Under the assessment of the problem, the problem that is under investigation will be identified and discussed (hate crimes in New York) in detail by examining the various facts and information available on the problem. The historical time line of the project will also be discussed where the events that provided a background to the problem will be identified and explained. Quantitative information will also be used to provide a more realistic description of the problem.
The policies that are available to deal with the problem will also be identified and highlighted within the research paper to determine their effectiveness in dealing with the problem under study. The literature review section of the paper will involve analyzing the various sources of literature that contain information on the problem. The literature review will involve assessing reports, publications, articles, journals and scholarly books to gain more information on the topic. The stakeholder analysis section of this research paper will involve identifying the various clients and stakeholders of the research information. These are the people who will be affected by the research findings and who will be responsible in implementing the policies designed to deal with the problem. The stakeholders are also the clients of the study’s outcomes. Option specification will involve identifying 3 to 5 options that can be used to remedy the problem at hand. Each of these options will be designed to include a change to the policy that has been used in dealing with the problem.
The options will be discussed in a table format where the changes that are involved will be highlighted as well as the people responsible for implementing the change. The general view of the stakeholders will also be determined to see if they agree to the changes in policy. The option analysis section will deal with a five step basic assessment of the options outlined in the option specification stage.
The first step will involve conducting a political feasibility to determine whether there is stakeholder consensus or opposition to the plan. An administrative feasibility assessment will also be conducted to determine whether there will be any complexities during the implementation of the plan as well as legal constraints. The financial feasibility assessment will be conducted to determine whether any expenditures or savings will be derived from the options chosen to change the policy. Equity will involve determining the fairness of the options selected in dealing with those affected by the problem while effectiveness will determine whether the selected options or option will achieve the desired results.
Once the five step basic assessment has been conducted, a suitable recommendation will be selected to deal with the problem.
The purpose of this project will be to focus on the topic of hates crimes in the state of New York which has been on the increase and how these hate crimes can be reduced through the formulation of effective policies. Hate crimes are any acts of violence or discrimination that are directed towards an individual believed to belong to a certain social group or society which can be a religious group, an ethnic society, a political affiliation or a sexual orientation group (Bell, 2002: Bowling, 2003). Hate crimes usually involve physical violence, assault or damage to property and any other form of violence that is directed to an individual that belongs to any of the above mentioned groups. Hate crimes are a serious offence as they cause a lot of psychological trauma to the people who are victims of this form of violence (Jacobs & Potter, 1998).
The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services defines hate crimes as any criminal acts that involve violence, intimidation and destruction of property based on biasness and prejudice of an individual believed to be from a minority group. The NYS law stipulates that a person is guilty of committing a hate crime when they intentionally intimidate or persecute a person based on their religion and religious practices, race, color, gender, disability or sexual orientation. A person is also guilty of committing a hate crime when they intentionally commit the act with the full knowledge or belief of the victim’s religion, gender, disability, ethnic background, sexual orientation and color (New York State, 2003). The current laws and policies in place to deal with hate crimes have mostly focused on defining the specific acts that constitute hate crimes, defining perpetrators of hates crimes under the penalty-enhancement laws and creating distinct civil actions that are meant to deal with hate crimes (Spodek, 2010). In the United States, the laws that are in place to deal with hate crimes mostly focus on persecuting people who are found guilty of committing hate crimes on individuals perceived to be from a different religion, nation, sexual orientation, gender or race.
Hate crimes are a criminal offence in all of the states of America and the penalties that are usually served to hate crime perpetrators are usually very severe (Schwartz, 2006).
Clients of the Research
The purpose of this policy analysis will be to analyze and assess hate crimes in New York and the policy framework that has been instituted by the state of New York to address the escalating cases of hate crimes in the state. The information gathered from this policy analysis is meant to provide important data to the various government and state agencies within New York that are involved in human rights and hate crime awareness campaigns that will enable them to react to the growing cases of hate crimes directed towards minority groups. The information garnered from this study will also be useful in helping government agencies such as the Office of the Governor of New York and the Mayor to formulate important policies that are meant to deal with hate crimes in New York and the United States in general
Role of the Researcher
As an independent analyst contracted by the state of New York to assess the policies that exist on hate crimes, my role in the policy analysis process will be to analyze the various facts, findings, discussions and literature that exist on hate crimes in the state of New York and also carry out an assessment of the problem under study by looking at the various actions that lead to the increase of hate crimes in New York. The role of the policy analyst will also be to gain vital quantitative data on the problem under assessment by reviewing various statistics and reports that have been done on hate crimes in the state of New York. By reviewing important statistical information, the analyst will be able to provide useful facts that will shade more light on hate crimes and the victims of hate crimes in the state of New York.
Action Forcing Event of the Research
The action forcing event that has formed the foundation for this research is the increasing prevalence of hate crimes in the state of New York. A hate crime that occurred in 2008 that was a cause of alarm for many statesmen in New York was the attack of two Ecuadorian brothers, Jose Sucuzhanay and Romel Sucuzhanay on December 8, 2008.
The perpetrators of the Ecuadorian attack were anti-gay and anti-Hispanic racists who attacked the two brothers because they were Hispanics and they also believed that they were gay. The attack which took place in Brooklyn ended with Jose Sucuzhanay losing his life five days after being admitted in hospital. This attack together with other hate crimes that occurred the following year showed the escalating cases of hate crime in the state of New York (Division of Human Rights, 2009).
Assessment of the Problem
According to Fetzer (2010), hate crimes have increased in New York by 14 percent between 2008 and 2009 compared to the previous year’s reported cases of hate crimes. Most of these hate crimes according to Fetzer have been directed towards members of the Jewish community, homosexuals, African-Americans and people from the Hispanic community.
According to the study, the number of hate crimes that were reported to the New York State Police in 2009 amounted to 683 with the most common violent acts being intimidation and vandalism/destruction of property. In 2008, the number of hate crimes reported to the state authorities totaled 599 with the most common targets being members from religious groups, ethnic communities and sexual orientation groups. These figures are in sharp contrast with the hate crimes reported in 2007 which totaled 493 cases that were directed towards members of a different ethnic race, religion sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability. In 2007, religious groups had the highest number of hate crime offenses when compared to 2008 statistics which showed that hate crimes were committed against people of a different ethnic race or nationality (Fetzer, 2010).
In the state of New York, hate crimes mostly occur because of the social differences and prejudices that exist within the society where the country’s most populous state has citizens that practice different lifestyles and ways of living (Gerstenfeld, 2011). The growing number of ethnic communities in the state has also contributed to the high number of hate crime incidences in New York.
The remarkable diversity that is being experienced in New York has presented a major challenge for both the local authorities and citizens of the state as a result of the many ethnic groups and societies that live within the state. This has created a situation where many of these groups want their needs to be catered for at the expense of average New York citizens (Levin & Amster, 2007).
Historical Timeline and Background of the Problem
The history of hate crimes in New York mostly has its background in the racial discrimination that many African-American and Hispanic communities faced in the early 20th century. Racial discrimination becomes a form of hate crime especially when it becomes violent and harmful. Many African-Americans faced a lot of discrimination during the 19th and 20th century which was demonstrated by slavery and violent acts on colored people.
These violent acts were mostly mob beatings, rapes, violent attacks and assaults on people who had African origins. Such discrimination paved the way for hate crimes in the United States where the same ethnic group continued to be attacked and assaulted because of the color of their skin (Tynes et al, 2009). To respond to hate crimes in the state of New York, Governor George Pataki signed a piece of legislation known as the New York Hate Crimes Act in 2000 which was enacted in the same year to deal with the growing cases of bias or prejudice-based hate crimes in the state. Under the Hate Crimes Act, people who discriminated against others because of their color, race, gender or sexual orientation were termed to be hate crime offenders who were subject to prosecution by the State of New York. The act specified the type of punishment hate crime offenders would be subjected to if they were found to guilty of committing hate crimes. The Hate Crimes Act also specified the type of crimes that were considered to be hate crimes or bias motivated crimes committed against the members of a protected minority group. Despite this being the only law used to deal with hate crimes in New York, it marked the beginning of government initiatives in the state of New York to deal with hate crimes (Kristi, 2010).
Quantitative Information about the Problem
The trend of hate crimes against members of minority groups such as homosexuals, African-Americans, the Jewish, Hispanics and disabled people continued to increase during the end of the 20th century and the beginning of 20th century where many states in America recorded high incidences of hate crimes against people of different ethnic orientation. These incidences were mostly common in urban and socially diverse societies that hosted a variety of socially oriented individuals from different ethnic communities and societies (Herek et al, 1998). According to data released by the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) the incidence of hate crime began to escalate or increase in the year 2000 where 450 more cases of hate crimes were reported to have been committed against homosexuals and 1500 more cases of hate crimes were reported to have occurred in members of a different ethnic race (Shively, 2005).
This increase in ethnic motivated hate crimes continued to increase over eight years where according to data released by the Division of Criminal Justice in New York in 2008, hate crime offenses committed against people of a different ethnic race recorded a higher percentage increase of 14% when compared to crimes committed against the other groups which fall under the protected minority groups (Fetzer, 2009).
Policies on Hate Crime
Most of the hate crime legislature and policies in existence today within the US were developed after the Civil War to deal with the colorblind system of justice and inequality of ethnic communities during that time. Statutes such as Section 241 and 242 were incorporated into the US constitution to deal with individuals who had perpetrated hate crimes on other people. Some of the acts and policies that fall under these statutes include the first Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act, the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and the Church Arson Prevention Act which was meant to prevent racial attacks on Black American churches (Streissguth, 2009). Many states in the US have implemented policies to deal with hate crimes and other acts of discrimination that are identified to be hate crimes. While these policies differ from state to state, their main focus is on punishing offenders of hate crimes who are deemed to be criminal perpetrators by the American law (Cogan, 2002).
Many law enforcement agencies in the US have designed and developed policies that are meant to deal with hate crimes in the various states (Gerstenfeld & Grant, 2004). In New York, various hate crime policies have been formulated to deal with various forms of discrimination, vandalism, assault or violent attacks on women (Jenness, 2003), disabled persons or people believed to be from different social groups and communities. The state has incorporated a hate crime statute under the Hate Crimes Bill H.R.
2647 that is meant to deal with hate crimes committed against its citizens who are either Americans or Non-Americans. The statute developed by the New York State Division of Human Rights to address any violent, discriminate and socially biased acts committed against the socially diverse citizens of the state (Division of Human Rights, 2009). The Hate Crimes Act of 2000 is the main statute and law that is used by the state of New York to deal with hate crimes and hate crime offenses against people believed to be from a protected minority group in America. The Hate Crimes Act of 2000 was enacted into law in 2000 by Governor George Pataki to address the increases cases of hate crimes that were taking place in the state at an escalating rate.
During its first year of enactment, the Hate Crimes Act was able to bring down the incidences of hate crimes committed against people of a different sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious affiliation and gender based on a 2002 report released by the Uniform Crime Reports organization (Shively, 2005). While hate crimes still persisted in New York, the act was able to provide law enforcement agencies with the ability to persecute people found guilty of committing hate crime offenses in the state.
Nature of the Problem
There has been a dramatic increase in hate crime literature and research which has contributed in part to government collection programs and statistics that contain qualitative and quantitative information on hate crimes. The nature of hate crimes in New York is mostly characterized by the type of people targeted by hate crimes and also how the crimes are perpetuated.
For example in 2008, there was an escalating case of hate crimes committed on people from certain ethnic communities, sexual orientation groups and religious groups within the state. Some of these hate crimes included the brutal attack of a Muslim teenager in 2008 by four American teenagers, the stabbing of an Ecuadorian immigrant, Marcelo Lucero by a mob of teenagers in Long Island looking for Latinos to beat up, the shooting of a transgender woman by a perpetrator who thought she was gay and the violent attack of two Ecuadorian brothers in Brooklyn by three anti-gay and anti-Hispanic men (Division of Human Rights, 2009). In the case of the Muslim teenager, the perpetrators were anti-Obama as they shouted Obama while beating up the teenager with a baseball bat. The perpetrators in the stabbing of the Ecuadorian immigrant were teenagers who were discriminative of Latinos or people of Hispanic descent as they had said they were driving around Patchogue looking for Latinos to beat up. In the case of Latiesha Green, a transgender woman, the perpetrator shot her because he thought that she was gay.
This mistaken identity was mostly attributed to the fact that she was sitting inside a car with her brother. The perpetrators of the Ecuadorian attack were anti-gay and anti-Hispanic racists who attacked the two brothers because they were Hispanics and they also believed that they were gay (Division of Human Rights, 2009). These alarming incidences of hate crimes demonstrate that the problem is escalating in the State of New York and that there is an urgent need to impose restrictions and measures that will ensure hate crimes are dealt with in New York. According to Perry (2003), the long term nature of hate crimes is that it never tends to stop unless the relevant authorities stop it through the implementation of effective interventions. Perry notes that the nature of these crimes usually ends in the loss of a life, property, income and the emotional destruction of a person’s well-being. The perpetrators of these crimes initially tend to instill fear in their victims and force them to leave or adapt to the normal way of life (Hall 2005).
In response to the increasing cases of hate crimes against people of a different sexual orientation, race, religion and color, the New York State Division of Human Rights established a Hate Crimes Task Force (HCTF) in January 2009 to respond to the escalating cases of bias-motivated crimes in the State of New York. The purpose of this task force was to develop effective interventions that would be used to prevent hate crimes in New York as well as increase the awareness levels of New Yorkers to enable them build tolerance to all members of the society (Division of Human Rights, 2009). The Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the Bronx area of New York have conducted outreach and awareness campaigns on the need to live harmoniously within the New York society (Grautski, 2010).
The state of California has also been able to establish a hate crimes taskforce through a joint collaboration with the FBI office located in Riverside County and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California. The hate crimes task force which was formed in 2003 was meant to address the escalating cases of hate crimes in the Los Angeles and Riverside Counties of California by enabling the local FBI to have more investigative depth when it came to investigating hate crimes in the state. One notable achievement of the task force was the arrest of 18 white supremacists who were in possession of guns, ammunition and Nazi paraphernalia (FBI, 2006). Another state in America that has recorded high incidences of hate crimes is the state of Massachusetts which has established a hate crimes task force known as the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes. This task force was created by Governor William Weld and it was later given a permanent status by Governor Paul Cellucci in 1998. The task force was meant to address hate crimes in the state of Massachusetts by creating awareness of what constitutes hate crimes in public schools and communities (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2007).
The state of New Jersey has also recorded high incidences of hate crimes mostly committed against homosexuals and lesbians. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation was established in 2006 to deal with the rising cases of homophobic attacks committed against members of the lesbian community (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2006). Other states that have developed hate crimes taskforces and committees to deal with the rising cases of hate crimes include the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation which helps the victims and families of hate crimes by offering them with protection and justice against hate crime perpetrators (TEP, 2011) and the Northern District of Texas Hate Crimes Task Force which was established by the state of Texas in collaboration with the civil rights working group in the area to deal with the awareness of communities in Dallas, Texas on hate crime offenses (FBI Dallas, 2011).
State of Scholarly Knowledge and Research
While there has been a long history of criminal literature that has mainly focused on bigotry and bias as aspects of crime, the study of hate crime began to receive some substantial frequency during the past recent years. The study of hate crime has increased from the occasional research work conducted during the 1980s by criminal researchers such as Finn and McNeil (1988) and Weiss and Ephross (1989) to a steady flow of studies, reports and quantitative data that has characterized many 21st century criminologists such as Berk et al (2003), Barnes and Ephross (1994), Dharmapala (2004), Boeckmann and Turpin (2002) and Kuehnle and Sullivan (2001). The various bodies of research that exist on hate crimes have outlined the various causes and consequences of hate crimes to be caused by social prejudices and societal indifferences where the original citizens of the society are not willing to adopt the styles of living of any new social or ethnic group (Craig, 2002). Other causes of hate crimes have been caused by the non-conformity to societal values and beliefs where new citizens to the society refuse to change their ways of living to suit the present society’s views and values (Craig, 2003). Economic and financial problems have also been a major contributor to the occurrence of hate crimes where the citizens of a particular society struggle to utilize the scarce resources that exist with that society (Perry, 2003).
Modernization and urbanization have also contributed in a large way to the various forms of hate crimes that mostly occur in highly urbanized and populous areas such as New York (Green et al, 2003: McPhail, 2002). The major conclusions that have been derived from hate crime studies conducted by Rayburn et al (2003), Steen and Cohen (2004) and Shively et al (2001) are that hate crimes are more prevalent than what has been reported in criminal investigations and government reports. This means that the majority of hate crime victims do not report any violent attacks and assaults to the police or any state agencies that deal with human rights. The conclusions of hate crime studies have also shown that hate crimes have a serious and negative consequence on the victims of these crimes who eventually suffer from psychological trauma (Flint, 2004). The research work has also concluded that the perpetrators of hate crimes are usually individuals who belong to certain extremist groups that are guided by certain beliefs and values which they deem to be acceptable to the other members of the society (Shively, 2005).
The theories that have been postulated to explain hate crimes include the behavioral and social sciences such as the personality theories where the various personalities and characteristics of people are analyzed to determine their behavior towards other people (Johnson & Byers, 2003). The personality theories have proved to be important in determining the behavioral characteristics of individuals who commit hate crimes. Some of the personality theories have identified people who are aggressive in nature and also authoritative are more than likely to engage in hate crimes. Other theories that have been used to discuss the causes of hate crimes are the social and behavioral theories which mostly focus on the modernization of societies around the world and how members of these modern societies react to foreigners or groups that do not display similar tendencies and behavior (Rose & Mechanic, 2002).
According the various studies that have been conducted on hate crime in the US, many states have implemented government-sponsored hate crime initiatives that involve the local justice and law enforcement agencies. Apart from government initiatives, various states have implemented statutes that are meant to protect their citizens against any hate crimes (Franklin, 2002). Washington and Oregon were the first states in America to enact hate crime statutes that were meant to persecute any perpetrators of hate crimes in those states. This paved the way for the other states in the country to enact statutes that would be used to deal with hate crimes directed towards religious groups, sexual orientation groups, political affiliation groups and disabled persons (Anti-Defamation League, 2003).
Key Influential Players
The six key influential players and organizations in the State of New York that have a direct impact on the formulation of hate crime statutes, policies and laws include the Division of Human Rights, the Governor of the state of New York, the Hates Crime Task Force, law enforcement agencies and the Division of Criminal Justice (Division of Human Rights, 2009). The NYS Division of Human Rights in New York deals with the prosecution of offenders who have been found to engage in unlawful discriminatory practices against people of a protected minority group. The decision characteristics that are used by the Division of Human Rights in prosecuting hate crime offenders include the race, origin or ethnicity of the hate crime victims, the sexual orientation of the victims and their religious affiliations (Muslims, Islamists, Protestants and Jews). The Division of Human Rights usually receives, investigates and resolves any complaints of racial discrimination based on these characteristics (DHR, 2010).
The key figure charged with the operation of DHR is the commissioner of the organization who is currently Galen Kirkland. He has developed a vocal stand against hate crimes by speaking against any form of discrimination or bias motivated attacks that have been done on people from a protected minority group. He has made his opinions clear about hate crimes by publicly responding to hate crime assaults that have been committed on minority groups within the state of New York. Kirkland publicly spoke out against the perpetrators of hate crime when he commented on the sentencing of Dwight DeLee, a hate crime perpetrator who killed a transgender woman, Lateisha Green, because he thought that she was gay. Kirkland supported the court’s decision to sentence DeLee to life imprisonment by saying that the decision was meant to serve as a reminder that the state of New York was not tolerant to hate crimes. Kirkland noted that changes needed to take place within the American society that would reduce the level of bigotry and biasness that existed amongst the various community members. This was a process that was going to take a lot of time but In the meantime, Kirkland together with the Governor developed a Hate Crime Task Force that would deal with hate crimes in New York (Mulvaney & Centeno, 2009). The Office of the Governor in New York is mostly mandated with enforcing any state laws or policies that might affect the governance of New York.
The Office of the Governor is instrumental in dealing with hate crimes in New York as it has the necessary authority and power to enact hate crimes policies and laws. The Governor’s office in New York established a Hate Crime Task Force in 2009 that would respond to the growing cases of hate crimes in the city. The decision characteristics that the office considered to deal with hate crimes in New York racially motivated offenses or attacks where the race characteristics include African Americans, Latinos, Muslims or Hispanics, religious motivated offenses where the decision characteristics include Muslim, Islamists or Jews, sexual-orientation offenses where the decision characteristics used to make a decision include homosexuals, lesbians or transgender or ethnically motivated hate crimes where the decision characteristics include nationality of the victim, community practices of the victim and the relationship that the victim’s home country has with the United States (Division of Human Rights, 2009). The previous Governor of New York, David Paterson, has also been instrumental in the enactment of various laws that will curb hate crimes in the United States. While he was not as vocal as Mayor Bloomberg or the commissioner of DHR, the Governor initiated several hate crime task forces to deal with the escalating cases of hate crimes especially after the death of Lateisha Green, the death of two Hispanic brothers and the brutal stabbing of a Muslim cab driver, Ahmed Hassan Sharif. The Hate Crimes Task Force (HCTF) which was established by the Office of the Governor is charged with dealing with victims of hate crimes as well as reporting hate crime perpetrators to the appropriate authorities.
The HCTF is also charged with creating awareness of the diversity in the State of New York to ensure residents are tolerant of each other. The decision characteristics that the HCTF uses to carry out its mandate include the type of protected minority group targeted by bias motivated crimes (disabled, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race and color), the perpetrators of the crime (age, race, nationality, gender, and ethnicity) and the type of offense (murder, robbery, assault, intimidation, arson, burglary, vandalism, burglary). Some of the members of the task force include Tina Stanford, the chairlady of the Crime Victims Board and Lorraine Cortes, the Secretary of State of New York. Both Stanford and Cortes are dedicated to reducing the level of hate crimes in New York where each member in their own capacities deal with victims of hate crimes. For example Stanford manages the crime victims board which deals with people who have been assaulted through racial motivation or minority group biasness.
Cortes on the other hand deals with formulating policies and laws that will be used to deal with hate crime perpetrators in the state of New York. Cortes support for the Hate Crimes Task Force developed by Governor Paterson was evident when she commended him for developing a unit that would deal with the escalating cases of hate crime. Her support for dealing with hate crimes was also evident during the funeral of an Ecuadorian immigrant who had been killed Hispanic racists (Macropoulos, 2008). The law enforcement agencies that exist in the state of New York include the NYPD, the NYS Division of Criminal Justice, NYS Division of State Police and the NYS Department of Correctional Services. The main purpose of these government departments is to maintain order within New York by identifying, prosecuting and detaining criminal offenders. The decision characteristics that are used by these state agencies when dealing with cases of hate crimes include the type of protected minority group that has been targeted by bias motivated crimes (disabled, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race and color), the perpetrators of the crime (age, race, nationality, gender, and ethnicity) and the type of offense (murder, robbery, assault, intimidation, arson, burglary, vandalism, burglary). These five groups have the ability to impact on any decision the client chooses with regards to implementing a policy to counter the escalating cases of hate crimes in New York.
Denise O’ Donnell, the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice, has played an instrumental role in establishing the Hate Crimes Task Force in the western part of New York. Her professional history also demonstrates her dedication to reducing hate crimes and discrimination in the state of New York. For example, during her tenure as the chief federal prosecutor for the 17 counties that fall in the western district of New York, O’Donnell was able to establish a program that would prevent discrimination when it came to housing for members from minority or ethnically diverse groups such as the Hispanics and the Black Americans. During her 2007 appointment as the commissioner of DCJ, O’Donnell vowed to reduce violent crime in the state which encompassed sexual offenses, gun violence and racially motivated crimes (DCJS, 2007). Key Influential OrganizationsKey FiguresDivision of Human Rights (DHR)Galen D. Kirkland, Commissioner of DHROffice of the GovernorDavid A.
Paterson, Governor of New YorkDivision of Criminal Justice (DCJ)Denise E. O’Donnell, DCJ CommissionerHate Crimes Task ForceTina Stanford (Chairlady, Crime Victims Board) and Lorraine Cortes (Department of State)Law Enforcement AgenciesColonel Tom Fazio, New York State Police