Alexander explains how discretion is granted at almost every stage of the legal system, especially regarding the discretion that prosecutors have, jury selection and policing. Also, many of those arrested either get no legal representation or are given public defenders who are too overworked to truly dedicate their time, and rarely go to trial due to the pressures of guilty plea bargains. To add to the misfortune, arrestees are not told how a guilty plea will negatively damage the rest of their life, due to debt, denial of public assistance, loss of voting rights, and the social label of being a felon. Innocent family members are punished sometimes too, for if they are caught housing a criminal they can face losing their home, food stamps, and welfare. Alexander makes it clear that convicted criminals aren’t the only ones being affected by the vicious consequences of the legal system, but that their families are
That's just over 1.5% of all the death penalties. Unfortunately, the rate of innocence is over double that, coming in at above 4%. These stats prove the point some dread: Many people have been killed for crimes they didn't do. Ledell Lee, a man from Arkansas, was executed on April 20th, 2017 for the murder of his neighbor in 1993. Up until he was killed, he claimed his innocence. He called for DNA tests, none of the results pointing to him. Witnesses from the crime scene had claimed there was blood everywhere, but not on Lee. He was executed anyways. The world may never know if he was truly innocent or not, but the decision was made and carried out before there was proof he even did anything wrong. In another case, a man named Carlos DeLuna was sentenced to death and executed in the year 1989 for stabbing a gas clerk to death. DeLuna claimed he was innocent to the end. After he was killed, a report was published proving his innocence. If for no other reason, the death penalty should be abolished for the one in twenty-five innocent people that have been
Another perspective surrounding the American criminal justice system is that people only criticize the system because the results they wanted did not occur. Some people go as far as to say, “THE criminal justice system doesn 't work” (Haberman). But why do people have these strong feelings against the American criminal justice system? Haberman’s interesting viewpoint answers that question when he says, “It seems to be a popular pastime: trashing the system when it does not produce the results you want.” From this quotation one can consider that some people disparage the system so heavily because they disagree with the rulings, not because the judgements are wrong, but simply because they do not like them. This could be a reason why people believe the system is so heavily criticized, when in reality people only criticize it because they disagree, not because the system is actually unjust. This idea shows that maybe the American criminal justice is not as an unjust as people make it
The criminal justice system may be more corrupt than the people who fill our prisons. It is amazing to see the many ways that certain parts of society actually benefit from the current system we support. This book,The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison, by authors Jeffrey Reiman and Paul Leighton, has open my eyes to a very corrupt idealism. They are very precise in their supporting examples as well by walking the reader through each step and analogy.
With millions of criminal convictions a year, more than two million people may end up behind bars(Gross). According to Samuel Gross reporter for The Washington Post, writes that also “even one percent amounts to tens of thousands of tragic [wrongful conviction] errors”(Gross). Citizens who are wrongfully convicted are incarcerated for a crime he or she did not commit. Many police officers, prosecutors, and judges are responsible for the verdict that puts innocents into prison. To be able to get exonerated many wait over a decade just to get there case looked at, not many are able to have the opportunity of getting out. People plead guilty for crimes that are not committed by them to avoid trial, but by doing so the right decision wasn’t made.
“‘Death sentences represent less than one-tenth of 1% of prison sentences in the United States…,’” (Von Drehle, 9). Furthermore, death row is just a small fraction of the criminal justice system and can not be based on that alone. For instance, what many don't take into account is the justice systems allows for many states, such as the populous state of New York, to ban the death penalty. (state laws, p1) Therefore, this is an outdated claim, due to our justice system changing and adapting to public beliefs. There may be a few wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system, however that does not make it cause more harm than good. In any system there are flaws, we cannot disregard all the good the justice system does. Although this system has flaws like all others, it is what safeguards our society's
The reason O.J. was found not guilty of murder and acquitted in criminal court, but found guilty of the tort of harm and ordered to pay damages in the civil court lies in the structure of our legal system, in regards to criminal cases and civil cases. The distinct difference between criminal cases and civil cases provides further explanation regarding the O.J. Simpson case. Criminal cases deal with crimes against society. It is the government, not the victim, who brings action against the charged individual. In criminal cases, the penalties can include a number things including jail time. Since the stakes are so high in these cases, there is a high burden of proof on the prosecution. The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond
Innocent people who are being condemned have negative effects on them. Being arrested for a crime that they did not commit looks bad on their record. Even though they are not guilty, people “... label them ‘criminal,’ ‘murderer,’ ‘rapist,’ thief,’ ‘drug dealer,’ ‘sex offender,’ [and] ‘felon’...” (Stevenson 15). These labels can not be removed, and people have to live with them for the rest of their life. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that it basically boils down to not listen to what other says about them; although, it is easy to say than done. The government is doing wrong by disturbing, even destroying in some cases, people’s everyday life. The author wants the help from the Americans, especially lawyers who are willing to help the incapable. They are in the best position to save innocent lives by helping them fight their case in court. This book was also intended to persuade American taxpayers. Essentially, Stevenson wanted the taxpayers to be worried about where their money is going. The government funding for prisons has risen from $6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion today; as a result, America now have to face the unprecedented economic crisis (Stevenson 16). The money spent on jail is suppose to be used for public services, education, health , and welfare. This is the reason
An absurd amount of innocent people in the nation, have fallen victim to a disorganized legal system, and are suffering because of it. Dennis Brown, and James Harden, are two examples of this, and can relate because of it. They’ve been falsely convicted, without DNA evidence, but the truth of the case is finally revealed with their release.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with about 2.3 million people in prison. According to Vitanna.org’s statistics, an estimated one million of these prisoners are African American. 12.3 percent of the population is black, yet over 43 percent of America’s prisoners are black. This disparity is certainly unnatural, seeing as how African Americans are no more likely to be criminals than whites. Black men are overrepresented in prisons because of the unfortunately common stereotype that they are all remorseless criminals. This stereotype makes it easier for those in the justice system to see all black men as people who need to be locked up. Racism (whether conscious or subconscious) makes jurors especially willing to put minorities behind bars by overpowering their doubt and blinding them to the
I am 21 and for as long as I can remember I have heard many stories about innocent people being accused of and being punished for crimes they did not commit. On Monday, March 20th of this year, I met Anthony Ray Hinton and learned about his story. Arrested on suspicion of two capital murders at age 29. He was convicted and sentenced to death despite having a reliable alibi and passing a polygraph test. It was only after repeated efforts by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) team that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned his conviction based on his attorney’s deficient representation and he was eventually exonerated after 30 years in solitary confinement on Friday, April 3rd, 2015.
Manufacturing Guilt Wrongful Convictions in Canada, Second Edition, is relevant to the course I am taking Social Inequity and Justice because, like my course this book discusses and examines sociological approaches to social inequity in regard to race and ethnicity and how it effects these groups and their lives. Manufacturing Guilt Wrongful Convictions in Canada, Second Edition is about innocent people that spend many years behind bars, wrongfully committed for crimes they did not commit. When someone is wrongfully convicted, they are being punished for an offence they did not commit and to make matters worse the actual perpetrator of the crime goes free. Many people that do get exonerated their applications take years in the federal review
America, the home of the free, but how free are we really? Incarceration rates over the past 30 years have soared, and currently 25% of all inmates in the world lie behind the bars of American prisons. (Approximately 716 per 100,000 peoples). Whether justified or not, our country locks up more people per year than any other country. Cases such as that of Tamir Rice, and Steven Avery exemplify both spectrums of the exploitation of our judiciary system.
There are three components that make up the criminal justice system – the police, courts, and correctional facilities – they all work together in order to protect individuals and their rights as a citizen of society to live without the fear of becoming the victim of a crime. Crime, simply put is when a person violates criminal law; the criminal justice system is society’s way of implementing social control. When all three components of the criminal justice work together, it functions almost perfectly.
The biggest issue within the Criminal Justice system is the large number of wrongful convictions, innocent people sentenced to die for crimes they did not commit. People are put in prison for years, even executed for false convictions. This affects not only those put in prison but friends and family of the accused. Wrongful convictions aren’t solely a tragedy for those directly involved either. It weakens the faith the public has for the justice system as well as poses safety issues; when innocent people are put away, the real criminals are still out there. Luckily, it is known what causes wrongful convictions and how to fix them.