Discussion Questions in Criminal Justice
Discussion questions in criminal justice
In the United States the main problem faced by the criminal justice system is race and ethnicity. In the case of Juanita she is a cross breed of Puerto Rican and African American. This puts her at a spotlight of race and ethnicity where the criminal justice description that applies to both races directly affects her treatment by the system. The justice system in some states may favour her while other justice systems in other states may not be so lenient with her.
There have been protests by people of different races and ethnicity in America. This is because of the unfair treatment that that offenders and innocent civilians go through just because they are of a different race or ethnic group. These protests are often conducted by the minority groups that are racially and ethnically segregated.The police tend to favour the whites over the African American. Muslims also face racial segregation where police officers and American’s deem them as terrorists. This leads them to be deported from America even under the slightest suspicion of being a terrorist. They are also denied entry into American soil when they fail to pass a background check done by the police(Cole, 2000).
TheFerguson case also led to protests by African American’s of unfair treatment and killing of Clarence Bradley who was convicted of murder and rape in an unfair trial. The police even before starting to look for evidence that could link Bradley to the crime had already picked Bradley as the criminal and told him he will be convicted for the crime just because he was black. Bradley was later convicted just because a hair that looked like his hair was found on the victim. No forensics was conducted and thus there was no concrete evidence. The jury did not even bother to consider the possibility that maybe it wasn’t his hair and that it could have been placed by the police on the victim(Walker, Spohn&DeLone, 2011). I had an experience where once when entering a security facility the people were being frisked by the policeman. A White man came and the police officer summoned the man and told him to enter the building without being frisked while the rest of us blacks had to wait to be frisked by the police officer. That was a clear display of race segregation.
By covering the case and favouring the white woman the media is not typical. The discrimination practised by the media is contextual and it is commonly practised under special circumstances. The media acts as a disseminator of information and should not be biased. In this case the media sympathizes with the victim who suffered emotionally and physically and they offer their support through covering the case in order to create public awareness which pressures the criminal justice system to conduct a just and fair case trial(Schmalleger, 2009).
In the case of arresting suspects it is the process that is followed by the criminal justice system where one is considered guilty until proven otherwise. The case is tried fairly because the young man convicted is proven guilty by the concrete evidence of his DNA been found on the victim(Lynch, 2014). The view on media coverage remains not typical because even if it was an African American who was sexually assaulted the media would still cover the same story no differently than that of the white victim.
Racial inequality brought about by the colour of the skin leads to the emergence of two societies one white and the other black. Due to this Opportunities and development becomes concentrated in one society while the other society continuous to get poor and poor. In the case of America the whites will have many opportunities regarding employment, advancement in education and the way of living while the blacks will become poor and miss the opportunities available to the whites (Western & Pettit, 2005). Due to this black people will engage in violent crimes and acts of inhumanity towards the whites. Likewise, the whites will oppress the blacks by providing poor working conditions and low wages leading to oppression (Hagan, 1995).
Assigning police officers to neighbourhoods of their race and ethnicity is not in any way a good idea. By assigning police officers duties in respect to their race the criminal justice system begins to practice racial and ethnic discrimination in its heart for it is the police officers who enhance criminal justice. It doesn’t mean that because a police officer is Latino he or she cannot maintain law and order in a white or African American neighbourhood(Reiner, 1985).
When being enrolled into the police academy the police recruits swear their oath to protect and to serve every citizen equally without discrimination. Therefore the assignment of neighbourhoods should not be racially driven. By assigning a white policeman to an African American neighbourhood this enhances a reduced diversity in the criminal justice system among these two races in that the African American’s learn to respect the white police officer and vice versa(Weitzer, 2000). In situations where complications arise the government should bring in specialized people who deal with racial and ethnic cases to come and intervene and try to create a harmonised society. It is only through integration of different races and ethnic groups that the modern society can live together as one.
Professor Randall Kennedy was right in that when it comes to criminal justice it is not the place to start racial politics considering the fact that a court should ensure fairness and equality in judgement. When the jury starts being racist then some individuals can be convicted for crimes they did not commit and the guilty walks out free. Professor Paul butler from his statement clears shows that he is a racist and if it were up to him then all the blacks whose fate was to lie on his hands would be doomed.The juries should not engage in jury nullification.This is because jury nullification ignores the main purpose of the existence of the criminal justice system in that it gives the jury the power to return a verdict of not guilty to an offender even though there is concrete evidence tying the offender to the crime committed, then the jury nullifies the law which they feel is unjustly applied to the offender(Horowitz, 1985). This is not good for the system because racism of the minority can be practised when the discretion of prosecutors is used politically.Jurors cannot be punished for the judgement they return and once it is made the verdict cannot be questioned(Butler, 1995).
The fair sentencing act of 2010 did not in any way solve racially based sentencing. Bearing in mind that these are just forms of the same drug the sentencing of drug peddlers selling this drugs should be the same sentence regardless of which form of the drug a person was caught with. If a criminal is caught selling crank and sentenced to five years in prison then another criminal caught with powder cocaine should also be sentenced to prison for five years. Crack cocaine racially discriminates the poor people this is because crack is cheaper than powder cocaine (Parks, 2011).
Even though the act is racially discriminating, it somehow justifies the difference in that crack cocaine is highly addictive, commonly abused and dangerous. Due to this the criminal justice system aims to reduce its usage by people through providing a higher sentence for use and possession of the drug (Berman, 2010).
Native drug courts that mostly deal with non-violent drug offenders hand down sentences that do not include imprisonment but involves rehabilitation. In their way this courts are always successful and produce positive results without sending the offender away to jail. They are good for the offender and the society in general. They are also less expensive to run than the traditional system of American justice where offenders are incarcerated or put on probation so in a way the native drug courts do not conflict with the traditional system of American justice(Goldstein, 1994).However this modifications should not be allowed to the traditional American justice, this is because the traditional justice system deals with hardened criminals from different societies and this would require a lot of resources regarding skilled man power and financials(Resnik, 1989).
The characteristic of juvenile victims of crime include: Most juvenile victims of crime are female while other juvenile victims of violent crime include male children.Ethnicity in that black American juveniles are the most prone to becoming victims of crime. Most juvenile crime victims are from the age of 12 and mostly know their attackers. Most juveniles become crime victims when they are at the wrong place and at the wrong time where their attackers gain an advantage over them. The characteristics of juvenile crime victims and adult crime victims are similar in nature regarding age, gender, ethnicity,location and time, and income(Snyder &Sickmund, 1995). The juvenile justice system is favoured more over the adult justice system in that juveniles are youngsters and are prone to be more afraid than adults. Therefore they require a lot of specialized care to make them get over their traumas.
On the other hand, adults are more capable of handling traumas than the juveniles. Once the juveniles enter the juvenile justice system either as a victim or offender they are at a compound risk. This is because inside the system they are put together with hardened juveniles and offenders which makes it hard for them to be reformed or to escape trauma. Some juveniles come out of the juvenile system as hardened juvenile’s offenders (Cole, Smith &DeJong, 2014).
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