African Americans Are at an Increased Risk for Undergoing Some Disciplinary Action Within the Legal System Than Any Other Group in the United States

Topics: African American, Criminal justice, Black people Pages: 6 (1775 words) Published: April 17, 2013

African Americans are at an increased risk for undergoing some disciplinary action within the legal system than any other group in the United States. (

One of the primary phenomenon that indicate the high risk of experiencing disciplinary practices among African American minority groups in the country is their over-representation in American prison system.

According to bureau of statistics for the US department of justice (2007), the number of inmates in federal and state prisons increased to more than 1.5 million between 2005 and 2006 (U.S Department of Justice 2007). (Is this a Quote? There are not Quotation marks?) Out of this population, 35% were African-Americans, despite the fact that they represented only about 12.4% of the nation’s total population. According to the national council on crime and delinquency (2009), African Americans make up 28% of all arrests made in the country, 40% of the inmates and about 42% of the population of prisoners on death row (U.S Department of Justice 2007). (Again are these quotes?) This is in contrast with the whites who make up around 68% of the total population, and a surprising 71% of the total arrests (U.S Department of Justice 2007). Yet, whites make up only about 40% of the population of inmates in federal and local prisons and around 55% of the population of inmates on death row. These facts clearly indicate an over-representation of the African American people in the US prison system. Some of the reasons that drive this phenomenon include discrimination in the American justice system, the education system and the effect of stereotypic nature of the police, the judicial system and the society in general that holds on to the belief that African Americans, especially males, are more likely to commit some felony than any other group in the US. These issues are present in the UK prison and judicial systems, where some minority groups such as the Blacks and Asians suffer the risk of experiencing some disciplinary practices more than do the whites. The discriminatory justice and security system in the US are some social problems that allow one to reflect on the ways in which criminal justice problems and policies are developed and conceived in the UK.

What factors best explains the over-representation of African Americans in the US prison system?

Racial bias and stereotype based on racial disparities are quite evident in the American criminal justice system. According to Elliot (1994), research-based evidence suggest that criminal behavior behaviour cuts across race and class lines, but social response to criminal behaviorsbehaviours has a significant influence on the pattern of the potential criminal career. Racial bias in American criminal justice system is deeply rooted within the history of racism in the country. In fact, Elliot points out that criminal justice system has been the focal point of much of the nation’s social racism over decades. The long legacy left by bias practices such as extra-judicial lynching, convict leasing system and police brutality have all shaped the history of the African American people and the criminal justice system.

(Although many changes in the last forty years have occurred within the system and decreased the level of brutality, racism and racial discriminations, racial disproportions are still evident, as indicated by the over-representation of the black people in the population of inmates and those on death row.

Racial disparities in the American society, bias and stereotype are important factors that explaining the over-representation of the black people in the American prisons. Racial disparity and bias cut across all aspects of the society, including the education, criminal justice and social system, where the minority groups such as the Blacks and Hispanics bear the largest burden of discrimination.

When Considerconsidering the racial disparities and bias in the Americans education system. Evidently,...

References: Brown, T. M. 2007. “Lost and turned out: Academic, social, and emotional experiences of students excluded from school”. Urban Education, 42(5): 432-455.
Darensbourg, A., Perez, E., & Blake, J. J. 2010. “Over-representation of African American males in exclusionary discipline: The role of school-based mental health professionals in dismantling the school to prison pipeline”. Journal of African American males in education, 1(3).
Day-Vines, N. L., & Day-Hairston, B. O. 2005. “Culturally Congruent Strategies for Addressing the Behavioral Needs of Urban, African American Male Adolescents”. Professional School Counseling, 8(3): 236-243.
Elliot, D. S. 2003. “Serious violent offenders: Onset, developmental course and termination”. Criminology 32(1): 1-21.
Equality and Human Rights Commission. 2008. ‘How Fair is Britain?’ London, UK: EHRC.
National council of crime and delinquency. 2009. ‘Created equal: racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system’. Oakland, CA: NCCD.
Skiba, R., et al. 2006. “Are zero tolerance policies effective in the schools? An evidentiary review and recommendations”. American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force.
Zeiderberg, J., & Schiraldi, V. 2002. ‘Cellblocks or classrooms? The funding of their education and corrections and its impact on African American men’. Washington, DC.
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