Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

Discrimination in the Criminal Justice SystemEthical Background

Politically defined or not, it has been agreed that racial discrimination is downright wrong and a violation of the principle of equality – which states that those who are equal should be treated equally regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. Equality is defined as a non-specific term that has no meaning until used to refer to a particular context. In the context of politics, this term means equal access to public office and equal treatment under the law which includes job opportunities, pay and promotion.

Race is a term used to refer to a group of individuals who have similar biological inheritance and are different from other groups. Ethnicity, on the other hand, refers to an individual’s identification with a specific group characterized by their own culture. The implemented law in the country calls for the distribution of benefits and burdens according to race and the racial assignment given to a person.

In general, racism means social attributes that determine the values of members of a categorized group based on their ‘race’. The three aspects of racism are personal prejudice, ideological racism and institutional racism.

Institutionalized Racism

This is when the policies and practices of institutions are implemented to bring about systematic and ongoing differences among all racial groups. Petit apartheid is an aspect of institutionalized racism that encompasses the daily informal or hidden interactions that take place between the authority and public citizen. These interactions include stop-and-search and stop-and-question practices that law enforcers usually do. Both practices may or may not lead to an arrest and consequent entry into the justice system used for criminal cases.

Historical Context

Hispanics, along with African Americans living in the United States, have suffered from cases of discrimination because of their race. They have been through slavery, segregation, exclusion and many more. During the inception of slavery in the early 17th century, they were treated like properties by their masters and considered as inferior people. They were subjected to slave codes that prohibited them from being free like the whites. They were maltreated and some were even exploited by their ‘owners’.

Racial Discrimination in the Justice System

Majority of the reports have shown that there is indeed an ongoing racial discrimination in the justice system of the country. According to data, there was excessive use of force by some of the officers which was influenced by racism and bias. The radio transmissions of the law enforcers were also filled with disturbing racial remarks that may lead to beating non-white suspects. Ongoing researches are still conducted by criminologists and all related bodies to fully determine if there is indeed a racial discrimination in the country’s justice system.

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