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Crime And Society Essay

2294 words - 10 pages

America has become one of the most diverse and wealthiest countries in the world. Although the United States is wealthy, not all individuals have benefited from that wealth. Throughout society, African American communities have become marginalized, with areas of poverty, high crime rates, discrimination and few opportunities for advancement. These areas are often locations where racial and cultural minorities live. Racial disparities exist within the criminal justice system and have shown many problems of inequality between the white and black race. In addition to having inequality within the criminal justice system, the criminals also have impacted their family members in different ways due ...view middle of the document...

After the Civil War, ended Abraham Lincoln created the Emancipation Proclamation which stated, "all persons held as slaves within any states...shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." In the United States Constitution, the 13th Amendment was also created, which abolished slavery and stated and that all persons regardless of race, a right to equal protection. Regardless of the law stating that people should share in freedom equally, African Americans were still discriminated against. One of the outcomes of discrimination was that the Jim Crow laws were passed in many states. One form of discrimination was that African Americans were unable to vote or to enter into contracts. The Jim Crow laws said that the whites and blacks were separate but equal, but this never worked well for the blacks. The laws were enforced until the mid 1900s and African Americans were subjected to physical assaults, such as lynching, if they were not act subservient enough. "About 3,000 African Americans were lynched between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s (Smith 2000: 75), and those who performed in the lynching were not always prosecuted, even though their actions were known (Banks, 2008).

During the 20th century, African Americans gained more legal rights, and had more protection by the courts. The 1954 court case of "Brown v. Board of Education" was a turning point, and the Supreme Court ended "separate but equal", because it was not working. Today, in the 21st century, the black community is still discriminated against, and inequality is seen within society, based on their skin color, but the discrimination has become more subtle. African Americans have fewer opportunities for advancement, because they are portrayed as less reliable and more likely to commit crimes. Lastly, they are stereotyped by the media as having a lack of education and social skills.
In the United States there are more racial and ethnic minorities imprisoned within the criminal justice system than there are whites. To determine whether or not there is racial discrimination within the court system, researchers had to gather information about incarceration rates among the white and black populations. One researcher said that there is racial disparity and discrimination in the criminal justice system, whereas another one stated the crime rates are abut the same. Researcher Alexander provides ample evidence that there is racial discrimination in the criminal justices system. "One in three African American men is currently under the control of the criminal justice system - in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole..." (Alexander, 2010). Another researcher, Petersilia (1983), strongly believes there is racial discrimination within the criminal justice court system as well. One example would be "...although the case processing system generally treated offenders similarly...we found racial differences at two key points: minority suspects were more likely than whites to be released...

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