Is the Criminal Justice System Bias?

Topics: Police, Crime, Criminal justice Pages: 6 (2176 words) Published: January 9, 2013
Criminal Justice Theories
Jason Shockley
Is the Criminal Justice System Bias

By: David Atkins

This paper will ask several questions and hopefully answer most of those questions. Questions like is the criminal justice system bias against the poor and is the criminal justice system bias against minorities. We then explore some of the possible solutions to the problems that could cause biases. We then look at a study done on several communities where relations between police and the public had repaired their relationship.

It’s easy to understand why people see the criminal justice system as biased. Our of all of our states prisoners forty percent can not even read; and sixty-seven percent did not have full-time employment when they were arrested. So there are more uneducated people in prison then there are educated people. This seems like then that our system of criminal justice is operated on an unequal system against poor or uneducated people. However, one of the problems we run into when we try to compare the wealthy lawbreakers to poor lawbreakers is the wide difference between the amount of wealthy people and poor people we have in our population. “In 1989, the wealthiest one percent of United States households owned nearly forty percent of the nation’s wealth. The wealthiest twenty percent owned more than eighty percent of the nation’s wealth. That leaves precious little for the rest” (Cole, 2000). This isn’t just true with adults, but with children and teenagers too. The number of poor/under-funded schools in America far outweighs the number of wealthy schools in America. That’s probably the main reason our system appears to be unfair against the poor. The reason that any pole or nation wide research will be bias against the poor or lower class is because there is a much larger poor/lower class population than a wealthy/high class population. Most American’s will probably not want to believe that our criminal justice system is not operated on equality. After all our nations Supreme Court even has the saying “Equal Justice Under Law” written above the entranceway. There are several very famous Supreme Court’s decisions that uphold equality for the poor. In Gideon v. Wainwright they made it a law that the state must provide a lawyer to all defendants who have been charged with a serious crime and cannot afford a lawyer. In Miranda v. Arizona the Supreme Court decided that police must provide all suspects with an attorney. These court decisions might be a little misleading since both were decided during the time of Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was strongly liberal and very supportive of economic equality. Since then the principles of equality from both decisions for Gideon v. Wainwright and Miranda v. Arizona have been cheated and twisted so that neither decisions are upheld to the full extent that they were intended (Cole, 2000). That’s enough bashing our court system. There are actually many things that police officers do witch can be biased. For example the Fourth Amendment says that we have a right against unlawful searches and seizures. However, police officers all the time and request their consent to search them or their belongings (without ever having any basis for suspicion) without ever informing them of their right to refuse the search. This isn’t necessarily a bias against the poor but it makes sense to me that an officer would judge somebody on appearance. There is also the means of transportation we have to consider if law enforcement is bias to the poor. Say hypothetically some wealthy person is traveling across the country to a birthday party. How are they going to travel? Most wealthy people would probably travel across country like that by means of flying. While flying, people do not come in contact with that many police officers nor are they in many positions where they would normally break the law. However,...
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