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Essay on National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice

2 pages
437 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
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In the 1960s, the American criminal justice system was characterized by a startling combination of impartial court system, brutal police force, and a rising crime epidemic. Owing to these challenges, President Lyndon Johnson summoned the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the causes of the widespread riots (National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals 1971).

In 1960s a significant percentage of minority groups viewed police as individuals who symbolized a society that denied the blacks and Latinos equal justice (Kentucky Department of Justice, 1974). Police actions ignited racial-based riots in almost all the cities across the United States. Secondly, the adoption of due process limited the police power in curbing crime. In 1961, the Warren Commission expanded the citizens due process rights while limiting the police power. Moreover, the 4th and the 5th amendments limited the police power to question, arrest, and seize properties without abiding by the law. Finally, between 1960 and 1969, the street crime rates skyrocketed from 3.3 million to over 9 million (South Carolina Department of Justice 1975). Additionally, the issue of drug trafficking and abuse extended from ghettos to white middle-class individuals.

The Kerner Commission associated the riots with racism. Remarkably the commission outlined that the nation was divided into two societies; the blacks and Whites, which were separate and unequal. In its report, the commission criticized the law enforcement agencies for brutality, excessive use of power and lethal weapons, racial prejudice, and underrepresentation of the minority groups.

Due to the changes recommended by various commissions, the police force increased the number of female police officers and the roles that they played in the police force changed drastically. Female officers were allowed to conduct patrols similar to their male counterparts. Moreover, the society agitated for recruitment of the minority groups, majorly Black-Americans and Latinos, into the police agency. Finally, there was improved social relationships between the whites and Negroes, an aspect that prompted social integration and reduction of racism.

In the efforts to initiate reforms, the police is encumbered by delinquency, ineptitude, unskillfulness, and deficient leadership skills by some of the police bosses. Consequently, this has limited the success level of the strategies reforms proposed. Moreover, the reforms recommended are capital intensive, and therefore some states may require long periods of time to establish efficient policing.


Kentucky Department of Justice (1974). Criminal justice standards and goals: A summary of standards and recommendations. Frankfort, Ky.: Dept. of Justice.

National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (1971). The Concise Dictionary of Crime and Justice. doi:10.4135/9781452229300.n1242

South Carolina Department of Justice. (1975). Position on National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. Columbia: S.C. Dept. of Corrections.

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