A Major Problem in the Criminal Justice System

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AMajor Problem in the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is mandated with the need to upholdethics of the highest order when executing their functions. Theability to do so forms the foundation on which people can accessjustice when they need it. However, the criminal justice system isfaced with various problems, some of which have been a significantimpediment to the delivery of services. The primary problem affectingthe criminal justice system regards the aspect of racism, whichundermines the delivery of justice.

Literature Review-

Jee-Lyn García and Sharif, (2015) define racism as a system that isbased on race which unfairly disadvantages individuals whileproviding an advantage to others. The concept of race in a criminaljustice system can be depicted in a scenario where persons of a minorrace are discriminated against by those in charge. The researchersmainly focus on the concept of black lives matter and identify therole played by race in endowing a particular group of individualswith an advantage against others. Young, Levinson and Sinnett (2014)reiterate that crime concepts have the ability to activateattentional bias against the black faces. According to theresearchers, the idea of presuming one’s innocence only serves as aracial cue leading to attentional bias.

Why Racism Isa Major Problem in the Criminal Justice System

Racial prejudice determines the decision made by officers in thejustice system affecting individuals of different races. The race isa major problem because it has significant implications in howoffenders are treated. According to Rattan et al. (2012), race has agreater impact on the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justicesystem. The researchers further reiterate the need to have furtherresearch being conducted to determine the role of race in arriving atjudgments determining whether or not a group of juveniles should begiven full protection under the law. This is a confirmation of thevital role played by race in the criminal justice system. The impactof race in the criminal justice system has equally been illustratedby studies conducted by Milner, George, and Allison (2016). Accordingto the researchers, black and Hispanic men were perceived to be at agreater risk of facing police frisks, searches, and forcefultreatment. This is an affirmation of how racism is ingrained in thecriminal justice system. Minority groups face a risk of beingmistreated because of their racial affiliation. It is a problem thatought to be addressed in the criminal justice system.

Racism is a problem in the criminal justice system because itinfluences the formulation of policies. O’Brien, Forrest, Lynott,and Daly (2013) sought to examine whether or not racism was relatedto the aspect of gun ownership and opposition to the gun controlsamong US whites. In the study, O’Brien, Forrest, Lynott and Daly(2013) identified that racism was associated with attitudes ongun-related problems and behaviors among the US whites. The findingsfurther indicate that blacks would benefit more from gun reforms.However, because of the interplay of racism, this is not feasible.According to Clemons (2014), there is a widespread racial disparityin America’s criminal justice system. The researcher concurs withthe fact that black males are six times likely than their malecounterparts to be incarcerated. It is evident that the system stillholds to the discriminatory practice where blacks were consideredinferior to their white counterparts. The importance of racism isreflected in its determination of decisions made. For example, thehigh rate of incarceration of black Americans confirms the existenceof racism as a problem in the criminal justice system.

The concept of racism being an issue in the criminal justice systemhas equally been depicted in efforts to conceal information regardingunfair practices against people of color. According to Ross (2015),records on police shootings have been kept a secret with criticalinformation such as the names of officers involved and justificationfor actions taken. For example, the author indicates that there isracial bias in reporting even on data published by the FBI. Thefindings have been echoed by Gabrielson et al. (2014) who state thatthe Florida Department, for instance, have failed to file reports forthe year 1997. The data is essential since it helps in shedding morelight on racial bias in Florida police shootings.

Weitzer (2015) identifies the need to determine the rationale behindpolice shootings and the need to adopt reforms to address the issue.The author acknowledges racialized police violence in the criminaljustice system and its adverse effects in the administration of thelaw. Zirin (2015) states that racial factors play a critical role inthe determination of how an individual is handled by the officers.The color of individual matters specifically even when in custodysince it dictates overall treatment by the police.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The review of literature confirms the existence of the racism as aproblem in the criminal justice system. Stakeholders in the criminaljustice system must come up with avenues of addressing the problem toprotect those facing racial bias. Further, research should beconducted to shed more light on the issue, since this will form thebasis for recommendations. The entire criminal justice system musttake responsibility to uphold integrity in the execution of theirmandate.

Works Cited

Clemons, John Tyler. &quotBlind injustice: The Supreme Court,implicit racial bias, and the racial disparity in the criminaljustice system.&quot Am. Crim. L. Rev. 51 (2014): 689.Retrieved fromhttp://www.americancriminallawreview.com/files/1314/0540/1199/Clemons.pdf.

Gabrielson, Ryan, Ryann Grochowski Jones, and Eric Sagara. &quotDeadlyforce, in black and white: A ProPublica analysis of killings bypolice shows outsize risk for young black males.&quot ProPublica:Journalism in the Public Interest (2014). Retrieved from


Jee-Lyn García, Jennifer, and Mienah Zulfacar Sharif. &quotBlacklives matter: a commentary on racism and public health.&quotAmerican journal of public health 105.8 (2015): e27-e30.Retrieved from


Milner, Adrienne N., Brandon J. George, and David B. Allison. &quotBlackand Hispanic men perceived to be large are at increased risk forpolice frisk, search, and force.&quot PloS one 11.1 (2016):e0147158. Retrieved fromhttp://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147158.

O’Brien, Kerry, et al. &quotRacism, gun ownership and gun control:Biased attitudes in US whites may influence policy decisions.&quotPloS one 8.10 (2013): e77552. Retrieved fromhttp://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0077552

Rattan, Aneeta, et al. &quotRace and the fragility of the legaldistinction between juveniles and adults.&quot PloS one 7.5(2012): e36680. Retrieved fromhttp://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0036680

Ross, Cody T. &quotA multi-level Bayesian analysis of racial bias inpolice shootings at the county-level in the United States,2011–2014.&quot PloS one 10.11 (2015): e0141854. Retrievedfrom http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141854

Weitzer, Ronald. &quotAmerican policing under fire: Misconduct andreform.&quot Society 52.5 (2015): 475-480. Retrieved fromhttps://sociology.columbian.gwu.edu/sites/sociology.columbian.gwu.edu/files/downloads/SOCIETY%20policing%202015%20.pdf

Young, Danielle M., Justin D. Levinson, and Scott Sinnett. &quotInnocentuntil primed: mock jurors` racially biased response to thepresumption of innocence.&quot PloS one 9.3 (2014): e92365.Retrieved fromhttp://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0092365

Zirin, Dave. &quotSo… The NYPD Just Broke An NBA Player’S Leg&quot.The Nation. N.p., 2017. Web. 30 Mar. 2017. Retrieved fromhttps://www.thenation.com/article/so-nypd-just-broke-nba-players-leg/