The American Criminal Justice System In A Lesson Before Dying

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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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