Being just in the American criminal justice system is a topic that is highly debated. Some believe the system is just, while others believe it is a flawed. The truth however, is that humans are not always right. God is the only who can practice justice in complete perfection, because humans are not perfect. Although many people in the American criminal justice system have good intentions, sadly that does not necessarily mean they are always just. The American criminal justice system tries to be truly just and has been before, but humans are not perfect and cannot always be truly just. One way the American criminal justice system is not just is when people are wrongly convicted of crimes. Although people in the system may not do this on purpose, …show more content…
In the novel A Lesson Before Dying, written by Ernest J. Gaines in 1993, Grant Higgins struggles with the idea of criminal justice in the south during the 1940s. During this time in Bayonne, LA African Americans did not receive the same justice as whites. In this quotation one can see the discrimination, “Twelve white men say a black man must die, and another white man sets the date and time without consulting one black person. Justice?” (Gaines 157). This quotation shows how African Americans had no say in what happened in the American criminal justice system and were treated unethically. When the quotation mentions “Twelve white men” it is referring to the jury. The fact that the jury is all white for the conviction of a black man reveals the discrimination in the American criminal justice system at this time in history. Another idea that is touched on in this novel is, “How do people come up with a date and a time to take life from another man? Who made them God?” (Gaines 157). This quotation questions authority and even asks “Who made them God?” suggesting an even deeper question of why do certain people in the system have this much power? Humans make mistakes and God is the only one who is truly just, so what gives people the authority to make those life changing decisions? The sad truth is that during this time people gave themselves the authority to make these types of judgments based off of their race. During this time in the south the criminal justice system …show more content…
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
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The Salem Witch Trials wrongly convicted over one hundred fifty people through unfair court cases in 1692, due to the bias of the people, the unpassable tests used, and the illegal way they were run. The convictions were all done in the Court of Oyer and Terminer, which was created by the current Governor Sir William Phips, and led by Chief Judge William Stoughton, along with 6 other judges (EB 1) (Boraas 24). This court was closed within the year, and a new court was opened, the Superior Court of Judicature, which was less unfair, and made no convictions during the time it was open. This court was then also closed after a few months (EB 1). During the trials, every sort of person was accused, from rich to poor.
The criminal justice system can easily be biased to reflect and support their own self interest. The criminal justice system is the only organization that is able to remove criminals from the streets. Even though it takes many officers to make a difference in a community, there is no assurance that each officer
A recent trend in the United States Justice System, at local and state levels, is to implement the use of formulas and algorithms to determine sentencing length. In her article “Sentencing, by the Numbers”, University of Michigan law professor Sonja Starr focuses on this trend, and shows flaws that she finds in the system. In the article, she agrees with the actions of Attorney General Eric Holder in criticizing the system for the way in which it determines the risk of future crimes. Throughout, Starr presents the system as something that will, instead of solving mass incarceration, make the problem worse for impoverished persons and minorities. Starr argues that the system discriminates against those with a socioeconomic disadvantage, has
The documentary 13th was released on October 7, 2016 and it triggered a worldwide shock. As a documentary, it was adept enough to address several ongoing issues, especially regarding the maltreatment of African Americans, but the documentary was shaped around the theme that African Americans were never free, and continue to fight for that freedom. The content within the documentary varied from earlier times where slavery, segregation and, Jim Crow laws existed to the more implicit manner of racism that is presented through the massive imprisonment of African Americans, and unjustified use of the criminal justice system against them. The documentary revolves around three main themes: the overrepresentation of African Americans in the media,
Minority groups, such as African Americans, have long experienced injustices within the criminal justice system. Although we have indeed seen a substantial reduction in overt racial prejudice over the last half-century, racial inequality within the criminal justice system is far from extinct. Over the course of the criminal justice system in the United States, African Americans have been unjustly profiled, pursued, and unlawfully convicted. While not discounting the progress that has been made in the treatment of African Americans, it is important to keep in mind that discrimination is still present. Further, racial biases are likely to exist outside of the White-Black dynamic, which is a question that should be addressed in future
All in all, the judicial system has cracks in the foundation, but it is on the right track. Our system is not perfect but it is better than not having anything. The judicial system gives individuals the chance to prove their innocence and to fight for the
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
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.
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.
We have a system in place that is meant to serve the American people and incarcerate those who are a menace to society. A system like this seems good on paper, until the people in the system and those who contribute to it, taint it with their bias. We see this predominantly evident in the story written by Walter Dean Myers “Monster” and the documentary “Murder on a Sunday Morning”. Though these things show us the same theme, they have their individual differences separating them.
Famous American cereal killer, John Wayne Gacy, had murdered and raped 33 adolescents, many of whom were teenagers, the justice system made sure this man could never do this again. The public is turning a blind eye to the many contributions the justice system makes, we should look at not only how we can reform, but how it contributes to society The justice system creates many contributions to society, such as the safety it provides for children and their chances of exploitation, the many instances where they convict dangerous individuals therefore creating a safer environment for the present and future of society, and the fact it provides all citizens of the public and private sectors, to have the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial,
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.
Much depends upon the circumstances of the individual case. Given the wide range of sentencing options an error in sentencing may have just as great an impact as a wrongful conviction. The injustice of a wrongful conviction does not necessarily decrease over time. The injustice may grow and fester with the passage of time, even extending beyond the defendant’s death (Risinger 2007).The correctness of the conviction may also be a matter of important public
Jail is a place no one ever wants to go. People go to jail for many reasons: robbery, murder, hate crimes, and there are people who are sitting in jail for a crime they did not commit. People have their different views on the justice system and how it works. People’s religious beliefs and personal beliefs in stereotypes play a major part in their convictions. In A Lesson before Dying Earnest Gaines reveals how different values and racism in a small community are seen through the characters Jefferson, Grant, and Tante Lou and their experiences and reactions.
The United States prides itself on being a country of opportunities where the underprivileged can rise up and everyone is treated equally, but is that really the case? In reality the income of an individual gives them advantages of going above the system. The sociological explanation of the influence of the wealthy over the criminal justice system is described in the of the Pyrrhic defeat theory written in Jeffrey Reiman and Paul Leighton book The Rich Get Richer and the Poor get Prison Ideology, class and Criminal Justice. The Pyrrhic defeat theory emphasizes the failure of the criminal justice is the consequence of success for those in power, who are taking advantage of the system.