The documentary the “13th” had shocking statistics on how many people are incarcerated in the United States. The 1970’s was the beginning of the “mass incarceration era,” which started with 357,292 people incarcerated. From there, the prison population has continuously increased and reached a population of 2,306,200 in 2014. Many of these people incarcerated are African-Americans because the criminal justice system has always worked against them. African-Americans in the United States account for 6.5% of the population, meanwhile they account for 42% of the prison population.
If there wasn't any plea bargaining, courts would be overcrowded and forced to be shut down. It is an advantage for the defense since it will be less work required on their part (Tapscott, 2017). Because plea bargains are much quicker and require less work, it keeps the cases moving and courtrooms unclogged. This works for both prosecutor and defendant since the case would close quickly allowing them to move on to bigger, serious cases. The benefit of agreeing to a plea bargain is that it de clogs the courts and the overcrowded jails.
According to Heather Donald’s article Is the Criminal Justice System Racist? “About one in 33 black men was in prison, compared with one in 205 white men”. The number of black men in jail is appalling enough on its own, but when it is compared to the number of white men in jail it is beyond outrageous. Why are there more Black Americans in jail than White Americans? As stated in What It’s Like to Be Black in the Criminal Justice System “Social science research shows striking racial disparities at nearly every level .”
Plea bargaining is essential to the efficient function of the criminal justice system, where such agreements can conserve judicial and prosecutorial resources and offer defendants alternatives to trial. Plea agreements accomplish this by allowing defendants to plead guilty in exchange for certain benefits, which then reduces the amount of cases going to court. When fewer cases go to trial, resources can be allocated so that more serious cases can be tried in court, while lesser offenses can be resolved quickly through a plea, allowing often overworked judges and prosecutors to devote less time to individual cases, and complete more cases within a given time period. In contrast, if all cases went to court it would be infeasible to devote
Prison is a dark, lonely and terrible place. A majority of people incarcerated are people of color. Mass incarceration is mainly concentrated on racial and ethnic minorities. In A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, it is shown that no matter your background or your story, you will still be targeted because of the color of your skin. Brown assures that The United States has only five percent of the world’s population, but twenty five of the world’s prison population.
For being such an advanced country, America’s biggest issue stays unresolved. That issue is its justice system. In the book Just Mercy, the author Bryan Stevenson writes, “We have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent.” The majority of prisoners in the U.S. are black, mentally ill, or poor. Minorities are treated harshly by the justice system in the United States because it’s built to benefit the rich, guilty, and white.
The issue of mass incarceration sparked conversation about racial disparities within the prison system. Following the abolishment of Jim Crow, legal racial segregation in the United States appeared dead. According to civil rights advocate, Michelle Alexander this is not the case; racial segregation appears dead, but mass incarceration perpetuates a racial caste system that preserves this outdated practice. In Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, she points to the cause, enforcement, and victims of this system, but her arguments lack the depth to stand against counterarguments.
Plea-bargaining dominates the American criminal justice system by offering a reduced sentence to those who stand accused of a crime in exchange for the accused pleading guilty or to a lesser charge and waiving the right to trial. The problem with plea-bargaining is that it lays a heavy burden on the accused while theoretically reducing the burden carried by prosecutors and the court system. Plea-bargaining has trickled its way into the American criminal justice system disguised as a win-win for accused criminals and prosecutors but has weakened the justice system by allowing prosecutors to score guilty pleas from vulnerable individuals and allowing serious criminal offenders walk on lesser charges. Plea-bargaining severely undermines the criminal
One of the best quotes I found on the motivations behind the use of plea bargains comes from former President Jimmy Carter, in which he points out that “In many courts, plea‐bargaining serves the convenience or the judge and lawyers, not the ends of justice, because the courts lack the time to give everyone a fair trial,” (“Excerpts from Carter’s Speech to the Bar Association,” 1978). The plea bargaining system is convenient, not just. Plea bargains are not negotiated for the best interest of the defendants, but for the prosecutors and judges looking to funnel cases out of the courthouse as quickly as possible. This lack of care for the defendant obviously leads to mistakes. Eighteen percent “of known exonerees pleaded guilty to crimes they didn’t commit,” (Why Innocent People Are Pleading Guilty, 2018).
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.
Unfortunately, there are racial disparities in the United States in the legal system. Prison sentences imposed on African American males in the federal system are nearly 20 percent longer than white males convicted of similar crimes. The 1994 Crime Bill signed by President Clinton established mandatory minimum sentences. African American and Latino offenders sentenced in state and federal courts face greater odds of incarceration than white offenders who are in similar situations and receive longer sentences than whites in some jurisdictions. Research has shown that race plays a significant role in determination on which homicide cases resulted in death sentences.
Plea bargaining is an confessed agreement used in most criminal cases to avoid a long inessential trial. This includes pleading to a lesser charge as well as pleading guilty in exchange for a shorter sentence. Roughly 90% of criminal cases are settled by the plea bargain rather than a jury trial. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of plea bargaining. While the lawyer and defendant come to an agreement to avoid a prolonged trial in court.
Racial inequalities in the criminal justice system are evident now more than ever. Although some believe that we are now past racial disparities, people of color are still facing injustice in the criminal justice system as appose to whites. Furthermore, my research has found that mass incarceration of one race, leads to mass poverty in
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.