The criminal justice system given to the Hispanic community living in the United States is said to be quite unfair. Defendants who are Latinos are sent to prison 3 times more than the whites and are detained before trial for offenses that they commit for the first time. This is surprising because among all the ethnic groups, the Hispanics do not have a criminal history.
Other Inequities that Latinos Experience
The inequities in criminal justice system that Hispanics suffer from are said to have stemmed from a number of factors and these are the following:
- Factors that foster the incarceration rates of low-level drug and immigration cases to increase – policy initiatives like ‘mandatory minimum’ sentencing.
- Certain law enforcement and court proceedings that involve systematic discriminatory practices. For example, over charging criminal offenses done by Latinos and hiring non-bilingual personnel who are often biased. These situations lead to higher arrest rates for the Hispanic community in the U.S.
- Releasing media portrayals and other channels that give Hispanics bad reputation. This allows the public to create wrong ideas about them.
There are more key findings that are related to the unequal treatment given to the Hispanic community in the country. In significance to the criminal justice system, the Latinos often experience injustice during arrest, prosecution and sentencing and even extended to incarceration. It’s a sad fact that there is evident discrimination between the Hispanics and the whites who commit the same offenses.
Some of the problems that occur during the arrest stage are racial profiling and focusing on poorer ‘high crime’ communities which generally affects people of color. The members of Hispanic community are unequally represented by their fellow licensed attorneys who are usually underpaid and overworked by their firms.
According to information provided by the state courts, in the years 1994 to 1998 71% of Hispanic defendants who were then represented by lawyers were sentenced to incarceration. Those who were given private attorneys suffered from a lower percentage of the same sentencing.
Moreover, Hispanics are unequally charged with non-violent drug offenses which are usually low level too. Lastly, they are also arrested for varying immigration violations. In fact, the arrests for such offenses have increased by 610% over the last ten years from 1990 to 2000. Examples of crimes that can result to deportation are shoplifting and brawling. Some of the alternative punishments that are proposed in place of incarceration are rehabilitation and bail.