Racial Inequalities In The Justice System

1754 words - 7 pages

Many inequalities exist within the justice system that need to be brought to light and addressed. Statistics show that African American men are arrested more often than females and people of other races. There are some measures that can and need to be taken to reduce the racial disparity in the justice system.
Racial disparity in the criminal justice system exists when the proportion of a racial or ethnic group within the control system is higher than the proportion of the group in the general population. The cause of this disparity varies and can include differences in the levels of criminal activity, law enforcements emphasis on particular communities, legislative policies, and/or decision making by one or more persons at some level in the criminal justice system.
According to statistics since the early 1970’s there has been a 500% increase in the number of people being incarcerated with an average total of 2.2 million people behind bars. The increase in rate of people being incarcerated has also brought about an increasingly disproportionate racial composition. The jails and prisons have a high rate of African Americans incarcerated with an average of 900,000 out of the 2.2 million incarcerateed being African American. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 1 in 6 African American males has been incarcerated at some point in time as of the year 2001. In theory if this trend continues it is estimated that about 1 in 3 black males being born can be expected to spend time in prison and some point in his life. One in nine African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 are currently incarcerated. Although the rate of imprisonment for women is considerably lower than males African American women are incarcerated at a higher rate than white females. African Americans are incarcerated nearly 6 times the rate of white people. The American prison and jail system has a very noticeable racial disparity in the population of incarcerated people. The national incarceration rate for whites is 412 per 100,000 residents, compared to 2,290 for African Americans, and 742 for Hispanics. These numbers mean that 2.3% of all African Americans are incarcerated, compared to 0.4% of whites and 0.7% of Hispanics.
The National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP) collects felony conviction data from a 300-county sample that represents the nation as a whole. The NJRP database includes ethnicity, but due to data inconsistencies due to many facilities including Hispanics in the white population only conviction information for Whites
and African Americans are reported here. In 2004 almost 1.1 million adults were convicted of a felony in state courts. Out of the 1.1 million about the same percentage of Whites and African Americans were convicted of violent crimes. Out of these a higher percentage of Whites than African Americans were convicted of property crimes, while a higher
percentage of African Americans were convicted of drug...

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