Through the years, the world has made substantial progress towards ensuring equal treatment under law for all citizens. However, the cycle continues, as disparities within the justice decision making process is growing at each level of the criminal justice system. Although the drug policies and sentencing guidelines that are put into place by our legislators are said to be “race neutral,” they have actually shown to be pervasively biased, affecting both innocent as well as guilty minority citizens. There is no question that the most important stage of the criminal justice system is the sentencing phase. It is at this stage where prosecutors, along with law enforcement personnel, attempt to determine who will or will not be granted leniency
The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for several reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. This literature review will discuss the ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system and how mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism has become a problem.
Over the past 40 years U.S. incarceration has grown at an extraordinary rate, with the United States’ prison population increasing from 320,000 inmates in 1980 to nearly 2.3 million inmates in 2013. The growth in prison population is in part due to society’s shift toward tough on crime policies including determinate sentencing, truth-in-sentencing laws, and mandatory minimums. These tough on crime policies resulted in more individuals committing less serious crimes being sentenced to serve time and longer prison sentences. The 1970s-1980s: The War on Drugs and Changes in Sentencing Policy Incarceration rates did rise above 140 persons imprisoned per 100,000 of the population until the mid 1970s.
As I mentioned above, since the War on Drugs era, the prison population has increased at an alarming rate. Overcriminalization has most of the responsibility for this problem. Along with the overcrowding of prisons, the obstacle of overcriminalization also brings sentencing reform to the table. It puts citizens that had no criminal intent in their actions and non-violent offenders in prison for unjust lengths of time. Serving
People of all different races and ethnicities are locked behind bars because they have been convicted of committing a crime and they are paying for the consequences. When looking at the racial composition of a prison in the United States, it does not mimic the population. This is because some races and ethnicities are over represented in the correctional system in the U.S. (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018). According Walker et al. (2018), African-Americans/Blacks make up less than fifteen percent of the U.S. population, while this race has around thirty-seven percent of the population in the correctional system today. Along with African-American/Blacks, the Hispanic population is underrepresented at both the state and federal levels while the Caucasian/White population are underrepresented (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018).
Defined as a public policy that imposes an outlined amount of prison time based on the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history, these sentences dictate that a judge must enact a statutory fixed penalty on individuals convicted of certain crimes, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Such laws have removed discretionary sentencing power from judges, instead focusing on severe punishments in line with national drug and crime concerns. While the original goal of mandatory minimum sentences was to deter potential criminals, reduce drug use, control judicial prudence, the policy has had extreme consequences such as sentencing imbalances and
Out of the countless systems that America has, the criminal justice system has the most complication. Many judges, lawyers, and even prisoners have views on how to improve the criminal justice system but, to be able to pin point the problems of the criminal justice system you must discern what the causes are. Most would say that the problem with the prison system is the overcrowding. A few says the sentencing causes chaos in the criminal justice system. I believe that one or the main problem with the criminal justice system is the sentencing. Many of the prisoners are incarnated for petty drug charges or unfair sentencing as a consequence the prisons is overpopulated and causes confusion. The Three Strikes and you’re out policy will have the
There is disagreement in society about how the purpose of the prison system should be considered. On one hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek deterrence, incapacitation, or retribution to avoid appearing too soft on inmates. On the other hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek to opportunities to re-socialize prisoners or to effect changes in the character, attitudes,
Coker gives great evidence that supports racial injustice in the criminal justice system. She discusses on the Supreme Court’s rulings and accusations of racial preference in the system. This article is helpful because it supports my thesis on race playing a role on the system of criminal justice. Hurwitz, J., & Peffley, M. (1997). Public perceptions of race and crime: The role of racial stereotypes.
Courts are a major evaluative stage of the criminal justice system and we rely on these courts to determine our outcomes based on the crime that was committed. Today, there is more diversity of leadership in the court system but, race still plays a role in the outcome of the offender. This could range from petty crimes being committed like traffic infractions or facing the death penalty based on the race of the offender or victim. This paper will examine the three types of disparities that cause biased sentencing in the courts. The three types of disparities are race, social class, and gender and these all play a huge factor when making a decision based off an offender.
Sentencing disparity within the American Judicial system is a problem that exists across the nation. According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, disparity means the markedly distinct in quality or character. Many times, disparity is used in conjunction with discrimination as if the two words mean the same, but they do not. Disparity will include a difference in treatment or outcome but is not based on an opinion, bias or prejudice. Within the United States there are several types of disparity that exist within sentencing and these inconsistencies can vary from state to state, judge to judge, and from individual from individual.
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
There are more African Americans in prison now, than there were enslaved in 1850. These individuals are not in prison because they are committing more crimes than their white counterparts, but because of a discriminatory system that targets african americans. Blacks can commit the same crimes as whites, but are more likely to be imprisoned and or receive a steeper sentence. This disproportionate racial sentencing has been a growing issue the United States for four decades, and started with the Reagan Administration's War On Drugs. Private prison organizations lobby for harsher punishments, and profit from the influx of inmates.
Fast forward to the present day, we have the Ferguson, Mike Brown of Emmitt Till’s still occurring in our justice system. A person must view the criminal justice threw a godly telescope to see the inequalities that exit, and need to come to the forefront of our government, and the population worldwide. Sentencingproject.org statistically show that African American men, women, and juvenile are arrested more often than any other races across the nations. This report will prove, and argues that racial disparity in the justice system is at large in our system. This research paper will further explain, and presents evidence that display the presence of racial bias in the criminal justice system in America.
Many people have their own opinion about sentencing reform. Some people think that it should be change while others think that it should stay how it is. In my opinion i think that they should not change it. To start with, i think that the sentencing reform should stay the same because there 's too many crimes going on in this world. According to source 1 it states, “there is no question that crime rates will increase if sentencing reform provides large numbers of criminals with early release from prison and requires shorter sentences when they re-offend.”