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Hate crime laws are also symbolic and promote social cohesion by officially stating that victimization of people who are “different” is not accepted or tolerated in a modern society.
Some laws also include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
The federal hate crime system includes laws, acts, and data collection statutes.
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.
While hate crime behavior has a long history, it has only been in the last couple of decades that research to understand this type of crime has been conducted.
Although not all jurisdictions, academics, or professionals agree about who should be protected by hate crime laws, the majority of such laws describe the offender’s motivation based on prejudice against the victim’s, race, color, nationality, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.
Those who oppose hate crime laws also argue that attempting to determine motivation for an already criminal act is difficult and may pose moral problems in that the offender is being punished for a criminal act and for his or her motivation.
It has also been argued that hate crime laws do not deter people from engaging in these crimes.
Not all believe that hate crimes have been a significant problem in society; rather, some see it as a media-exaggerated issue—a product of a society that is highly sensitive to prejudice and discrimination.
Thus, a special set of criminal laws that include hate is not warranted, and the generic criminal laws will suffice.