Racial Disparity in Sentencing

Topics: United States, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Police Pages: 5 (1259 words) Published: April 29, 2012
Racial Disparity in Sentencing

Racial Disparity in Sentencing
Racial disparity within criminal sentencing is a negative aspect supported within the American criminal justice system. Racial disparity is an ongoing epidemic that spans from law enforcement officers to state and Federal justices. Racial disparity within criminal sentencing will be identified, dissected, and thoroughly examined. The negative effects of racial disparity, racial profiling, and supported biases will also be highlighted.

Identifying Supported Biases within the Criminal Justice System
“Racial bias by the police includes such things as racial profiling of motorists, racial prejudice among police officers, and discriminatory treatment of minority individuals and minority neighborhoods” (Weitzer, 2005, p. 1009+). A negative aspect in correlation to the mistreatment of minorities within American society is the domino effect that fallows the majority of individuals after he or she is taken into custody. Racial disparity and supported biases projected toward minority offenders is common within the criminal court system. Based on the race, color, or creed of the offender the level of sentencing fallows a more stringent basis than sentencing terms for an individual who is Caucasian throughout Northern America.

Targeting Minority Groups: Sentencing Structure
“Racial profiling is common on the nation's highways and streets and in its airports. State troopers and local police routinely harass and occasionally assault black and Latino drivers and male residents of inner-city neighborhoods” (Kaminer, 1999, P. 20). A small portion of Federal, state, and municipal law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and justices support biases projected toward minority citizens. Unfortunately, within the majority of jurisdictions throughout America suspected minority suspects are perceived as guilty before the individuals are detained for committing a criminal infraction. The war on drug initiatives are a prime example highlighting sentencing biases projected toward minority offenders. “Racial profiling was designed to catch drug offenders, and mandatory minimums were designed to punish them. Popular opposition to illicit drugs has always been fueled in part by racism”(Kaminer, 1999, P. 20). Collectively, each jurisdiction maintains a set standard supported by the local law enforcement agencies, prosecution offices, and prevailing justices within the jurisdictions; although one may indentify racist or biased agendas within the jurisdictions daily.

Caucasian American, African American, Hispanic American: Sentencing Biases
“Progressives have long held that if these figures were reversed--if middle-class whites were targeted by police and prosecutors and incarcerated in such grossly disproportionate numbers--the public would revolt” (Kaminer, 1999, P. 20). The progressive perspective is astonishing supporting the fact that “African Americans constitute 12 percent of our general population, they represent more than 50 percent of our prison population” (Kaminer, 1999, P. 20). The Hispanic population has steadily grown within America; as a corollary racially based agenda targeting illegal immigrants have led to targeting guidelines on Hispanic Americans as well. The current controversy involving racially driven laws passed within the state of Arizona allow law enforcement officers to stop minorities of Hispanic origins to verify residency;, thus supporting the pre-biased harassment of any individual fitting a Hispanic description. Collectively, arrest statistics, prosecution statistics, and incarceration statistics highlight an extremely unsettling outcome. Caucasian Americans are far less likely to encounter racially driven biases projected toward the majority of minority citizens within Northern...

References: Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2010). FBI: Uniform Crime Report: National Arrests by Race, 2010 Table 43. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from FBI-CISU Home: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/table-67/10tbl67a.xls

Hoopes, Jennifer, Tara Lai Quinlan, and Deborah A. Ramirez. "Defining racial profiling in a post-September 11 world." American Criminal Law Review Summer 2003: 1195+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 15 Dec. 2011.

Tuch, Steven A., and Ronald Weitzer. "Racially biased policing: determinants of citizen perceptions *." Social Forces 83.3 (2005): 1009+. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, rEsource Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2011.
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