Racial Disparities in the U.S. Judicial System
Racial Disparities in the U.S. Judicial System The United States has the largest documented incarceration rate in the world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics at yearend 2012, approximately 6,937,600 offenders were under the supervision of adult correctional systems (2013). Of this number, more than 60% of the inmates in prison are minorities however; they make up only 37% of the United States population. Considering the trends in which minorities commit crimes, such broad statistics conceal that racial disparities pervade each stage of the U.S. judicial system, from arrest to trial and sentencing. The first stage of the judicial system is the arrest made by an officer. Police are given an incredible amount of discretion to use that leads to bias and racial profiling. According to Paul Bou-Habib in his article “Racial Profiling and Background Injustice”, he states, “The main reason in favor of using racial profiling in the context of criminal investigation is that I can increase the chance of catching criminals” (para. 2). A key factor in the imbalance of the arrests on minorities in comparison to whites is that they commit more crimes at higher rates. In the article, “The Correlates of Law Enforcement Officers’ Automatic and Controlled-Race Based Responses to Criminal Suspects” by B. Michelle Peruche & E. Ashby Plant (2006) suggests that: Such responses may be influenced by stereotypic expectations. For example, it is possible that Black men are more likely to be violent and hostile may create expectations that Black people, particularly Black men, are more likely to be violent criminals than White people. (para. 1)
Violent crimes consist of murder, rape and sexual assault, robbery, and assault. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in The United States shows “In 2011, 69.2 percent of all individuals arrested for violent crimes were white, 28.4 percent were black, and 2.4 percent were of other races” (2011). So how can one
References: Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2007). Census of Public Defender Offices, 2007. Retrieved from: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pdo07st.pdf
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2008). Traffic Stops. Retrieved from: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=702
Dunlap E, Johnson BD
NYCLU. (2013, August 12). Stop and Frisk Data. Retrieved March 5th, 2014, from New York Civil Liberties Union: http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data
Small, D. (2001). The War on Drugs Is a War on Racial Justice. Social Research, 68(3), 896-903. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
The Sentencing Project
Welch, R., & Angulo, C. (2002). Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System. In D. Piche, W. Taylor, & R. Reed, Rights at Risk: Equality in an Age of Terrorism (pp. 185-218). Washington D.C,: Citizens Commission on Civil Rights.