Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

How Racism Affects the Criminal Justice in the United States

Racism is the belief that people from some races are inferior to others. It also refers to aspects of society that prevent some people belonging to a particular race from having the same privileges and opportunities as other races. Racism is castigated by cultural, historical, religious, economic, and demographic reasons. Although racism is highly condemned, it is practiced in most countries worldwide. The United States is not an exception regarding the issue of racism, as it is believed throughout American history. White Americans have enjoyed legal and social rights and privileges that have been denied to members of different ethnic in matters such as education, voting rights, immigration, citizenship, and the legal structure. Racism has dramatically affected and caused injustices in the criminal justice system in how criminals are arrested, in detention, penalty, and sentencing.

The police stop blacks and Latinos at a higher rate than whites. They are also likely to be more frisked than other states’ races. In 2016, black Americans comprised 27% of all individuals arrested in the United States – double their share of the total population (Del Toro et al. 8264). This is due to the perception of poverty among the Africans Americans racial group. This accounts for this racial group committing crimes such as stealing.

Nevertheless, while there is a high rate of this group committing such crimes, white Americans and the criminal justice system overestimate the proportion of crimes for Africa Americans. Also, the number of people arrested for drug law violations in 2015 was high among African Americans, yet the crime is committed equally across the different races in the United States. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 going to jail is 32%, while for a Latino, it is 17%, and for white males 6%. This is a devastating statistic.

Once arrested, 80% of the criminal justice system gets a public defender for their lawyer. Race plays a significant role here, as seen in other legal justice processes. The plan pays less for black defenders despite much work in the prosecution (Phan et al. 80). As a result of undermining defendants, they plead guilty even when innocent without knowing their legal rights. This is justice denied. Racism has been practiced in prisons and detention centers. In America, black prisoners have been discriminated against on every issue, whether religion, privacy, visiting hours, or clothing regulations. Those who resist their lives are made worse in prison. In a worse situation, black prisoners are denied access to basic needs as opposed to their white counterparts.

There is inequality in the way penalties are enforced on lawbreakers. For instance, fines are not charged based on the status of someone’s wealth or financial capabilities but based on one’s race. In this case, black law offenders are slapped with substantial penalty charges compared to their white counterparts, regardless of having committed the same degree of the offense. Each race maintains itself separately in prison, with clear lines of division. Cells are also assigned according to race with tags such as ‘black,’ ‘white,’ and Asian.’ This exposes them to different treatments as blacks are treated harshly compared to other races. The correctional facilities are rife with inequitable terms of detention, more extended incarceration, and poor prison conditions and treatments according to racial profiling.

The racial dynamics in sentencing have changed over time in the United States (Smith et al. 530). Prosecutorial and judicial discretion contribute to racial disparities in sentencing through various mechanisms, from initial charge decisions to departures from sentencing guidelines. Research shows that federal prosecutors file charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences 65% more often against black defendants than against white defendants, all conditions being the same. Also, trials are rare; only 3 to 5% of the cases go through a problem, while the others are plea-bargained. Most African American defendants never get a trial. Key evidence shows racial discrimination against minority defendants in sentencing, and blacks are more likely to be disadvantaged in sentence length. In addition, young black and Latino males are severely sentenced compared to white males. The blacks and Latinos are condemned to more extended periods convicted before judgment and denied the right to an equal and fair review. In conclusion, the non-whites suffer more in sentencing, including life sentences.

In addition, racism has led to more African American juveniles, with 28% of juvenile arrests. It continues even after prison as white job applicants with criminal records are accorded jobs. In contrast, a few black job applicants with criminal records get such opportunities (Castro and Erin 17). Children’s rights have witnessed the damage that racism has done to black children and their families instead of playing its protective role against such discrimination. Black children are also separated from their families and placed in foster care at a higher rate than white children. This exposes them to trauma and child abuse.

However, despite these vice of racism rampant in the criminal justice system, we cannot despise the roles that it has played in the legal field. The existence of any society relies on citizens to define what behaviors are acceptable. Failure to adhere to societal norms is bound to bear consequences such as being imprisoned. The criminal justice system has therefore played the role of maintaining law and order (Neubauer et al. 22). Convicting criminals regardless of their race helps promote peace and security; hence people can exist in harmony. Its goal is to provide peaceful jurisdiction and offer criminals correctional services. It also provides job opportunities to legal officers despite their race.

In conclusion, the criminal justice system is seriously racist. From social to legal discrimination, it is not by coincidence that racism has to happen based on religious beliefs and economic and demographic reasons. Unfortunately, Poor whites and other ethnic groups have to endure cruel treatment such as forceful arrests, detention without a fair trial, and other legal discriminations. A radical approach should therefore be used in America’s criminal justice system to determine and deal with the root problem. Every individual is entitled to safety which cannot be enjoyed under the such criminal justice system.

Work Cited

Irwin-Rogers, Keir. “Racism and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system: Exploring the experiences and views of men serving sentences of imprisonment.” Justice, Power and Resistance 2.2 2018: 243–266.

Neubauer, David W., and Henry F. Fradella. America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning, 2018.

Rucker, Julian M., and Jennifer A. Richeson. “Toward an understanding of structural racism: Implications for criminal justice.” Science 374.6565 (2021): 286-290.

Rucker, Julian, Ajua Duker, and Jennifer Richeson. “Structurally unjust: How lay beliefs about racism relate to perceptions of and responses to racial inequality in criminal justice.” (2019).

Tallent, Desireé, Stephanie Anne Shelton, and Sara McDaniel. “It was My fault”: examining white supremacy and internalized racism through detained US Black youths’ narratives and counternarratives.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 2021: 1–19.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics