Essay about Race and the Death Penalty

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The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues on American soil. Blacks are more likely to face the death penalty than whites in the commission of identical crimes(CNN, 2014). The history of capital punishment dates back to the days before Christ. The Old Testament adage 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' has survived throughout the ages despite the New Testament's rendition of 'thou shall not kill'. Today's American victims endure a more demure of style of cruel and unusual punishment; death by lethal injection has replaced the barbaric traditions of the past.

Statistics prove that for many years the death penalty has fallen disproportionately on racial minorities in the United States. For example, since 1930
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Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is a product of a number of factors ?crime, offenses such drugs, social and economic disparities, legislative policies, and the use of discretion by the criminal justice system. Social and economic disparities have faces and many are of color.

African-Americans are more likely than others to have social histories that include poverty, exposure to neighborhood violence, and exposure to crime-prone role models. For example, African-American children with no prior admissions to the juvenile justice system were six times more likely to be incarcerated in a public facility than white children with the same background that were charged with the same offense. A major study sponsored by the Department of Justice in the early 1980s noted that juvenile justice system processing appears to be counterproductive, placing minority children at a disproportionately greater risk of subsequent incarceration (Deadly Statistics: A Survey of Crime and Punishment, 2000). This writer?s grandmother retired after more than thirty years as a welfare social worker for Los Angeles County. She has stated on more than occasion that the government is the main reason that most black men are in jail awaiting the death penalty today. In the sixties and early seventies, she says that women on welfare were not allowed to have men in the home, even the father of the children. These fatherless generations of men seem more prone to crime,…

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