumulated during the period 1980 through 1992. For each year between 1980 and 1992, a random sample of 3637 persons, who had their first police contact that year, was drawn from the computerized central file at Israeli Police Headquarters. A total of 40,007 individuals, with a total of 97,000 records, constituted the study population. The results identify which criminal records were most likely to be terminated prior to adjudication and which records, once adjudicated, were most likely to conclude in conviction. Major emphasis was placed on the issue of nationality—being an Arab or a Jew—while the effect of other variables, such as the type of offense and the time period, were controlled. The criminal justice system was found to be less discriminating at the early stages of the criminal process, but as the offender moved along the process, the chances that nationality would play an important part increased.

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Fishman, G., Rattner, A. The Israeli criminal justice system in action—Is justice administered differentially?. J Quant Criminol 13, 7–28 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02362170

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Key words

  • Israel
  • criminal justice
  • ethnic disparities
  • sentencing