Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Justice System Essay

Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Justice System Essay

Length: 4767 words (13.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Justice System


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.

Criminal Apprehension

Statistical accounts show consistent accord in that African Americans are disproportionately arrested over whites. What is much less lucid, however, is the real reason for this disparity. Both criminologists and political scientists alike have expounded remarkably polarized explanations for this phenomenon. Exemplary of this are two arguments as developed as they are diametrically opposed, that of William Wilbanks and that of Samuel Walker, Cassia Spohn and Miriam DeLone.

These authors’ arguments are both well-articulated and comprehensive, addressing virtually every pertinent concept in the issue of explaining racially disparate arrest rates. In The Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System, Wilbanks insists that racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is a fabrication, explaining the over-representation of African Americans in arrest numbers simply through higher incidence of crime. Walker, Spohn and DeLone’s The Color of Justice dissents that not only are African Americans not anywhere near the disproportionate level of crime that police statistics would indicate, they are also arrested more because they are policed discriminately. Walker, Spohn and DeLone addi...

... middle of paper ...

...ican Sociological Review 55(5): 609-627.


Tappan, Paul W. 1947. “Who Is the Criminal?” American Sociological Review 12 (1): 96-102.


Turner, Billy. 1986. “Race and Peremptory Challenges During Voir Dire: Do Prosecution and Defense Agree?” Journal of Criminal Justice 14: 61-69.

U.S. Department of Justice. 2002. “What is the Sequence of Events in the Criminal Justice System?”


Walker, Samuel, Cassia Spohn, and Miriam DeLone. 2000. The Color of Justice.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Wilbanks, William. 1987. The Myth of the Racist Criminal Justice System. Monterey,
CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Criminal Justice System Regarding The Biasedness And Racial Discrimination

- I. Review of Literature on Topic There has been long standing controversy in the criminal justice system regarding the biasedness and racial discrimination that some people face, especially when it comes to capital punishment and who gets a death sentence. Post-Furman statutes have not ended racial discrimination in who gets the death penalty. Leslie Reid (2008) explains what her research says on social control and how that ties to capital punishment in history. During the early twentieth century, lynching was used to control the labor of blacks in the south....   [tags: Capital punishment, Crime, Murder, Prison]

Powerful Essays
2252 words (6.4 pages)

Racial Discrimination And The Criminal Justice System Essay

- Race has always been a controversial topic of discussion dating back centuries ago. One area of controversy comes in the area of the connection between minorities and prison. Racial discrimination has been very much existing in the Criminal Justice System in this day and age. As a result, the justice system is looked at as being more of a system for keeping minorities, especially African-Americans, in check. African-Americans are often seen as being unfairly targeted and prosecuted. Because of this, through the eyes of minorities, the Justice in America is seen as being a racially biased system that holds different standers between whites and minorities....   [tags: Race, Black people, White people]

Powerful Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)

Racial Discrimination and Disparity in the United States Justice System

- Introduction The issue of racial disparity in the criminal justice system has been a longstanding debate in this county. According to Tonry (as cited in Cole & Gertz, 2013) African Americans make up to 50% of the prison population but are only 12 % of the total United States population. Bobo and Thompson (2006) stated that Hispanics make up to 18 % of the prison population but are only 14 % of the total United States Population, while Caucasians make up to 75 % of the total population and are only 35 % of the prison population in American....   [tags: civil rights, prejudice, prison, legal reform]

Powerful Essays
2729 words (7.8 pages)

Criminal Justice: Racial Disparity and Discrimination and O.J. Simpson Essay

- Criminal law is based on the principle of actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea. The principle is to the extent that a man is not guilty of his acts, actus in the absence of a guilty conscience, mens rea (Gardner, 2009). To this end, criminal law justice provides that the person alleging the commission of a crime must proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person(s) possessed mens rea, if the court is to hold a criminal liability against the accused. In the case of People of the State of California v....   [tags: criminal law, O.J. Simpson Trial, justice system]

Powerful Essays
763 words (2.2 pages)

Discrimination And Racial Disparities Are A Part Of Every Stage Within The U.s. Criminal Justice System

- Discrimination and racial disparities are a part of every stage within the U.S. criminal justice system, from policing to trial to sentencing. The United States is the world’s leading jailer with 2.2 million people behind bars. Perhaps no single reason has contributed more to racial disparities in the criminal justice system than the so-called “War on Drugs” which many people believe was a thinly disguise veil for racism on African-American. Even though racial and other ethnic groups use and sell drugs at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Hispanics are punished more and harshly by the system forming 62 percent of those in state prisons for first drug offenses, and 72.1 percent of all persons...   [tags: Police, Criminal justice, Crime, Criminal law]

Powerful Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)

Racial Segregation And The Criminal Justice System Essays

- The website is very easy to use with tabs across the top with options such as Know Your Rights, Defending Your Rights, Blog, and others. Below in the Racial Justice section is a paragraph labeled “What’s at Stake” It talks mostly about how students of color are racially isolated and how the criminal justice system disproportionally targets them. To the right of that is a “What You Need to Know” box with a few statistics laid out about racial issues. There are also blogs, videos, court cases, and press releases you can view on the subject of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system....   [tags: Criminal justice, Crime, Police]

Powerful Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Racial Inequality And The Juvenile Justice System

- In today’s society, race and socioeconomic standing can determine the quality of treatment one receives while in the criminal justice system. Racial inequality and discrimination seems to be a permanent fixture within the criminal justice system, and the juvenile justice system is no exception when it comes to that form of injustice. As it is depicted in the PBS documentary, a teenage boy named Shawn from a white, upper-middle class family was first arrested after he stabbed his father multiple times while he was sleeping in a brutal murder attempt....   [tags: Crime, Criminal justice, Criminology, Punishment]

Powerful Essays
708 words (2 pages)

Racial Profiling And The Criminal Justice System Traffic Stops Essay

- As a result of the discrimination within the criminal justice system traffic stops are composed of mainly African American and Hispanics. These minorities are targeted within the streets as criminals by police officers. A video from The Orland Sentinel showed major evidence of racial profiling by police. Within the video there more than one thousand people’s roadside stops shown. With watching one hundred and forty-eight hours of video, statistics acquired were that “Almost 70 percent of the motorists stopped were black or Hispanic....   [tags: Crime, Police, United States, Criminal justice]

Powerful Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Discrimination, Inequality, And Justice For Few Essay

- Minorities: Discrimination, Inequality, and Justice for Few According to minorities today, racism and discrimination are some of the major factors that are present in the workplace. In the labor force specifically, we see racism, discrimination, and inequality that deprive minorities of the opportunity to succeed in life. Research shows that African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, lesbians, gays, and transgenders in the world suffer injustices that shouldn’t be taking place according to laws that were placed to defend these groups....   [tags: Discrimination]

Powerful Essays
1266 words (3.6 pages)

The United States Criminal Justice System Essay

- The United States Criminal Justice system as defined by The National Center for Victims of Crime is, “the set of agencies and processes established by government to control crime and impose penalties on those who violate laws.” The criminal justice system used today follows some of the principles that the United States Constitution enforces such as “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The United States criminal justice system may...   [tags: Race, Racism, Criminal justice, Crime]

Powerful Essays
948 words (2.7 pages)