Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Administration and Policy

By Wallace Swan | Go to book overview

13

Criminal Justice Administration

A Survey of the Issues

Wallace Swan

Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Dallas S. Drake

Minnesota Gay Homicide Study, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.


I.

INTRODUCTION

There is no evidence at this point that GLBT people endure any higher crime rate than nongay people, except in the area of antigay crimes. Crime in the GLBT community has a more damaging effect due in part to the “terroristic effects of hate crimes” ( 1 , 2). It is perhaps in this arena of offenses that GLBT community leaders can exercise the most influence to make a safe community for all.

Over many years, one of the obstacles to the liberation of gay people has been the criminal justice system itself. At times the system would be overzealous, seeking to hunt down and prosecute GLBT people as criminals, while at other times, through intentional acts of omission, turn a blind eye toward GLBT victims of crime. In the past when gay people experienced hate crimes, frequently the justice system would not prosecute cases simply because of a belief that victims caused their negative experiences through their own immoral acts. Fortunately, attitudes such as this are becoming increasingly less tolerated.

Gay and lesbian people of color have been especially vulnerable to these sorts of disparate treatment within the criminal justice system. Not

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