Criminal justice system is the law enforcement that focuses on the safety of the public, which prosecutes, defends, sentences, and punishes people who are suspects of convicted criminal offenses. The criminal justice system is supposed to be equal to all races but it is not always like that even in this century. The criminal justice system is suppose to be color blind yet colored races are more likely to get hasher punishment than white people. There are studies that prove that there are more African Americans and other colored race people in prisons compared to the white race.
Public discretion plays a role in the criminal justice system by racially profiling people because of their skin color. Furthermore, the court system still does not let minorities challenge racial bias in court because they do not have the power to do so. There will always be injustice and inequality in the criminal justice system no matter how many laws and what kind of laws are made to avoid it because those in the court system have the most power. Minorities are the targets for arrest in many places in the United States. Alexander stated how police officers have been exposed to racially profiling which is unfair targeting. Alexander, p. 103, 2012) This leads to excessive force in most arrests that deal with weapons or drugs. Many times the person is innocent which the police officers deal with the consequences. African-American males have a higher incarceration rate, which leads to having more African-American people in prisons due to the discrimination that are going on.
Michelle Alexander, from the New Jim Crow article, stated how black people are more likely to be arrested for selling and possessing drugs than white people due to the neighborhoods they are in and the low income that they eceive. (Alexander, p. 96-97, 2010). Alexander also explained how poor black neighborhoods are more likely to be targeted since the drug selling is done outdoors in the open, which they are most likely to get caught the fastest. (2010). Police proceeds to these neighborhoods and focuses on the drug selling. Police does not realize that white people do the same drug selling type of deal but it’s done indoors between friends and family members. (2010). On the other hand, police just focuses on the colored race of these neighborhoods instead.
Arrest Records talked about how the criminal justice system is supposed to be colorblind yet, it focuses more on Blacks in the United States. (2014) Black people are known to have more trouble with police and in the court system. For instance, black people who have killed a white person were sentenced to a death penalty twenty two times more than when a black person who kills another black person. (2014). That is almost 80% of people on death row because of killing a white person. On the other hand, “it was seven times more frequently than whites who killed blacks”. (2014).
Looking at the statistics, white individuals are protected more in the court system when something violent happens to them, especially when it is done by a different race them then. Lauren Krivo and Julie Phillips talked about the homicide divide with African Americans. These two authors stated how African Americans ” experience homicide victimization 6 to 7 times the rates of whites and how whites have decreased to 3″ (Krivo&Phillips, 2013). Black people have always had highest levels of violence due to many low-income level jobs and living in poverty neighborhoods.
These two authors showed the U. S. omicide rates among people of the ages 15-34 in 2010 based on 100 homicides per 100,000 populations. The graph illustrated how white people were below 20 and black people were over 80. (Krivo&Phillips, 2014). This all happens because of hurting families and weakening neighborhoods. Public discretion plays a big role in the criminal justice system. Different kind of races is more focused by the police. Racial profiling and stop and frisk are a huge factor that is always focused on different colored races. For instance, in one of the class group criminal justice project presentations, the group talked about driving while black (DWB).
This type of racial profiling was police practicing by using traffic laws to routinely stop and frisk black motorists for investigating of a crime using probable cause or reasonable suspicion that they may be curious about. There have been many African American people that have been stopped just for being “black”. The police had no other reason to pull them over but did so anyways because they have the “power” to do so. The Prison Activist Resource Center gave some solutions onto why some police officers arrest black people more than whites.
This center stated 21. 5 % of African Americans have no health insurance compared to whites that is only 15%, 24 % of African Americans that are 25 and over have not graduated from high school, compared to whites that is only 16%, and 26. 5 % of African Americans live below the poverty line, compared to 11% of whites. (1999). All of these thins make law enforcement focus more on black people because it is a easy arrest because the African-Americans are struggling and will do illegal acts to survive or help themselves or their families.
Since the African-American rates are so much higher than whites, it results in not focusing so much on white people even though white people commit the same crimes on a daily basis. The New York Civil Liberties Union had an analysis done that showed innocent New York people have been stop and frisked by the police and blacks and Latinos communities tend to be the targets of these methods. (1951). The analyst proved how nine out of ten of these colored races people that were stop and frisked by the new york city police officers were innocent. (1951).
Random colored people were getting pulled over and questioned by police, which resulted in the colored people not doing anything illegal. The data proved how every time from the year of 2002 to 2015, black people were the most to get arrested, Latinos were the second most to get arrested, and white people were always the last to get arrested. (NYCLU, 1951) This was New York Cities police department own stop and frisk data which proved that public discretion still plays a role in the criminal justice system and that it is not fair to other races than white.
People are not being able to challenge racial bias in the court system. Michelle Alexander talked about how racial bias takes place at every stage of the court process. This process is the sentencing, prosecutions, jury selection, and police racial profiling colored races. (Alexander, 2012). Each of these parts has individual racism that they share and fall under the fourth amendment. Prosecutors have the most power in the court system. (Alexander, p. 112, 2012). The type of people in the court system is protected to the claims of racial bias.
The jury selection has a long history of race discrimination on juries in the court system. People of color would always get the harsher punishment and sentence. (Alexander, p. 106,2012) Since the judges have the most power, many of them make illegal discretion towards the suspects because of their race. This also goes for prosecutors because many of the bring information into the court and base it on the persons race. Jury selection is based on race, which makes the punishments even harsher for certain colored individuals even though a big percentage of them are innocent.
In Alexander’s book, she stated how “… And I don’t like the way they looked, with the way the hair is cut, both of them. And the mustaches and the beards look suspicious to me”(p. 122, 2012). This shows how many judges are racist and can simply give a colored race a worse punishment just because of their skin color. Another statement that Alexander gave was the mandatory laws were taking discretion of the judge which resulted in racial discrimination when a person is was getting sentenced. This had sentenced many colored races in prisons, which lead to overcrowding court systems, and even prisons. C), presentation).
For instance, the judges see a colored person and automatically think that they are guilty of the crime that they are involved in. Some judges do not really listen to what the person has to say. Kia Heise, Exposing the New Jim Crow with Michelle Alexander, stated how the people should see the racism in the court system and how they should respond for it. Alexander wants people to stand up for their race and fight for their rights because of the racial disparity and legal discrimination that is happening in the criminal justice system.
Many prisoners have read this book and were extremely satisfied with how Michelle Alexander stated that the criminal justice system is very racist. (2010) The prisoners themselves noticed how bad the criminal justice can get with different races and how there are not that many opportunities to speak up. Alexander stated how the prison population is filled with colored races just because of the skin color the people are, not what crime they committed. (2010) There are many remedies that can be done to fix the racism in the criminal justice system. Police officers should be retrained on how to use discretion.
These should be yearly class to keep the officers up to date and not doing illegal acts towards the citizens. Also, these officers should be trained to not use racial profiling and how to use other methods to better them. Body worn cameras should be worn by all officers on duty. This would show and prove when racism in done in crime situation. For first offense, drug offense, there should be rehabilitation instead of getting sentenced into prison. Many people should get the chance to be in a program for a GED or high school diploma that never received it due to being incarcerated.
There should be more colored police officers, especially in minority areas to show that it is not only white police men that are in these minority areas. Lastly, the court system should be more reliable such as not looking at the race. Give everyone the equal chance to speak up no matter what color of his or her skin is. In my opinion, the criminal justice is not a colorblind organization. In fact, race plays a huge role in the criminal justice system. First off, there are still more black people in prisons than whites. Black people are getting harsher punishments, which results sentencing in prison.
Public discretion is also another factor that racial profiles black people and how stop and frisk tactic focuses on black people because of their skin color. Many police officers, not all, think just because the person is “black”, they are up to no good. The NYCLU stop and frisk data sheet proved how many innocent people were arrested by NYPD. Lastly, many colored people are not able to challenge racial bias in the court system because simply the judges are not listening. Many judges see the person’s race and automatically give them a harsher punishment just because of their skin color.