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Annotated Bibliography on Racial Disparities in the US Criminal Justice System

7 pages
1772 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Annotated bibliography
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Merino, N. (2013). Criminal justice. Farmington Hills, MI, Greenhaven Press.

In this article, Merino indicates that there exist profound cultural biases in our criminal justice system. A high number of cases have been reported in multicultural societies particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. The author points that in the United States, the juvenile justice system is the most affected. The Hispanic and the African-American youths are in most cases considered to be mature and tried as adults. According to the author majority of African-American understand that probability of criminal justice system jailing them and giving them longer sentences is high compared to the same treatment on the whites who have committed the same offense (Merino 2013, p. 12). Merino demonstrated there are sufficient statistics that prove the existence of this injustice.

For instance, he estimated that Hispanic and Black Americans contribute about 30 percent of the population, but their populations in prisons are estimated to be 58 percent. The whites in America have an exclusive advantage and often benefit extensively from the court preferential treatment. The author demonstrated this treatment by using some statistics that show for every 17 white males suspected of committing crime living in the United States one will receive a lifetime sentence, unlike the case with the blacks where for every three black males suspected to have committed similar crimes one will be given a lifetime jail. Of all the black males between the age of twenty and thirty-four, eleven percent of them are currently serving different jail terms.

MILLER, J. G. (1996). Search and destroy: African-American males in the criminal justice system. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

According to Miller, the author of this article, racial profiling is a deeply and historically troubling national problem that has created strained relations between law enforcement agencies and African Americans and other minority groups such as Latinos and Asian communities in several countries including the United States and Canada (Miller 1996, p. 14). The author points that despite claims that the United States and Canada have entered a post-racial era, racial profiling continues to take place every day in towns and cities across these countries. According to him the process of racial profiling involves the increased targeting of people of color, the black Americans, by both private security and law enforcement agencies. The blacks are subjected to stops, searches, interrogations, and detentions without evidence of any criminal involvement solely based on their ethnicity, race and national origin.

Miller further pointed that for many centuries, racial profiling has been perpetuated by racist ideologies, acculturalization, criminalization, and racialization that establish the basis for racism in liberal democratic societies (Miller 1996, p. 21). These processes have established a narrative in the modern societies where certain groups, especially the African Americans, are disadvantaged and marginalized by whites. Therefore, Miller suggests that concerted and integrated measures should be implemented to prevent further escalation of racial profiling among law enforcement agencies.

According to Miller although police activities have played a leading role in advancing racial profiling in the modern societies, the media, politicians and other White elites in different institutions, on the other hand, has reinforced this racialization processes. This development has established racial profiling as an acceptable regime of truth that serves to reinforce and preserve systems of White social control and privilege that are centered in structures of dominance.

Petersilia, J. (2016). Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: A Summary. Crime & Delinquency. 31, 15-34.

In this article, Petersilia explains how in the United States the whites overemphasize the degree of crime that is committed by the minority groups especially the blacks (Petersilia, 2016, p. 6). According to him a high proportion of whites who implicate offense with Latinos and blacks have a high chance to support punitive measures when compared to the whites who have committed even severe crimes.

In his description, he pointed that there are variations in the kind of measures leverage upon crimes committed from state to state. For example, high rates of imprisonment are witnessed in the west and south states but relatively lower in the states based in Northeast and Midwest. According to him, this trend is prevalent because more blacks live in the states based in the western and southern regions. These states with the high number of African-American populations record the largest number of stricter punishment policies and incarceration (Petersilia, 2016, p. 9). According to the author, the main factor that has facilitated this cultural bias is the media. The media to a great extent usually overemphasize the minority groups as suspects but often labels the whites as a victim even when whites have committed the crimes. Also, the author claims that the public policies implemented by different governmental agencies have also facilitated this inequality.

Prison, P. I. (March 08, 2017). @AltBJS highlights important data on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Prison Policy Initiative, 2017-3.In this article, the author points that racial disparities in the criminal justice system are a prevalent problem in the United States. Ninety percent of white people who take part in this injustice indicate that there is a rampant racial discrimination between them and their blacks counterparts (Prison 2017, p. 7). Prison gave a case example of widespread killing of black teenage men in Missouri and Ferguson communities who are usually shot and murdered by the police officers. According to him, this is the main reason why the intense campaign of social outcry concerning racial tension in these communities is high.

Almost every white person in the United States justifies racial discrimination, and there is an inherent preference of white people over black people not only when it comes to criminal justice system but also in the professional, educational and social settings. The criminal justice bias attributed to the high number of black inmates in prison over the years is based on the biased prison systems, draconian drug enforcement, and legal systems. The article further highlighted how the government had done little to initiate intense scrutiny of prevalent racial injustice. Prison also noted in this article that incarceration rate of black citizens is high due to color factor. When the blacks insist on justice the situation often worsen and they are simply alienated and denied their rights. Therefore this demonstrates that the real solution of the crime problem does not occur in the court systems.

Hartney, C., Vuong, L., & National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2009). Created equal: Racial and ethnic disparities in the US criminal justice system. Oakland, CA: National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

This article highlights how racial factor has facilitated inequality in the criminal justice system. According to the authors, the court systems have not championed the adoption of just arbitration of crimes among different racial groups. For example, they pointed that in 2005, high incidences of homicides witnessed were associated with the blacks and it was seven times more than those committed by the Hispanics and whites combined (Hartney, Vuong & National Council on Crime and Delinquency 2009, p. 17). For almost four decades fifty-two percent of all murder cases have been attributed to the black citizens. Also in 2006, the authors claim that about forty percent of all those arrested for committing violent criminal offenses were mostly blacks.

As explained in the article the arbitrators and judges consented to these figures as true albeit with an absolute bias. Thus this underscores an inherent bias among the individual given the responsibility to undertake judicial decisions. The authors of the article demonstrated how they have observed judges and police over the years treat differently the whites and the blacks for the same crimes committed. This selective treatment is prevalent in different countries with multiracial ethnicities where police are known to arrest mostly the blacks and in most cases ignore the whites (Hartney, Vuong & National Council on Crime and Delinquency 2009, p. 26). As a matter of fact, due to widespread racial disparities, individual racial background have often been used as a benchmark to determine who to rest and the nature of prosecution to be carried out.

Lynch, M. J., Patterson, E. B., & Childs, K. K. (2008). Racial divide: racial and ethnic bias in the criminal justice system. Monsey, N.Y., Criminal Justice Press.The authors of this article "Racial divide: racial and ethnic bias in the criminal justice system," discusses how enforcement organs usually overcharge the blacks suspects. According to the authors, this phenomenon of post-arrest biased treatment is described as "Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for other (Lynch, Patterson & Childs 2008, p. 23). The authors highlighted the Holy Grail of criminology to underscore this phenomenon that has been established to ensure equal justice is administered to every suspect regardless of racial background. This is a prize that has been set and has become elusive to achieve in most court systems. This article utilized studies done by the criminologist Janet Lauritsen and Robert Sampson who examined extensive sentencing and charging literature from the courts and concluded that there exists massive racial bias in the criminal justice systems where ninety-nine percent of them demonstrate widespread profiling of black people. Thus they claim this as the reason why the majority of prisoners are blacks compared with the less number of whites serving longer imprisonment sentences.

Egharevba, S., & IGI Global,. (2017). Police brutality, racial profiling, and discrimination in the criminal justice system. Hershey, Pennsylvania (701 E. Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, PA 17033, USA) : IGI Global,

As explained by Egharevba and IGI Global in this article the practice of racial profiling has had a huge impact on the lives of the African Americans as well as other minority groups (Egharevba & IGI Global 2017, p.5). It has alienated the people of color the enjoyment of equal treatment from law enforcement agencies which has considerably limited community policing efforts. The unequal treatment by the police is highlighted in this article to have resulted in mistrust and loss of credibility among the African Americans on the security agencies. Instead of promoting justice and fairness in the entire communities by protecting people from harm regardless of their racial background, police has perpetuated racial profiling that subjects countless people of color to live in fear. The authors claim this kind of discrimination has set the entire minority communities as suspects simply due to their background and their racial identities.They further claim that as a result of the widespread racial profiling in the United States, the lives of a high number of African Americans have negatively been affected (Egharevba & IGI Global 2017, p.8). For instance, they pointed that from the beginning of slavery that lasted for more than two hundred and forty years, the people of color have been the target of systemic profiling in traffic and pedestrians stops.

The authors of this article also indicated that pol...

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