The Mass Incarceration in the United States is a major topic of discussion in our society and has raised many questions about our criminal justice system. There are few topics disputed as much in criminal justice as the relationship between race, ethnicity, and criminal outcomes. Specifically, the large disparities that minorities face regarding incarceration in our country. Minorities such as Hispanics and African Americans are sentenced at far higher rates than their white counterparts. There are multiple factors that influence this such as the judicial system, racial profiling by law enforcement, and historical biases (Kamula, Clark-Coulson, Kamula, 2010). Additionally, the defendants race was found to be highly associated with either a jail or prison sentence; with the “odds increasing 29 percent for black defendants, and 44 percent for Hispanic defendants” (King, Johnson, McGeever, 2010).
The criminal justice system is a set of organizations and procedures set up by governments to control wrongdoing and force punishments on the individuals who disregard the laws. The main frameworks are state and federal. The state criminal justice systems handle wrongdoings perpetrated inside their state limits and government, the federal criminal system handles violations carried out on federal property or in more than one state. This system is supposed to be equal yet the nature of offenses, differential policing policies and practices, sentencing laws and biases are possible contributors to disparities in the system. The severity of the offense, prior record, age and education level are also taking into account when a decision is being made. Our prison system today varies immensely with ascending numbers of minority groups jailed within the system. Racial and ethnic imbalances continue in the United States and no disparity is more evident than that found in the criminal justice system. Disparity usually refers to a difference that is unfair, disparity in the criminal justice system stems from racial disparity which concludes that the proportion of a racial ethnic group within the control of the system is greater than the population of that group outside that control.
In modern-day America the issue of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is controversial because there is substantial evidence confirming both individual and systemic biases. While there is reason to believe that there are discriminatory elements at every step of the judicial process, this treatment will investigate and attempt to elucidate such elements in two of the most critical judicial junctures, criminal apprehension and prosecution.
There are so many more African-Americans than whites in our prisons that the difference cannot be explained by higher crime among African- Americans - racial discrimination is also at work, and it penalizes African- Americans at almost every juncture in the criminal justice system.1
Racial discrimination is where an employer commits race discrimination when it makes job decisions based on race or when it adopts seemingly neutral job policies that disproportionately affect members of a particular race. Federal and most state laws prohibit workplace race discrimination. Title VII -- the federal law that prohibits racial discrimination of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 work in concert to ensure that each resident’s chances in the pursuit of happiness are not damaged by their race. Although it is prohibited I believe that it is still an issue especially within the criminal justice system. I will support my answer with an ample amount of facts regarding racial discrimination within the criminal justice system.
Addressing Racial Disparities in Incarceration by Marc Mauer describes the current trends and impact of mass incarceration on colored communities. He precisely focuses on how the criminal justice system contributes to racial disparity within these communities and what changes need to be made to terminate the problem. Mauer explains that communities have very skewed ideas of how their criminal justice system works and that continues to divide the country based on race (2011, p. 88S). Mauer provides examples of racial bias in the three main pit stops of the criminal justice system starting with the officer who makes the arrest, followed by prosecution and finally the sentencing. Law enforcement officers frequently include implicit bias in regards to arrests and public policy decision, especially drug arrests, systematically
In this article, Robert, April, and Jorge (2010) acknowledges previous research reports on this topic and reveals that race, and racial patterns have found their way in involvement of crime. However, Robert, April, and Jorge (2010) argue that there is no significant proof that there are meaningful racial disparities in the legal systems. Although some literatures provide research on the existence of racial profiling by police, in imprisonment, and sentencing, other researchers report no significant racial disparities in the legal systems (Black and Reiss, 1970; Pilivian and Briar, 1964). However, other researchers report on ample racial disparities based on race. These researches are controversial because the size of the differences in such reports tends to bring up the question of meaningfulness of the differences observed (Wilbanks, 1987).
Racial inequality is growing. Our criminal laws, while facially neutral, are enforced in a manner that is massively and pervasively biased. My research will examine the U.S. criminal justice policies and how it has the most adverse effect on minorities. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, out of a total population of 1,976,019 incarcerated in adult facilities, 1,239,946 or 63 percent are
The existence of racial disparity and structural inequality within the criminal justice system renders the concept of true justice for all unobtainable. The statistics of convictions and prison sentences by race definitely support the concept that discrimination is a problem in the justice system as well as the insignificantly number of minority judges and lawyers. There are a multitude of circumstances that influence these statistics according to the “Central Eight” criminogenic risk factors. The need for programs and methods to effectively deter those at risk individuals has never been greater and the lack of such programs is costing society in countless ways.
There are large racial disparities in incarceration and related detainments for African Americans. They are more likely to be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections than any other racial or ethnic group (H.West, Sabol, & Greenman, 2010). Institutional racism is believed to be the reason why African Americans, especially males, are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. On balance, the public believes that discrimination against black people is based on the prejudice of the individual person, correlates to the discrimination built into the nation’s laws and institutions (Pew’s Research Center, 2017). This belief is actually supported through several experimental studies that provide evidence that African Americans are to be seen as more criminal and threatening than others thus more likely to be arrested or even shot (Greenwald, Oakes, & Hoffman, 2003). Racism within the criminal justice system very much exists and is still relevant.
At the prosecution stage, African Americans are subject to racially biased charges and plea agreements (TLC, 2011). African Americans are less likely to have their charges dismissed or reduced or to receive any kind of alternate sentencing than their white counterparts (TLC, 2011). In the last stage, the finding of guilt and sentencing, the decisions of jurors may be affected by race (Toth et al, 2008) African Americans receive racially discriminatory sentences from judges (TLC, 2011). A New York study from 1990 to 1992 revealed one-third of minorities would have receive a lesser sentence if they were treated the same as white and there would have been a 5 percent decrease in African Americans sent to prison during that time period if they had received the same probation privileges (TLC, 2011). African Americans receive death sentences more than whites who have committed similar crimes (Toth et al, 2008). Because of the unfair treatment from the beginning to the end of the justice system there is an over represented amount of African Americans in prison (Toth et al, 2008). Some of the problems faced by African Americans in prison are gangs, racial preferences given to whites, and unfair treatment by prison guards (Toth et al, 2008).
Incarceration rates are a definite proof that racial discrimination occurs. “Incarceration rates in the United States have risen sharply since 1980”, stated Filip Spagnoli, “the racial distribution of inmates in the U.S. is highly negative for black Americans. Whereas they only make up 12% of the total U.S. population, they represent more than 40% of inmates”
Racism has a huge impact on society to this day. The greatest wrong doing in the U.S criminal justice system is that it is a race based organization where African Americans are specifically focused on and rebuffed in a considerably more forceful route than white individuals. Saying the Us criminal justice system is racist might be politically disputable in different ways. In any case, the actualities are debatable. Underneath I explain many cases of these issues. Information on race is available for each step of the criminal justice system – from the use of drugs, police stops, arrests, getting off on bail, legal representation, jury selection, trial, sentencing, prison, parole, and freedom.
Is the criminal justice system biased? Law enforcement has used techniques such as criminal profiling to achieve the responsibility of protecting and serving society. How they use this practice is the key to whether the system is biased. Criminal profiling is a research method used by law enforcement professionals to select the potential suspects of a specific crime. Zapf (2011) stated “Criminal profiling is the process of identifying behavioral tendencies, personality traits, geographic location, and demographic or biographic descriptors of an offender based on the characteristics of a particular crime” (para.1). Simply explained, specialists such as crime scene investigators look at the crime and try to fit a suspect to that crime based on a number of factors. Those factors could be what the crime scene looks like, the victim, and the area where the crime was committed. Based on those factors a profiler could predict who the offender may be and additional information regarding personality, psychological traits, and social status. For example, the crime is a murder, the victim is a white, thirteen year old boy, the crime scene is completely organized so no evidence is found, and lastly the crime was committed in a suburban area. Gathering all this information, a profiler may predict the offender is a black man, slim build between the ages of 30-35, perhaps has OCD, or is currently unemployed. Now to locate the suspect is up to police officers to use the characteristics
However, even with the abundance of educational, legal, and social issues, the bias in the courtroom was one of the legal issues found in the play, by creating a court that is filled with members who have a clear bias towards one side of the argument, the other side is misjudged and has a lesser chance of