Access to Law and Justice: Perceived by Foreign and Roma Prisoners

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    Several studies have promoted discussion on the conditions surrounding access to law and justice in contemporary societies. With the knowledge that different social groups have different perceptions of litigation and different levels of tolerance regarding “unjust” situations, this article gives voice to particular vulnerable social groups and focuses on some of the mechanisms reproducing social inequalities in the access to law and justice. Based on the qualitative thematic content analysis of 68 foreign and Roma prisoners’ interviews in Portuguese prisons, we present and discuss the main difficulties and obstacles these individuals experienced during their trajectories within the criminal justice system as well as the perceptions they have about justice. Through the discussion of foreign and Roma prisoners’ experiences and perceptions of the criminal justice system, it is considered that not only class but also nationality and ethnicity are important variables for the understanding and co-explanation of the law and justice system, which affects both the access to the various stages of the justice process and the general views on justice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalRace and Justice
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • access to law and justice,
    • ethnicity
    • perceptions of justice


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