In this paper we discuss the findings from a study that analyzes the life stories of twenty-one minority ethnic group men in London. British scholarship on race and crime has arguably been stymied by a focus on the over-representation of young Black men in the criminal justice system, without unpacking in detail why the over-representation continues. For example, few recent empirical studies in the UK have looked at trying to understand how structure, culture and agency interact to produce conditions where minority ethnic group men offend or desist. In this paper we use Laub and Sampson’s (2003) book Shared Beginnings, Divergent Livesto frame our approach to understanding offending through life stories. We consider the application of this framework minority ethnic groups who have experienced racism in society and the criminal justice system. We make connections between racial discrimination and offending by drawing on recent US literature which argues that a racialized world-view mediates and compounds offending. 

 

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