Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice - Research Paper Example

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Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Name Institution Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System It is undeniable that America is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse countries in the world and while major strides have been made in terms of ensuring that equality for all its citizens prevails there still is a great deal that needs to be done…
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Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice
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Download file to see previous pages Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is a situation in which the numbers of individuals from an ethnic group or race under the control of the criminal justice system is disproportionately greater than their numbers in the rest of the population. Such a situation casts a bad light and suspicion upon the criminal justice system and as a result calls for intervention and study. Through reviewing literature from the turn of this millennium this study will demonstrate the presence and extent of racial disparity currently within the criminal justice system stages. This will involve a review of the statistics of the situation, causes of this racial disparity, its impacts and possible interventions. Racial disparity within the criminal justice system will then be discussed in terms of ethics and how it transgresses the principals and foundations on which America was built. The Statistics The figures available on this issue paint a grim picture of the situation indicating that the racial disparity is as a result of cumulative decisions made in the criminal justice system. While African Americans make up only 12.7% of the US population they contribute 48.2% of all adults in the American jails. Interestingly, while Whites contribute 72% of all drug abusers and African Americans only 15%, the latter are arrested more for drug abuse. Latinos make up 18.6% of the population in prisons and 22.5% of all arrested drug abusers when they are only 11.1% of the entire population. 4% of all American Indian adults are under control of the criminal justice system which is more than twice the Whites while considering the considerably small numbers of American Indians today. 42.5% of all prisoners awaiting capital punishment are African American which translates to over thrice their national population. As of 2003, the rate of imprisonment per 100,000 for every race was 2,526 for African Americans, 997 for Latinos, 709 for American Indians and only 376 for Whites. The chances that an African American person will be incarcerated at one point in their lifetime is 32%, 17% for Latinos and 6% for Whites which translates to 1 in every 3 African Americans, 1 in every 6 Latinos and 1 in every 17 Whites. The emerging trends in drug crime indicate that colored women are the highest growing proportion in jails (Coker, 2003; Pager et al, 2009). Nearly 10% of young African American men (24-29 years) were in jails while 25% of African Americans aged 18-34 were under the criminal justice system compared to 6% whites in the same age brackets at the turn of the millennium. When compared to other criminal justice systems around the world, the rate of African American imprisonment can only be termed as astronomical by world standards (Pager, et al., 2009). Breaking the figures down according to stages of the criminal justice system reveals that there is racial and ethnic disparity during arrests. Minority drivers are stopped and searched for contraband at higher rates. 5.2% of African Americans and 4.2% Latinos are stopped by police when driving as compared to 2.6% of Whites. Law enforcement officers are more likely to conduct a search on a vehicle with African Americans as occupants (15.9%) and Latinos (14.2%) than Whites (7.9%). 75.7% of African Americans and 79.4% of Hispanics are likely to be given tickets when stopped compared to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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