Perceived Fairness of the Legal System and Support for the Death ...

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Perceived Fairness of the Legal System and Support for the Death Penalty Based Upon Race

By | November 2012
Page 1 of 6
Perceived Fairness of the Legal System and
Support for the Death Penalty Based Upon Race
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Perceived Fairness of the Legal System and Support for the Death Penalty Based Upon Race

Controversy between whether the legal system is perceived as unfair towards people because of their racial background is one issue that can’t possibly be resolved. However, studies have been done in the past to determine how people of different racial backgrounds themselves, perceive the fairness of the system. A number of studies have examined many similar factors of the legal system (e.g., the death penalty, police use of force, police power etc.), and tried to find relationships between those relative kinds of variables. Although most of the prior studies typically focus on Caucasian and African American beliefs, there has not been much on Hispanic beliefs when they are in particular the largest minority group in the United States (Lee, 2007). This research was designed to understand the beliefs in the perceived fairness of the legal system not only for the Caucasians and African Americans, but for the Hispanics as well. However, the question studied was whether there was a relationship between the beliefs regarding the fairness of the legal system and support for the death penalty based upon each racial group.

Past research has a respectable amount of evidence that expands along the same lines of this research question. One literature review written by Shaheen Halim and Beverly Stiles (2001), examines the effects of race, gender, and geographical region on support for many legal system policies. One of the main theories within this study was that not all racial groups in society positively approve criminal justice policies and practices to which they see themselves being disproportionately subject. The authors believed that because law and its enforcement reflect the interests of the powerful, law enforcement is unreasonably...