Hate Crimes Prevention Act-2009: An Alternative to the Preceding Policy of Hate Crimes in the US
The purpose of this study is to analyze the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 as an alternative solution to the preceding hate crime policies in the USA. Hate crimes are referred as the bias-motivated crimes that entail the aspects of message crimes. The person being attacked belongs to certain ethnic, social, or religious sector or the purpose of the attack is his sexual orientation, handicap, physical appearance, nationality or even gender identity. The overall group is threatened by this act of the offenders involved in committing hate crimes. Based on its consequences, there have been periodic evolutions in the hate crime policies since the 1980s that have led to the recent development of Hate Crime Prevention Act in 2009 at the 111th Congress meeting by President Obama. It has been a productive and effective combating tool against violent hate crimes that in turns encourage the partnerships of federal-state in investigating and prosecuting the criminals.
Hate crime statutes have been associated with the laws of civil rights of the 1960s and 1970s, and the anti-discrimination laws of the USA. Hate at the workplace or in the society or any other associated aspects cannot be outlawed. More specifically, the need for Hate Crimes policies has been recognized to eradicate the bigoted behaviors in the society along with the invidious discrimination. Therefore, hate crime laws are coherent with the criminal justice system as most of the civil right laws have an analogy with the hate crime laws regarding the structure, language and application concerns.
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA)-2009 is also referred as the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act” that signifies its validation for the LGBT Community. The amendment took place in response to the assassination of Shepard and Byrd that was motivated on the basis of the perpetrators’ perceived instincts of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The incident had created life-threatening situations in the society as the people were killed based on the perceived thoughts of the bigots. Therefore, the national and international concerns of the legal departments resulted in the development of HCPA-2009 as an alternative solution to the flaws of previous hate crime laws.
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA)-2009 has served the legislative concerns of the society. Previously, there were certain cases when the victims of hate crimes were not addressed lawfully regarding the existence of racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and homophobia in the society. In most of the cases, the state officials and the local officials used to be ineffective while dealing with the hate crimes. There was an incessant sense of inequality within the society that turned out to be the worst in sentencing the victims as a result of regarding them as perpetrators and sentencing for lifetime imprisonment or even death penalties in certain cases. The involvement of Federal government serves as an expansion of the investigative approaches to effectively respond to the hate crimes prevailing in the society.
America has been dealing with the disturbing prevalence of hate crimes since 1991 that has been the evaluated by the Department of FBI under the act of Federal HCSA (Hate Crime Statistics Act). Prior to the development of HCPA-2009, the annual reports tend to reflect the understatement of hate crimes in the society based on the barriers of languages and cultural differences in the society. Particularly, transgender victims, lesbians, gays, hostile victims, and others discriminated ones facing family or peer pressures tend to be reluctant in reporting these crimes. However, these concerned aspects are well comprehended under the HCPA-2009.
In addition to this, the preceding policies of hate crimes used to criminalize even the thoughts and speech of the perpetrators that was reflecting unfair attitudes along with heaving the concerns of discrimination within the society. The Amendment in HCPA-2009 yields the legalization of providing the freedom of speech. It does not punish the people for their beliefs or thoughts but focuses on the criminal conducts or activities. Besides, this policy affirms the Wisconsin’s hate crimes law that was based on punishing the criminal motives of the perpetrators. Another considerable aspect yielding the success of HCPA-2009 is the constitutional protection of the religious leaders. Prior to the Amendment of HCPA, the religious leaders were arrested and were forced on trials for expressing their beliefs in their preaching against homosexuality. However, HCPA-2009 has also eradicated these concerned aspects of the victims and the perpetrators.
More specifically, the previous federal law had a critical loophole of serving the victims of the bias-motivated crime, if the victim belonged to particular federal activity or had an association with the public schools or juridical authorities. Besides, people rights were not protected based on their perceived or actual disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender that resulted in incessant attacks from the extremists. In addition to this, the cases of hate crimes reported from the different states of America were not dealt lawfully as most of the states had inadequate admittance to the hate crime laws of dealing with the collaborative impacts of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability. Furthermore, the officials involved in the investigation of hate crimes were not capable of combating the violence associated with the hate crimes due to the lacking in federal support for prosecuting the perpetrators.
Consequently, Hate Crimes Prevention Act-2009 has closed the loopholes of the preceding policies of Hate Crimes by facilitating the perpetrators and the investigating officials as well at all the levels. Eradicating the threatening impacts on the religious, racial and national aspects of bias-motivated crimes, HCPA-2009 has facilitated the LGBT community. More specifically, the law serves all the individuals of the society deeming the reasonable abidance of anti-discrimination laws and civil right laws. Therefore, the issues of inequality are eradicated from the society as immigrants are also served under this law of hate crimes. The FBI seems prudent to ensuring justice for all the individuals of the society irrespective of their beliefs, race, ethnicity or their sexual orientation particularly (ODIHR, 2009; FBI, 2015).
Conclusively, the Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009 serves the LGBT Community proficiently that was the critical loophole in the preceding policies of Hate Crime in the USA. The extent of hate crimes must be controlled as it demands priority response based on the intensity of its devastating impacts on the victim’s psychology. Hate crimes must be reported to the FBI as HCPA is coherent with the federal involvement in investigation and prosecution of the reported cases. Consequently, HCPA facilitates the society by protecting their rights of speech, and the rights of living their lives independently, eliminating the issues of bigots’ perceptions of their sexual orientation.
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