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American Criminal Justice

            This essay will critically evaluate the evidence for the view that the American criminal justice system is racist, comment on the view that the Justice system is racist, with evidence gathered from both sides of the argument, and will conclude to agree with the view that the system is racist. "We cannot run society for the privileged and allow a significant proportion of the population to be marginalized. It impacts the quality of life for all of us if we have throw away' people. A justice system which tolerates injustice is doomed to collapse." Leonard Noisette, Former Director, Neighbourhood Defender Service of Harlem, NY.
             America is the most racially diverse democratic nation in the world. Gains in economic prosperity, however, are not uniformly shared across society, with sections of American communities becoming marginalised. One aspect of this is the disparate treatment of persons of color which occurs across the entire American criminal justice system. Racial and ethnic disparity foster public mistrust of the criminal justice system and this impedes the ability to promote public safety.
             Disparities in the system can be seen from a New York state study which found that ethnic minorities charged with felonies were more likely to be detained than whites. 38% of prison and jail inmates were African American, compared to their 13% share of the overall population. Latinos constitute 19% of the prison and jail population compared to their overall 15% share of the population. (The Sentencing Project 2008) The impact of racial disparity can also be seen in the juvenile justice system. While African American youth represents 17% of their age group within the general population, they represent 46% of juvenile arrests (The Sentencing Project 2008). The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 of going to jail is 32% or 1 in 3. Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance.

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