The Criminal Justice System Is Racist Essay

The Criminal Justice System Is Racist Essay

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If given this prompt at the beginning of this semester I would have answered with a resounding yes, the criminal justice system is racist. The classes I have previously taken at LSU forced me to view the criminal justice system as a failed institution and Eric Holder’s interview in VICE - Fixing The System solidified that ideology. The system is man-made, created by people in power, and imposed on society, so of course there will be implicit biases. The issue is that these internally held implicit biases shaped the system, leading the racial and class disparities. VICE – Fixing The System addressed heavily the outcomes that we see in today’s society based on these implicit biases. Additionally, this documentary focuses on the ways that mainly poor people of color are profiled, arrested, convicted (or plead), and incarcerated at an unprecedented rate, mostly due to the War on Drugs.
It is a no brainer that the criminal system of “days of old” focused on arresting and maintaining people of color. In “The Evolving Strategy of Police: A Minority View,” authors Hubert Williams and Patrick V. Murphy highlighted this form of “political era” policing, coined by Kelling and Moore, which focused on the maintaining of order especially when it came to slaves. Mainstream society would like to believe that as we entered the “reform era” and the “community era” we have left the racially hinged manner of policing behind, but in reality we have just used different ways to exploit people of color. As stated earlier, the easiest way to explain how this has been done was with the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs introduced a rhetoric that shaped the future of America. Drugs were seen as a epidemic, ruining the lives of all we know and love. Jurisdi...


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...rs or even those just convicted of crimes. VICE – Fixing The System showcased stories of returning citizens who faced the stigmas of jail, the fines of the court, and were lead back into a life of crime just to make ends meet. This vicious cycle leads back into the criminal justice system with these returning citizens being rearrested or by violation of parole/payment, due to financial issues.
Is the system racist? Yes. Can we fix it? Yes. Is that going to happen overnight? No. Small steps must be made by those in power to redistribute the effects of the system onto the entire population. I think having the class read and discuss Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow would be a fantastic place to start, as it has drastically changed my opinion of the criminal justice system and that is why I want to work my hardest to use my privilege in order to make a difference.

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