Criminal Justice 205
Research on police and prosecutors reveals that uniformly they disagree that discrimination occurs in their agency and office. What then explains the disproportionate minority contact that occurs and the disparate treatment within the prosecutor’s office?
Although police and prosecutors may contend that discrimination does not occur within their agency but that does not mean discrimination doesn’t occur. The facts show that minorities are targeted much more than whites. There are many factors that contribute to this. I don’t believe it is any one agency that specifically targets minorities but rather the criminal justice system as a whole. The interplay between the media, the criminal justice system, and the public has a huge influence on discrimination within the system. Another big factor in the disproportionate minority contact is the fact that the poor, troubled inner cities are filled with mostly minorities. The culture within these poor neighborhoods perpetuates a crime mentality that becomes an easy target for the criminal justice system. I argue that the discrimination doesn’t come from a racial bias but rather from the criminal culture created in poor areas.
The media has a lot of power over the criminal justice system. The media’s ability to change public perception is a key element in the discrimination we see in the police and prosecutors agencies. As the media plays up an issue the general public responds with fear. This in turn puts pressure on police to crack down on the issue. The police widen the net and arrest more offenders for lesser crimes. This makes it appear that crime goes up due to the increased number of arrests. The media communicates this to the public and people become even more concerned. This causes legislators to make changes in the laws such as mandatory minimums. We are all exposed to the discrimination portrayed in the media. Most people describe...