University of Phoenix
Cultural Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice
November 09, 2011
Disparity and Discrimination Essay
Throughout the United States discrimination has deeply threaded itself in the way people socialize toward different ethnical backgrounds. According to criminal justice system, disparity is referred to a numerous amount of arrests and sentencing for certain ethnic groups of people. It predominantly refers to racial and ethnic disparity. Although racial disparity has not always been intentional discrimination, it has definitively been verified. This essay will compare and contrast discrimination and disparity as they relate to our criminal justice system. Disparity and discrimination are at times used interchangeably; however, these terms do not have the same meaning. Disparity is a difference in treatment or outcome that does not necessarily result from intentional bias or prejudice. Discrimination, on the other hand, is differential treatment of individuals based on irrelevant criteria, such as race, gender, or social class (Kathleen Daly and Michael Tonry 1997, p. 129). When the sentencing process is applied, disparity occurs when two people have similar offences yet each are sentenced differently or when different offenders receive the same sentence. It exists when two offenders who have identical criminal histories and each committed and are convicted of the same crime; however, the judge imposes a different sentence for each offender or when a judge imposes the same sentence for two offenders whose prior crimes and criminal records are completely different from each others. In contrast, discrimination sentencing exists when characteristics that are irrelevant to the defendant, such as skin color, or gender have an affect on the sentence that was imposed after all legal variables were taken into consideration. It exists when a Hispanic or an African American offender receive...