Structural Injustice In Criminal Justice

1327 Words6 Pages
Structural injustice is unlawfulness that is present in institutions and society. Rather than accusing specific individuals, structural injustice is a product of a network of people who are all responsible for taking accountability for their biases and correcting the biases that other individuals may possess. The moral responsibility for structural injustice lies on the shoulders of decision makers, law enforcement officials, and law makers. Any individual in power that exercises their own discretion are to be held accountable. However, other individuals that are also a part of the system must do their part in limiting the power a biased individual may exercise. Rather than blaming certain people, all parties involved should take accountability…show more content…
This can be detrimental in the sense that it gives certain high-ranking officials far too much power. Court cases are settled when a judge exercises their own discretion to punish someone who has broken the law. Because of this, many individuals are given an unfair sentence because judges and prosecutors let their implicit biases get in the way of their decision making. Even though this is not the case with all judges and prosecutors, one mistake by one individual could cause someone to receive a much harsher sentence than they deserve. Prosecutors like Aaron Negangard serve as a prime example of a decision-maker who allows their own personal stereotypes to influence their discretionary actions. Negangard is a victim of the stereotype that all criminals will remain criminals even after they serve their time. Therefore, he prosecutes as aggressively as the law will allow. Unfortunately, criminal justice laws in the United States are some of the harshest in the world and a prosecutor has more power than anybody else does in the system$. Because of this, it is their responsibility to diligently review each case they are presented with so they do not make a mistake in the prosecution. Although a judge has the final word in the case, a prosecutor must hold themselves accountable so they are not responsible for the destruction of an individual’s life. “Once arrested, one’s chances of ever being truly free of the system of control are slim, often to the vanishing point.”$. Someone might argue that the prosecutor is doing nothing more than his/her job and that they are following the guidelines laid out for him/her by the government. While part of that is true, an individual’s implicit biases could cause them to exercise their discretion in a way that is unjust and cruel. That is why law-makers must also step up and propose legislation that
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