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Racism in Criminal Justice System Essay

More than two-thirds of the surveyed African-Americans believe in the existence of racism in criminal justice system.

The problem of racism in criminal justice system is very pertinent nowadays. Experts point out at the cases of racism in the police, courts and jails. Many police officers and judges treat African-Americans and Latin-Americans as potential criminals. Many prisoners are innocent and their freedom is limited unfairly. Many families lose their breadwinners, fathers and sons without any legal reasons. It is important to cope with this problem once for all, because racism ruins the democratic foundation of this country.

Racism in criminal justice system is a very thought-provoking and vexed topic whereas it is impossible to prove its existence with the help of any arguments. There are two main public opinions about this problem. Some experts say that there is no racism in criminal justice system. Others try to persuade the public in the opposite point of view. In my opinion, both parties are right, as most often, the cases of racism in the system of criminal justice are accidental and unsystematic.

Many police officers, judges, lawyers, etc. say that there is no racism in the field of criminal justice or these cases are not systematic. The absolute number of the imprisoned people are real criminals despite their color of skin and ethnicity. The most logical explanation of the big number of non-white criminals is their social environment. In every big city, there are many unfavorable districts, which affect their citizens badly. Unluckily, African-American population is dominant there. Thereupon they are under the risk of committing crimes from their young age. When a child does not see anything positive around, he is likely to join a street gang or become involved into drug trafficking. To my mind, the problem is mostly connected with education and economic background than racism. Non-white people are the victims of the improper system of education and poor bringing up. Their chances of becoming successful and self-sufficient are limited by the existing system.

On the other hand, I would like to say that there are many cases of racism in criminal justice system. They are based on prejudices and subjective attitude towards non-white suspects and criminals. Undoubtedly, many police officers and judges have their own opinion about non-white suspects. Some of them make their decisions based on a suspect’s ethnicity and color of skin. The decisions do not depend just on the seriousness of the crime. There were cases when non-white and white criminals received different punishment for the same crime. Non-white criminals received stricter punishment. The cases of life sentence are more frequent among non-white criminals. Sad to say but non-white criminals are also more likely to be punished with death penalty. Moreover, this type of punishment is not always fair and adequate inasmuch as many innocent suspects lost their life. Their innocence was proved when the case was put into retrial. In conclusion, the police do not care about the profound investigation of the cases in which a non-white suspect is involved.

When we speak about racism in the system of criminal justice, we think about the carelessness of the police and the subjective attitude towards the non-white suspects from the side of judges. It is possible to find the examples of racism on the lowest stages of criminal justice system. For example, police officers often apply brutal force when they stop or arrest non-white suspects. White suspects are treated with respect or at least with the moderate physical force.

Ultimately, there is a separate branch of crimes referred to drug dealing. Non-white people are more likely to be suspected of committing a crime related with the sale of marijuana or crack-cocaine.

The problem of racism in criminal justice system is very disputable. On the one hand, the USA is a democratic state that provides all citizens with the equal rights, freedoms and duties. People of all colors of skin and ethnicity are supposed to be treated in the same way. On the other hand, there are still many cases of racial profiling and other cases of subjectively negative attitude towards a suspect based on the color of his/her skin.

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