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.
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 in the United States exist at the federal and state levels.
Although federal and state laws differ, most protected characteristics include race, national origin, ethnicity, and religion.
For example, about 70% of the states also include gender and sexual orientation, while fewer include disability, political affiliation, or age.
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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.