Philosophy of Criminal Justice System

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Philosophy of Criminal Justice System

By | April 2012
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Do you know someone that is currently or has been in prison? Was it your father, brother, cousin, uncle? According to the reality that we face daily, it could have justly been them all. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and when broken down in respect to African American race, one out of every eleven people is behind bars (US Bureau of Justice, 2009). Year after year, we witness that more African American men, compared to other races, are imprisoned. For what you may ask? And simply answered for being a black man in America. The concepts of discrimination, racism, and most importantly oppression that many leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X sought to eliminate in our country have no longer been used with segregated restaurants and water fountains but instead have manifested through mass incarceration of our African American men. The criminal justice system was created to direct and uphold social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts (Patillo, 2006). The original purpose seems as though it has been set off by other ulterior motives, as prisons are described to “warehouse young African American men”(Alexander, 2010). Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, argues that the criminal justice is just another way to further stifle the black community from reaching its full potential as a people. She describes the criminal justice system as the disposal of African American men who are no longer needed for the advancement of the economy and a means to permanently put African American men in the lowest social class possible: criminals. “The fact that more than half of the young black men in any large American city are currently under the control of the criminal justice system (or saddled with criminal records) is not – as many argue – just a symptom of poverty or poor...

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