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Criminal records are one of the major areas of concern when it comes to prosecuting offenders. Researchers have found out that minority groups are racially disadvantaged, when it comes to giving them sentences as per their criminal records. The blacks face a higher rate of incarceration, if they had been previously arrested, than their white counterparts with a criminal records history (Alexander, 2013). Worse still is that the youth is more likely to face harsher and prolonged sentences, as compared to the white criminals, who have a history of committing crimes. Many would be quick to point out that indeed such a criminal justice system is unfair and racially biased.
It could be fairly argued out that low-income individual are most likely to commit crimes. Minority groups form the highest percentage of people living in poverty in the country. However, their economic status can be attributed to the unequal distribution of resources from the national budget. Such minority groups, such as blacks and Latinos, are overpopulated in the areas with the inadequate access to the crucial social amenities, such as hospitals, schools, and employment providers (Crank, 2014). Juveniles from such communities develop antisocial behavior from an early age; thus, get into drug abuse and crime at an early age. The justice system, therefore, experiences more arrests in such lowly favored communities; and with the lack of even adequate rehabilitation facilities, crime levels are not curbed (Gibson & Cavadino, 2008).
Research studies have declared that minority groups are rarely the culprits of crimes. What makes their numbers staggering in reporting crimes is the unfair targeting of minority groups and unequal treatment everywhere along the criminal justice system. Minority groups are viewed with more suspicion due to their color or accent (Pager, 2008). Take, for example, police stops. Police stops have sparked a huge outcry from the activists group due to the claim that blacks and Latinos face higher chances of being stopped by police than whites. What is worse is that after being stopped, blacks and Latinos face over 75% likelihood of being frisked, while whites are only 8% likely to be frisked. It is not fair to judge someone by the color of their skin. It degrades a person’s humanity, as well as infringes on his or her rights to live free from discrimination.
It is sad to learn that many black offenders face harsh punishment in the quickened court proceedings that do not last even 7 minutes. Black offenders also face all-white juries in courts that are poorly maintained in that they are rats and cockroach-infested and its walls are decorated with racist graffiti. This just shows how little attention the criminal justice system gives to treating racial minority groups in a fair way (Pager, 2008).
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Inside the courts racial discrimination is equally evident. Most African Americans avoid exercising their constitutional rights by bargaining for a plea. This is because most are afraid of the fact that bargaining for a plea would only lead to them receiving longer sentences, as reported by the American Bar Association (Adler & Laufer, 2012). Therefore, many African American suspects rarely face trials. Colored criminals are also less likely to get public defenders, a sorry state that leads to most suspects pleading guilty although actually being innocent.
In 2010, reports by the U. S. Sentencing Commission showed that the average sentences for black offenders were more than 8% longer, as compared to those of the white offenders of the same crime. African Americans also faced a 20% higher likelihood of receiving sentences for the drug-related activities than white drug offenders (Braswell, McCarthy & McCarthy, 2010). In the United States, taking New York City as an example, most of the criminals on life sentences are reported to be non-white. The United States has the highest number of prisoners of all developed countries and to make matters worse, non-whites account for the largest percentage of inmates. With such astonishing facts being documented and proved, it becomes demoralizing for any black or other minority group male or female living in the U. S. The non-whites just live in fear of victimization by the police and there is no one to protect their rights.
Several recommendations should be considered in order to uphold ethical treatment of the citizens by the criminal justice system. Everyone deserves an equal chance to be heard in or out of a court of law. With legislation emphasizing on the rights of all individuals, it is crucial that the criminal justice department understands the severity of racially discriminating suspects. The police should do their best to completely stop racially profiling non-whites. Stopping drivers along the roads, as well as frisking members of the public should be done with an utter respect for the rights of the individuals (Adler & Laufer, 2012).
Minority groups’ representatives should be well-informed of the enforcement tactics in use, so that they comply with police officers accordingly. This will enable them to provide better counseling services to the criminal members of the community or even the innocent ones to avoid surges in numbers of criminals. Courts need to fairly represent non-whites and also offer fair chances of trial to minority suspects (Braswell, McCarthy & McCarthy, 2010). In addition, the government expenditures should be fairly distributed in order to encourage growth of the minority communities. Non-white communities live in deplorable conditions; therefore, improving their livelihoods should be a priority, if levels of crimes were to be lowered.
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