Adrianne Miller Intro. Social Problems 1160 Dr. Hasling February 6, 2005 Is the American Criminal Justice System Fair and Just? To answer if America’s criminal justice system is fair and just is a hard question to answer and discuss. The reason behind that statement is because there are so many reasons for why it is fair and just, and then there are many reasons also why it is not fair and just. This topic is something people argue over all the time and one that doesn’t have a correct or wrong answer.
If I had to answer this question right away I would say that I am in the middle, I say that because of after reading the chapter on crime It made me see all the problems our criminal justice system has that needs working out. A reason to start of with why the criminal justice system is fair and just is with how they determine the crime rates in our country. They do this by focusing more on certain crimes and reporting more of those crimes than reporting on all crimes that are committed in our country.
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Another reason crime rates makes the decision hard is that our book says they underreport the actual extent of crime because they list only known crimes and ones that are reported. A good point our book makes why the criminal justice system is not just is when reporting crimes they focus has directed the public attention almost to all the crimes that involve violence and property in, which poor and minorities commit. Our book points out that a disproportionate amount of street crime in the U. S. is committed by young people, with those under 25 accounting for half of all violent crime arrest and three-fifths of all property crime.
The book says this because the youth are disengaged from their parents and undergoing peer pressure, which I agree on. I am 22 and when I was in high school which wasn’t long ago I had a couple of friends who would fall under this statement. Some of them came from the lower social class, which our book points out that a bulk of the people processed by the justice system comes from. They say that the police and criminal justice system assume these people are more likely to be criminals. This is where a lot of people would say the criminal justice system is not fair and I would have to agree.
Then I would have to come back and say I had friends who did these crimes and went to the youth detention centers and came out much better and stayed out of trouble. So then I would say the criminal justice system is fair and just in some ways, because it is providing a way for these young kids to make their lives better before they enter adulthood while in these centers. When asking if the criminal justice system is fair and just with their laws is a tough question to answer. I say that because today most of our laws are ones that we help put on the books ones that we as a society back.
These laws are the ones where I would say the justice system is fair in pushing those laws. For example the new law that was passed that you can not smoke in restaurants or other public places in GA is a fair law. I say that because in my opinion it is decreasing some people from being at risk for second hand smoke. Then you have those laws as our book points out that aren’t fair and those would be the ones created to keep the races separate and unequal. Those laws were not fair because most people in our society did not agree with them or help to push them to become laws.
The people that enforce these laws are the police they fit into the equation of if the criminal justice system being fair and just by the way they enforce these laws. I say that because our book points out that certain biases may prevail among police and they have power, even the ultimate power o legitimate force at their disposal to uphold the law. Sometimes they take advantage of their power to uphold these laws and our book points out about racial profiling which in my opinion is another reason to say the criminal justice system is not fair and just.
Then you have to come back and say the police are fair and just because when they do their job right they are keeping criminals off the street and our society feels a lot safer. The court system is one factor of the criminal system that I totally believe at times is very unjust and not fair. I say this because as our book points out facts that say the court system is biased against racial minorities, which is something I feel strongly about. For example our book says that a study found that minority youth particularly African American is treated worse than whites at every stage of the judicial process.
Until this problem of the court system being biased against racial minorities is cut back some I can’t say that part of our criminal system is fair and just. I can say they are somewhat just in the fact of some cases that improves our society, but until they can stop being biased they will not be completely fair and just in my opinion. All I can say about prisons is in my opinion the government puts to much time and effort into them. If our government would put the amount of effort into education as it does prisons our society would be a lot better off.
I say this because our book points out prisons provide learning experiences in the art of crime. In my opinion is an awful thing and is only putting worse criminals back out onto our streets when they are paroled. Our book points out that there are categories of people who should receive punishment and should not. I agree with this and if our criminal system would take that into consideration in my opinion that would make prisons a fair and just system. I say that because they would be helping the ones who would benfit and the ones who would not benefit would just have to enjoy the prison life.
Overall, I would say that the criminal justice system is more unfair and unjust than anything. I say this because the criminal justice system in our country is always under pressure and always going though changes. If our government would just sit down and discuss all the problems with our criminal justice system such as the laws and the courts and all the little kinks they have in the system. Then we would not have this problem with it not being thought of as slacking most of the time and unfair and unjust.