Racial Inequality Within Justice System Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Problem Statement

It is no lie that people of color are more severely punished for violating the law than white Americans. This can be traced back through history. This discrimination on the law is based on historical injustices that gave harsh sentences to people of color and lighter sentences for white Americans. considering that slavery was abolished many years ago, this justice system discrimination has continued to prevail until today. People of color are more likely to be arrested for misdemeanor charges and they are also likely to be jailed as compared to the white Americans. While people of color account for 12% of the total American population, the number of those incarcerated is quite high. This is disproportionate to the actual number within the whole population. When a comparison is made to the general population, one can see that the numbers do not add up. There might be fewer people of color in American prisons, but when compared to the overall population number, there are more Black Americans in prison as compared to White Americans. Society has always viewed people of color differently and this has also befallen the criminal justice system. With discretion being given to the prosecutor, it is no surprise that most prosecutors will push for harsher sentences for black people and lighter sentences for white Americans. This does happen to cases that have the same underlying crime.

White criminality is often viewed as an individual failing, but black criminality is mostly viewed as the failing of the group. This means that black people will be seen as failures for the crimes that were committed by others, while whites are not in any way associated with the crimes of another person. In a real sense, this kind of justifies why people of color are all treated as criminals by the whole justice system. Making them guilty before being proven. While we might be quick to place the blame on the criminal justice system, it is surprising that even researchers have fallen prey to this notion. Modern researchers have reinforced this notion making it almost a norm. The most disappointing thing about this discrimination is that the incarceration rates for black men below 35 years who did not go to high school is higher than their employment rates.


Title: Racial Inequality Within the Justice System

I. Abstract: The criminal justice system is biased against people of color resulting in a continuous increase in the number of incarcerations for people of color with harsher sentences being passed even for minor crimes.

II. Body Paragraph 1: There have been historical injustices against people of color and this has continued to our current criminal justice system. People of color are increasingly being incarcerated and their sentences are harsher than those of their white counterparts. As of the 2010 national census in America, the number of black Americans in prison was disproportionate to the total population number. There has been continuous discrimination with black people being more likely to be sent to prison even for misdemeanor crimes.

III. Body Paragraph 2: With increased incarceration of people of color, the number of children who are growing up with single parents increases and more black people are forced into poverty. Black paroles are also less likely to get job offers as compared to white American paroles. This continues the cycle of discrimination against black people. Increased poverty has been associated with negative outcomes for people. Poor people are mostly depicted as dysfunctional and not deserving of any form of assistance. This makes them delve further into poverty. Crime rates in poor backgrounds will increase and the area will be more prone to police presence, which means that more people are likely to end up in jail.

IV. Body Paragraph 3: In general, there is little that has been done to try and rectify the situation. A majority of policies are discriminatory and they are mostly against people of color. Poor people are disadvantaged because the policies recommend that more patrols be done in high crime areas, which are mostly populated by people of color. In essence, this means that people of color will undergo more police checks and random searches.

V. Body Paragraph 4: The most appropriate way…

Sources Used in Document:


Alexander, P. G. (1999). Inequality in Sentencing: Is Race a Factor in the Criminal Justice System. Law & Ineq., 17, 233.

Burch, T. (2015). Skin Color and the Criminal Justice System: Beyond Black?White Disparities in Sentencing. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 12(3), 395-420.

Clair, M., & Winter, A. S. (2016). How judges think about racial disparities: Situational decision?making in the criminal justice system. Criminology, 54(2), 332-359.

Hetey, R. C., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2018). The numbers don’t speak for themselves: Racial disparities and the persistence of inequality in the criminal justice system. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(3), 183-187.

National Academies of Sciences, E., & Medicine. (2018). The Criminal Justice System and Social Exclusion: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Stringer, R. J., & Holland, M. M. (2016). It's not all black and white: A propensity score matched, multilevel examination of racial drug sentencing disparities. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 14(4), 327-347.

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