Race in the Criminal Justice System Assignment

Race in the Criminal Justice System Assignment Words: 2352

Crime rates and statistics are often incorrect, the Justice system is irrupt, racial profiling is ineffective, the Jury tends to sometimes sway towards one group of people or another, technology is helping but still there is racism and stereotypes. Crime Rates and why there are Stereotypes Criminology is the branch of sociology that studies crime and criminals as a social phenomenon. Criminology is the science of the behavior of these criminals as well as corrections and law enforcement. This science relies heavily on accurate research especially the statistics behind the relationships involving race and the crime itself.

In the United States crime and the race of the offender are clearly linked but there is another issue. Crime is increasing but it is also being committed by more people because the population has increased so much. From 2000 to 2006 the population increased by about 17,976,578, according to the U. S. Consensus Bureau. This crime- boom in the past decade has caused problems in the criminal Justice system. The criminal Justice system is seeing “too much crime, underreporting of crime, prison overcrowding, discriminatory practices, budgetary cutbacks, and lacking a clear picture of the incident and nature of crime.

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As a result it is often ineffective in combating and controlling crime, and lacking a clear picture of the incidence and nature of crime,” (Flowers, xvi). As stated by Flowers when crime is underreported crime rates become unreliable as evidence and effect how we view, prevent and treat crime in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation publishes annual crime statistics in Crime in the United States and determines the crime rates by computing the national crime rates for index offenses per 100,000 people.

This calculation is determined by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total Unites States population and multiplying this total by 100,000. There is an issue with these annual statistics the FBI publishes according to Flowers because the number of reported crimes in incorrect. Crimes are not reported for several reasons: Victims would rather not go through the hassle of reporting crimes, Victims are too ashamed or embarrassed to want to make a crime known (e. G. , in case of rape).

Witnesses to a crime do not want to get involved, victims or witnesses regard the offense as a private matter, a belief that the offense was too insignificant to be reported, lack of inference that the police can be helpful, fear of self-incrimination, the victim is unaware of his or her victimizing,” (Flowers, 5). There are many reasons why crimes are not reported to officials and although some are understandable this is the cause of stereotyping. These inaccurate statistics lead to stereotypes which influence statistics are known as the dark fugues according to Flowers.

With inaccurate statistics come inaccurate depictions or stereotypes of certain races and groups of people. A look at the numbers According to the U. S. Consensus Bureau the estimated population in the United States in 2006 was 299,389,484 people. Caucasians are in fact most likely to be both the offenders and the victims of crime because of their overwhelming number, while minority group members, specifically blacks and Hispanics have the highest rate of criminal involvement. Whites account for 80. 1 percent of all major crimes in the US. Blacks are the second largest race (12. %) in terms of numbers and are “responsible for 27 percent of the aggregate arrests, 47 percent of those for violent crimes, and 30 percent of the property crime arrestees,” (Flowers, 91). What is most shocking from Hess statistics is that blacks only constitute about 12. 8 percent of the national population. Hispanics represent 14. 8 percent of the entire population and accounted for 12. 7 percent of arrests for all crimes. Numbers like these back stereotypical accusations and certainly alter the view people have of these groups and their involvement in crime.

The Justice System Certain ethnic groups are targeted for crimes more than others. Law enforcers have the upper hand in deciding when a crime has been committed as well as where they station their patrols; which is why certain areas draw more attention from the police Han others. In America the premise is “guilty until proven innocent,” which is why law officials have the upper hand. Today our law enforcement includes policemen and women all across America. Their Job is to ensure obedience to our nations laws set forth first by the constitution and expanded by our national and state governments.

Today people generally have a positive opinion for these protectors and genuinely trust police officers, although it was not always this way in this country. During the civil rights movement whites constituted a much larger majority in the population as well as the police force. In this time a great deal of crime was overlooked and minorities often were treated unfairly and not in accordance to our nation’s laws. Because of this, minorities trusted officials very little and there was a great deal of tension between police and civilians as well as great deal tension between races.

Since the civil rights era police departments have become increasingly more diversified. Civilian trust in government officials was on the upswing from the civil rights movement in America up until the September 1 1 terrorist attacks in 2001. “America experienced a rude awakening of its multi- elisions landscape in the form of religious prejudice, stereotypical mentalities, hate crimes, and outright ignorance; all of which created an atmosphere of two extremes: those who were feared, and those who were fearful,” (Unequal Protection: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2005).

After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon national security became a very large issue. Airport security was one major concern. Luggage searches were instituted at “random,” mostly targeting minorities. Minorities in the US had a very difficult time; stereotypes caused he majority of people in America to deem these minorities as a threat and often Muslim hate crimes in the US increased exponentially from 42 cases (2002), to 93 cases in 2003, to 141 cases in 2004. Often times these hate crimes are the result of stereotyping.

Minorities were often mistaken to be Muslims simply because of their appearance. Throughout history there have been times where police and the Justice system have been viewed as untrustworthy. In the last hundred years or so this country has seen its fair share of movements where trust in our government came into question. None were larger than the civil rights movement in the sass and more recently following the 9/1 1 terrorist attacks. In America the premise is “guilty until proven innocent. ” It is a preventative measure where there is a very fine line between racial targeting due to stereotypes and safety.

Racial Profiling Racial profiling is the consideration of race when one develops a profile of a suspected criminal. Racial profiling is a form of racism involving police focus of certain racial groups when seeking suspected criminals. This is a very hazy and unclear area between the police and inhabitants of the US. Racial profiling is where the majority of stereotypes come into effect as well as prejudices from the police point of view. Law enforcement officials must often make a Judgment as to whom they consider a threat to society.

Racial profiling is a crime preventative strategy used by policemen to protect the people of the US. Therefore it is very important that the law enforcers in the United States have accurate depictions of who is committing which crimes. Profiling is used most effectively when the police have an impartial view and understanding of the most recent accurate crime statistics. Unfortunately the statistics are not 100% accurate so sometimes errors are made in reading a situation and profiling a suspect. Amnesty International USA argues that racial profiling makes us less safe.

Race-based policies do not always prevent us from harm. Oftentimes those who are not suspected of crimes are the ones who in fact commit crimes. In 2003 there was a case where a white college student from Maryland smuggled box cutters, bleach, matches and an item with the same consistency as plastic explosives onto six different airplanes. When finally caught the detent said that he was able to pass through airport security multiple times because he did not fit the profile of someone who would typically commit such a crime.

Racial Profiling has also proven to be a failure in America’s war on drugs. Police officials have spent the majority of their time focusing on Latino and African American drivers even through studies show that they should have really been focusing on white drivers. In 1999 the Department of Justice revealed that more drugs were found when police searched the cars of white drivers (17%). African Americans only represented 8%. Similarly in New Jersey, minorities’ automobiles were searched more frequently while whites still were caught transporting the most illegal drugs (25%).

There was only 5% found in automobiles operated by Latino and 13% in automobiles driven by African American motorists, according to Amnesty international. When the U. S. Customs Service changed its prevention plan by focusing less on profiling to race-neutral factors such as behavior, their rate of productive preventative searches increased largely. Productive searches conducted by the US Customs Service increased by more than 300%. Facts such as this one show how ineffective racial profiling really is and how innocent minority groups are opposed to racial profiling.

Following the 9/1 1 terrorist attacks the administration has expanded the use of racial profiling by implementing immigration and law enforcement policies including the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System. This system requires all male visitors to the US from Arab and Muslim countries to register and submit to interrogation. All males ranging from the age of 16 to 24 must submit to this interrogation. Although one may agree that this system is only a safety assure it is really nothing more than the biggest case of racial profiling.

President Bush issued a directive banning racial profiling in 2003 by federal law enforcement agencies. There are many issues with this directive. There is an exception for the use of race in and national security investigation, which happens to be a branch where a great deal of racial profiling occurs. Another issue with this is that the local and state government enforcement agencies do not have to abide by this presidential directive. The Final Verdict and who decides it

There are many stereotypes that influence whether someone is convicted of a crime but Judges and Juries determine whether one is guilty or innocent. A Jury is a body of persons sworn to inquire into a matter submitted to them and to give their verdict. Sociologists believe that most corruption can be seen in the Jury process. The Jury selection process is when people are chosen to serve on a trial Jury. There are many methods to select these individuals to avoid an unfair trail. The pool is first selected at random choosing people from the community within the Jurisdiction of the court.

These perspective Jurors are sent to summons, questioned thoroughly and obligated by law to appear in court on the specified date. The selection process is very important because the Jurors will potentially be making a verdict that may or may not drastically change someone’s life. In recent years there has been progress in reducing racism within the courtroom. Prejudices have a huge impact on court rulings. Sociologists believe that there is so much corruption within the court mainly because of the selection process itself. There is no equal representation of different roofs of people.

If there is an equal distribution of people in the Jury the defendant should have no way to argue the outcome of the case and thus save the government a great deal of time and money. If there is an African American defendant being judged by a predominately white Jury, an issue of race will definitely arise. As stated in the Bill of Rights the all citizens are guaranteed a “fair trial”, which is a trail free from race and prejudices. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics the U. S. Courts released the information about how involved minorities are in the courts.

These courts dealt with more than 980,000 adults who were convicted of felonies most of whom were handled in State Courts. Furthermore, nearly half of those convicted in these courts were Black” (Duress &Langan). As shown by this statistic, the courts deal with minorities a great deal. That is why Jury diversity is so important. The experiences and prejudices the Jury members have often affects the outcome of a trail, which is why the selection process is so difficult but also important. Technology In the last few decades there has been an astounding increase in technology.

Technology has become so advanced that courts rely heavily on results. Genetic fingerprint technology and DNA recognition have greatly affected the outcome of several court cases. Because of newer technology forensic scientists can take a someone is guilty or innocent, depending on the case. Technology is effective in ruling out race. False accusations can now be more easily proven incorrect. Technology provided facts as opposed to opinions. Conclusion Throughout history crime and race have been closely linked. In order to prevent crime, crime must first be understood.

Sociologists seek to do Just that, to understand he relationship between race and crime. Until the statistics become more accurate and more crimes are reported there will not be a clear understanding of criminology. Therefore law enforcement agencies as well as the rest of the general population in the US will not be able to rid itself of racism. Racism, stereotypes and prejudices towards and about groups of people threaten social control in the US, and social control in the US will not be attained until this is accomplished. Bibliography White, Rob, and Fauna Haines. Crime and Criminology: An Introduction.

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