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America is comprised of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds especially as a result of slavery and massive European immigration. The races consist of the Native Americans, whites, Hispanics, Latinos and African Americans. …
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Download file to see previous pages The Latinos are of Spanish origin and are immigrants while the African Americans originated from slavery. As a result of the mixed races, there are a lot of allegations of racism in all aspects of the lives of the Americans. Racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is therefore apparent and has been blamed for the rising number of young black males in prison and jails as compared to their white counterparts. For example, by 2002 10.4% of black males ages 25-29 were in prison and more than one in every four black men are expected to be incarcerated in state or federal prison at some point in their life time (Rennison, 2003). The same report indicates that 45% of all inmates at the end of 2002 were black, 34% white and 18% Hispanic. According to Bonczar & Allen (1997), the likelihood of incarceration is related to race. The likelihood is higher for African Americans with 16.2% compared to the whites whose likelihood is 2.5%. This shows the extent of discrimination that exists in the American judicial system. However, it is difficult to proof the existence of racial discrimination as it may occur during police arrests or during judicial process. There are also various factors that determine who is involved in crime which affects the rate of crime for different racial and ethnic groups. Some may get involved in crime for personal gains and to reduce pain caused by inequalities and other factors, some engage in crime due to sociological, psychological and biological factors, substance abuse among others hence commit different offenses which are dealt with differently depending on severity of harm caused. However, since the colonial times during slavery, the blacks tend to be given stiffer penalties as compared to the whites due to laws in place such as Jim crow laws and laws to curb war on drugs which prescribe severe punishment for the blacks who are involved in crack drugs rather that powder drugs which are specialty of the whites (Siegel, 2009). The paper will explore the reasons why black men age 25-29 are so much likely in jail as compared to people of white or Latino descent. Factors Associated with who Gets Involved in Crime There are many theories that try to explain why people engage in criminal behavior and the kind of punishment they deserve for such acts. The strain theory indicates that people engage in crime to reduce or run away from stressful situations (Banks, 2004). The black people are associated with low socio- economic status; their standards of living are poor, lack employment, low income and poverty and lack social status or respect from the middle class and the rich whites. As a result, the black people especially the young who are unemployed engage in criminal behavior such as violence, assault, and robbery to ascertain their position in society. This helps them to accomplish their goal of gaining respect. They also desire to be rich so as to be equal with their white counterparts hence engage in crime. The young black men are also prone to childhood neglect and abuse hence turn to crime to cope with stressful situations. For example, they can engage in violent behavior to avert anger. The classical theorists on the other hand argue that people engage in criminal acts at free will. According to Siegel (2009), individuals are rational and always act to maximize pleasure and reduce pain. If the suspects perceive that the gains from crime are more than the cost or punishment, they would act rationally and hence commit crime. The black young men have more to gain from crime than their fellow whites. Due to racial disparities, the blacks are considered inferior and unintelligent hence lack respect from the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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