Hate crime laws across country are inconsistent, new report says

·2 min read

Hate crime laws have been found to vary extensively throughout the U.S., as stated in a new report.

About the report: “Policy Spotlight: Hate Crime Laws,” written by the Movement Advancement Project in collaboration with 16 civil rights organizations, was released to the public on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

  • The report is “a comprehensive national review of hate crime laws” which highlights “gaps and variances in the laws.”

  • It claims that state and federal hate crime laws are “inconsistent” and also issue insufficient procedures for tackling violent acts motivated by bias.

  • “We really think this is the first report to bring together a state-by-state analysis along so many dimensions … with a focus on racial justice and criminal justice reform,” Naomi Goldberg, the deputy director and LGBTQ program director of the Movement Advancement Project, told The Associated Press.

Ineffective laws: According to the report, federal and state governments respond differently to hate violence.

  • Due to bias in the criminal justice system, some laws are “less effective” at safeguarding marginalized groups and racial minorities, especially given the varying views of what hate violence consists of.

  • Additionally, the report claims that some of these laws can dissuade victims of hate violence from speaking up.

  • “Hate crime laws serve a necessary purpose, but they are inconsistent, sometimes flawed, and can even harm the very communities they are meant to serve,” Ineke Mushovic, the executive director of the Movement Advancement Project, said in a recent press release.

Proposed solutions: The report also suggests ways to build on hate crime laws and provide greater support to people impacted by hate violence.

  • Some of the solutions include “investing in communities that are harmed by hate violence,” “improving law enforcement accountability and training” and “shifting focus toward support and healing.”

  • The authors of the report believe it is important to reassess existing laws as well as how we address hate crimes.

  • "We need to improve our hate crime laws and engage in broader solutions to reducing hate in our country,” Mushovic declared.

Featured Image (Representation Only) via Jason Leung on Unsplash

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