Racial Disparities In The U.S. Judicial System

2911 words - 12 pages

Racial Disparities in the U.S. Judicial System
Melinda Sims
English Composition II
Instructor Brandon Bond
March 16th, 2014

Racial Disparities in the U.S. Judicial System
The United States has the largest documented incarceration rate in the world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics at yearend 2012, approximately 6,937,600 offenders were under the supervision of adult correctional systems (2013). Of this number, more than 60% of the inmates in prison are minorities however; they make up only 37% of the United States population. Considering the trends in which minorities commit crimes, such broad statistics conceal that racial disparities pervade each stage of the U.S. ...view middle of the document...

2 percent of all individuals arrested for violent crimes were white, 28.4 percent were black, and 2.4 percent were of other races” (2011). So how can one assume that minorities are more violent than whites are, they are obviously committing acts that are more violent. There are more minority inmates in prison with drug offenses not because they commit more offenses that are violent.
Hispanics in comparison to African Americans are also subjected to common misconceptions and stereotypes linked to them. Such as the false link between immigrants and crime. Considering that law enforcement officers must frequently make quick judgments about suspects and the nature of the crime committed, subconscious racial stereotypes can influence the way they perform their jobs. For many, the concern is that police officers are more likely to focus on minority group members, particularly Black and Latino people in their investigations, leading them to target minority group members when making decisions about behaviors such as traffic stops, searches, and questioning (Peruche & Plant, 2006, para. 1). From what statistics show, “Black drivers (12.3%) were three times as likely as white drivers (3.9%) and about two times as likely as Hispanic drivers (5.8%) to be searched during a traffic stop in 2008” (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008). Furthermore, white drivers were both ticketed and searched at lower rates than black and Hispanic drivers.
A widely known publicized example of racial profiling is the stop-and-frisk program utilized by the New York Police Department. Opponents of stop-and-frisk argue that, it not only targets blacks and Hispanic males, but it also criminalizes them, as well (NYCLU, 2013). In 2013, statistics showed that “New Yorkers were stopped by the police 191,558 times. 169,252 were totally innocent (88 percent). 104,958 were black (56 percent). 55,191 were Latino (29 percent). 20,877 were white (11 percent)” (NYCLU, 2013).
Another side of this issue is some people have negative views about inner cities in which a vast majority of minorities lives. Studies indicate that the higher crimes committed by minorities have nothing to do with race but instead their socioeconomic status. “The relationship between crime and communities has long been a focal point of criminological and sociological investigation” (Bogges & Hipp, 2010, para. 1). Disadvantages and poverty-stricken neighborhoods account for the higher rates of crimes committed by minorities, especially African-Americans and Hispanics. Race and socioeconomic status are key factors that play a vital role in the crime-ridden areas of the inner cities creating a playground for law enforcement officials to target minorities.
The social conditions in which people who live in the inner cities withstand are harsh. The deindustrialization of the 1970’s damaged the inner cities the most. Minorities lost many of the minimum wage manufacturing jobs forcing them to bury themselves...

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