Racial Discrimination Challenge

In the United States, a higher number of individuals are imprisoned than any other nation in the world. Studies reveal that vast racial disparities are prevalent throughout United States’ prisons. African-Americans are incarcerated six times more than white people, and they represent approximately 60 percent of prison population in the country. There is an overabundance of typecasts and mistaken standpoints that surround African-Americans. These stereotypes disseminate the certainty that African-Americans have higher chances of committing crimes, dealing with drugs, and being in possession of guns.[1] This paper will discuss the issue of racial discrimination challenge in American judicial perspectives.

 

The justice system in the United States has an established principle, which stipulates that respondents should be treated equally regardless of their race, as ordered by the “Equal Protection” clause of the constitution. Any discrepancy in sentencing provides evidence of the clause’s violation, making this a vital matter to consider on legal grounds. Also, determining whether or not a court of law treats the minority perpetrators differentially has significant social consequences, which could further intensify social inequities.[2] For instance, Cook County, Illinois is the leading integrated court system in the United States. It processes more than 2.4 million cases annually in both criminal and civil courts. The region is racially mixed, with a population that is 16 percent Hispanic, 26 percent Black-American, and 48 percent White. The courts in the state of Illinois are administered by sentencing procedures that offer recommended varieties of judgments based on the classification of a crime.[3]

Research data on felony cases obtained from Cook County state courts from 1995 to 2001 indicates considerable differences in rates of representation by race in the judicial system. Here, the racial breakdown in felony cases is 72 percent Black-American, 16 percent Hispanic and 12 percent White. This means that particular judges are highly likely to order sentences for individuals of a certain race. When judges are selected at random, the differences that prevail across them while passing judgment indicate that individuals of a certain race receive dissimilar treatments from various judges. This indicates the challenges facing the judicial system in America since Cook County is the leading integrated court system in the country.[4]

A higher number of imprisonments are carried out in the United States than any other nation in the world. Also, vast racial disparities are prevalent throughout the prisons in the country. African-Americans are highly incarcerated compared to the Whites. This is due to the various stereotypes that surround African-Americans, such as high rates of committing crimes, drug dealings and being in possession of guns. Therefore, though the “Equal Protection” clause aims at enhancing equality when delivering judgment, it is true that little is being done to alter inequality, making racial discrimination a persistent challenge in the American judicial system.

Bibliography

Walker, Samuel, Cassia Spohn and Miriam DeLone. The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America. New York: Cengage Learning, 2011.

Weitzer, Ronald. "Racial discrimination in the criminal justice system: Findings and problems in the literature." Journal of Criminal Justice 24, no. 4 (2006): 309-322.

Welch, Casey and John Fuller. "The Criminal Trial Process: Judges, Bench Trials, Jury Deliberation, and Sentencing." American Criminal Courts 1, no. 1 (2014): 340-374.


[1] Ronald Weitzer, "Racial discrimination in the criminal justice system: Findings and problems in the literature," Journal of Criminal Justice 24, no. 4 (2006): 311.

[2] Casey Welch and John Fuller, "The Criminal Trial Process: Judges, Bench Trials, Jury Deliberation, and Sentencing," American Criminal Courts 1, no. 1 (2014): 342.

[3] Samuel Walker, Cassia Spohn and Miriam DeLone, The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America (New York: Cengage Learning, 2011), 101.

[4] Samuel Walker, Cassia Spohn and Miriam DeLone, The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America (New York: Cengage Learning, 2011), 102.