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Disparity and discrimination in the criminal justice system essay

Discrimination in the criminal justice system is achieved through: There is no other issue in criminal justice that is more disturbing than the occurrence of racial disparity within the system. In all of its stages—from the arrest to imprisonment and parole—substantial racial and ethnic disparities are found in almost all jurisdictions.

  1. British Journal of Criminology.
  2. Disparity and Discrimination Criminal Justice System has long been established in order to guide all law enforcers and legal officers in the implementation of laws and order in achieving justice. Thirty Old ages of Prison Reform.
  3. So when provinces as Iowa.
  4. All actors within the criminal justice system are under the delusion, or pretense, of objectivity in the criminal justice system.

Years and years of discrimination, slavery and segregation, according to Butler 1997have created the social environments that fuel high levels of African-American criminal behavior p. Hence, the hypothesis is that similar to low standardized test scores, poor grades, and depressed wages, black criminality is another product of a history of white supremacy.

Butler 1997 asserts that even though conscious discriminatory intent may not exist, the criminal justice system is presently administered in a racially discriminatory fashion p. Michael Tonry 1994 avers that racial disparities in the US prison system have been increasing throughout the last third of the twentieth century p. In addition, the racial composition of the prison population has reached near parity between blacks and whites.

Tonry 1994 compared racial incarceration rates in America to those in Australia, Canada, and England and Wales. He finds the ratio of black-to-white incarceration rates in England and Wales is 7. Numbers in Australia and Canada also reveal that these four countries handle visible minority groups no less differentially harshly than does the United States.

Further, Kennedy 1994 condemns what he considers a widespread and larger-than-life perception that definition of criminality and the administration of law enforcement is pervaded with undesirable racial prejudice p. Since African Americans are much more likely than whites to be victims of violent crime, the greatest threat to their communities is not racist police officers, but violent—typically black—criminals.

Critiques of racist law enforcement, according to Kennedy 1994ignore the fact that blacks suffer from an ineffective amount of police protection p. Whereas the frequent portrayal of government policies is that they unambiguously favor white interests over black interests, Kennedy believes that not enough attention is paid to the varied and conflicting ways in which policies affect black communities. Kennedy 1994 concludes that in the absence of findings of discriminatory purpose, legislatures, not the courts, are a more appropriate forum for confronting and remedying policies that have racially disparate consequences.

Racial Disparity in Criminal Justice System Essay

On another aspect of the issue, Davis 1998 espouses the argument that more than any other officials in the criminal justice system, prosecutors have the most immediate effect on racial disparities, and hence, should carry the most responsibility in resolving them p. Although, charges should determine the sentence, there are many conditions that result in different sentences for the same crime. These states of affairs create the disparities. Politics influence sentencing decisions.

Elected officials are not accountable to the people involved in each case and they are resolving and issuing decisions in an effort to create a public image for themselves. Mandatory sentencing has moved the discretion in sentencing from the judge to the prosecutor.

Without any prosecutor accountability, this only increases the potential for racism in sentencing. Davis asserts that the role of the prosecutor is not simply to imprison criminals but to also ensure that the overall administration of the criminal justice system is implemented with equity and fairness.

It is interesting to note that no fixed standard on racial discrimination can me easily met and proved due to the fact that racial discrimination is much less obvious than it was in the past, and is often too subtle or unconscious to irrefutably prove.

Department of Justice September 2000 report shows an over-representation of minorities in federal capital cases.

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Department of Justice, 2001. The government, nonetheless, was swift and keen on explaining that this fact cannot be accounted to racial or ethnic biases, but on the nature of the offenses falling under federal jurisdiction and the geographic disparity of such crimes. This explains the number of federal capital crime minority arrests, since groups involved in drug-related cases are composed mostly of minorities.

Government data also shows that even if more Blacks and Hispanics get involved in potential capital cases, only a few of these indictments are approved as death penalty lawsuits, especially lesser than of the Whites.

The American Civil Liberties Union 2001 brought into light the methodological errors of the study. ACLU asserts that the Department of Justice study on capital case racial biases is unreliable for the following reasons. The study did not explain why U. Attorneys tries a case in the federal or state system.

Thus, ACLU presented several recommendations that include a new study to look into all potential federal capital cases in the U. They also prod that the congress must release a moratorium in federal executions so that there will be no death penalties bestowed until the result of the individual studies are released ACLU, 2001.

Disparity and Discrimination

Many of the studies, especially at the Federal level, found evidence of direct discrimination against minorities that resulted in significantly more severe sentences than their white counterparts. Pope and Feyerherm 1993 examined the role that minority status plays in the processing of youth at various stages arrest, intake, detention, etc.

They discovered that there were relatively few program initiatives or policies in any jurisdictions specifically designed to reduce disproportionate representation and ensure equitable decision making p. They then propose two analytic models for local and state jurisdictions to collect and evaluate data that assesses how minority youth are being treated at all levels of the juvenile justice system.

Pope and Feyerherm 1993 provide several guidelines to direct future research, including: Spohn 2000on the other hand, discusses how certain types of minority offenders are singled out for harsher treatment perhaps because they are perceived as being more dangerous p. Blacks and Hispanics who are young, male, and unemployed are particularly more likely than their white counterparts to be sentenced to prison and in some places they also receive longer sentences or differential benefits from guideline departures.

  1. His blunt interview with Justice Bruce Wright confirmed that each histrion brings his personal prejudice into his responsibilities in the condemnable justness system.
  2. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades—they are currently at historical lows—but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. The decision-making that occurs prior to sentencing often has a greater impact on the punishment that offenders receive than does the exercise of discretion in sentencing.
  3. Tonry 1994 compared racial incarceration rates in America to those in Australia, Canada, and England and Wales.

There is also evidence that minorities convicted of drug offenses, those with longer prior criminal records, those who victimize whites, and those who refuse to plead guilty or are unable to secure pretrial release are punished more severely than similarly situated whites Spohn, 19994, p. Spohn deduces that the sentencing reforms implemented since the 1970s have not achieved their goal of eradicating racial disparities and discrimination. It is clear, therefore that racial discrimination is not a thing of the past.

Is it Really Color-Blind?

Race and the Criminal Justice System

Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity. Annual Report and Recommendations 2003-2004. Retrieved February 17, 2006 from http: The Power and Privilege of Discretion. Minorities and the Juvenile Justice System. National Institute of Justice.

  • Attributional Stereotypes as Mediating Mechanisms;
  • Arrest and conviction rates do not correlate precisely with criminal behavior rates and cannot serve as a proxy for criminality;
  • Does racial disparity exist within the criminal justice system?
  • American Behavioral Scientist, 625-644;
  • And while the size of the system entirely might propose that it would touch the lives of most Americans;
  • Supporting information shows the extraordinary additions in several provinces of nonwhite drug wrongdoers committed to prison having harsher sentences for similar drug offenses.

United States of America Department of Justice 2001. The Federal Death Penalty System.