Us Justice Department & Racial Inequality

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U.S. Justice Department and Racial Inequality

Racial inequality in the criminal justice system is a belief that through research and statistics is a structural inequality that exists at different levels noted throughout the system stemming from those convicted and those convicting. According to literature published by the Leadership Conference, the nation’s premier civil and human right coalition, “racial inequality is growing, not receding. Our criminal laws, while facially neutral, are enforced in a manner that is massively and pervasively biased. The injustices of the criminal justice system threaten to render irrelevant fifty years of hard-fought civil rights progress” (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2011). In today’s society of crime and punishment, racial profiling plays a big role in the racial inequality amongst Blacks, Hispanics, and White non-Hispanics. In order to appreciate racial inequality in the U.S. Justice system, we must look at how racial profiling plays a role in racial inequality, the criminal prosecution, convictions, prison sentence and time served, as well as the criminal justice structure itself. Racial profiling can be summarized as targeting a person based on their race, religion, and ethnicity (ACLU: American Civil Rights Union, 2005). Statistics from 2004 retrieved from Prison Policy Initiave, show there is a larger amount of Black incarcerated than Hispanics and White non-Hispanics (Prison Policy Initiave, 2004). One might ask the question “Is this racial inequality?” In order to answer this question, we must also look at the crimes committed as well as demographics involved. According to an article written by Christopher Reinhart, the state with the highest violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants was the District of Columbia (Reinhart, 2008). Violent crimes are described as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault (Reinhart, 2008). The census in 2008 revealed that there were 74.3% of people between the ages of 18-65 nationally with 49.1% being male. This census also revealed, White, non-Hispanic accounted for 75.1% of the population, Blacks at 12.3%, and Hispanics at 12.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). As stated in an article published in ScienceDaily in 2010, “the strongest factors explaining the racial gap in murder arrests were divorce, unemployment and level of drug-use in the community. Racial integration was not strongly associated with a reduction in the racial gap” (University of Maryland, 2010). To make a connection with lifestyle and crime, we must appreciate the lack of education, resources, financial stability, and amount of availability to drugs within the communities most affected by crime. Drug possession in the form of dealing has been noted as the highest crime committed by Black males. In the article, “The Truth About Black Crime”, Jones explains that while the Black male population as a whole is more likely to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted, Jones also looks at the crime committed. The majority of Black males arrested, prosecuted, and convicted is due to drugs (Jones, 2010). According to “Race and the Drug War” the higher accountancies of African Americans being arrested and convicted on drug charges are due to low income situations and racial profiling. (Race and the drug war). The effects of the conviction and arrest have also been attributed to the high account of repeat offenders as well as family involvement, for example, children following in their parents footsteps. In comparison, Hispanic males, according to J.J. Hensley, are the majority race in prison in Maricopa County (Hensley, 2009). This is likely due to the increase in laws governing illegal immigrants. According to Hensley, there has not been an increase in crime, there has been an increased in enforcement. Once arrested, usually not on immigrant charges, the illegal immigrant can no longer be released on bail, thus causing an increase in...
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