The democratic system in the United States is the world’s most ethnically and economically diversified system. However, economic progress is not evenly distributed among the population because of the systemic marginalization of the people of color in American society on the basis of racial discrimination. Treating Blacks and other people of color unfairly across the criminal justice system subsequently lead to public mistrust due to unwarranted racial inequities. The main factors that imply overt racial disparities in the criminal justice system are criminal activity, legislative regulations, criminal justice practitioners’ unguarded race-based decision-making, and focus on specific neighborhoods being marginalized in the United States. Furthermore, racial inequity as a major societal issue emerges from unfair treatment of persons of color with characteristics related to race or color due to the unjust providence of basic needs such as unemployment (Tracy, 2005).
However, the criminal justice system in the United States suggests that it is blind to color, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, etc., but in reality, it is not. To address this disparity in the US criminal justice system, Presidential Committee has invited me to share the penny for my thoughts as their expert witness to reconsider how racial inequity impacts the rules and policies of Law and Justice. The racial disparity I have witnessed during the session as an expert witness is that Blacks are overrepresented as compared to Whites at every stage of the US criminal justice system. There were hearings of powder cocaine offenses’ prosecutions and arrests as the police seem to focus more on Hispanics and Black communities because of so-called tough-on crime policies that direct police and law enforcement agencies to arrest more people from neighborhoods of Hispanic and African-American communities. The significantly troubling thing in all that process and criminal justice system is that racial disparity and inequity throughout the society are due to the conscious racial bias.
Why Sociology Matters
Sociology plays a significant role in the criminal justice system to help its representatives such as police, prosecutors, judges, etc. take a view on how they should respond to the criminals, perpetrators, offenders, as well as victims. In the case of hearings regarding prosecutions and arrests due to powder cocaine, it has been proved that there is no indication that only African-Americans or people from Hispanic communities sell or use drugs more than Whites. Yet, still, all of the enforcement of laws and punishments are predominantly concentrated in Black neighborhoods. Over-representation of all the crimes connected with people of color than Whites has made the criminal justice system blind to racial disparity. This over-representation of people of color involved in crimes especially selling and using drugs has tied the hands of the judges and they are not able to give their verdict on the disparity at various stages in the criminal justice system based on racial inequity (Tracy, 2005). Sociology in this regard implements new Law and Justice Models to emphasize an interdisciplinary understanding of cultural, institutional, and socio-economic environments as well as redesign existing liberal education programs.
Lectures on the War On Drugs
Dr. Hill presented lectures on War on Drugs which was a famous campaign against drug sales and use in the United States and neighborhoods by prescribing heavy sentences for the violators who were found involved in that crime. Hill mentions that this war dates back to the 70s during the Nixon administration to rehabilitate those who were addicted and prevent the new addicts. Dr. Hill states that the Drug War has waged an unwinnable war in Central America, Mexico, and several other parts of the United States that have packed the planet into violation of the basic individual rights, and prisons are packed with Black people because of racial discrimination, murder and chaos around the world but people whether they are Whites or Blacks still use drugs more than ever. The consequences of the War on Drugs as Hill mentions in lectures have made Black typecast as criminals with results leading to racial disparity. This narrative has caused a number of issues for Black people such as no effective interactions with the public, government, and criminal justice system, issues with finances, employment, education, and many more in the discriminatory US society.
Alexander Main Points Chapter 1 and impact
In chapter 1 of “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, racism is acceptable as this societal discrimination has changed throughout US history to fit into the times and modern age. Jim Crow laws replaced the fate of Blacks who when brought to the United States were treated as slaves. Their slavery was ended through the implementation of Jim Crow laws as they were placed at the bottom of a racial caste system. Those laws regulated, suppressed, and monitored Blacks in all parts of the planet however Alexander sheds light on the civil rights movements that made another racial system emerge in place of Jim Crow laws that took form under the Nixon administration in the 70s through the War on Drugs. In this chapter, Alexander contradicts several myths in the criminal justice system of the United States that believe that the Emancipation Proclamation had set all the African-Americans free but it had impacted the legal freedom of Blacks. Their freedom was undermined through the racially biased criminal justice system, extreme poverty, racist violence, and slavery-like labor.
Alexander Main Points Chapter 2 and impact
Chapter 2 of “The New Jim Crow” discusses race in terms of how the criminal justice system blindly works neglecting racial disparity as she illuminates the concept through the example of a drug offense that how someone with color characteristics can be arrested and charged by police because of the War on Drugs. Alexander argues the impact of racial disparity in the criminal justice system is that there are very few checks and balances in the Law and Justice System that abuse the power of representatives of the Justice System and also violates civil right laws (Alexander, 2011).
Alexander Main Points Chapter 3 and impact
In chapter 3, Alexander describes some common myths of the US criminal justice system about race relations in today’s modern American society that the Law and Justice system thinks that we live in a post-racist society where no one is racist and all bigotry is gone. However, everyone is equally racist in today’s modern America. Alexander argues that these myths might have been promulgated by the liberal elites of America who are actually the reason behind racial disparity and want all the world’s population to believe that they have potentially eradicated all the racial issues from the US society (Alexander, 2011). However, indeed, this is not true at all as liberals have dismantled social welfare reforms under Bill Clinton’s presidency. These reforms were based on the myths instigating racial disparity further in the society that believe Blacks were lazy leeches who were living off and feeding on hardworking prospective Whites.
Alexander Main Points Chapter 4 and impact
Alexander in chapter 4 jumps to argue that black people have the same rights when they were slaves as today’s criminals have. Free Blacks still faced the risk of being punished and prosecuted and faced intense prejudice. Alexander discusses the position of the freed felons who faced intense stigma, exclusions, punishments, arrests, and kidnapping as the one social group in the United States “we have permission to hate.” Alexander further identifies one of the significant lacks in the criminal justice system of America that laws and policies of the US Law and Justice System that might seem appealing to the population who has civil rights such as people who can vote have a catastrophic impact on the people of color especially felons and the people around. The corrupt nature of the US criminal justice system makes Black people especially offender’s face a strong stigma while striving for employment opportunities due to criminal and racial discrimination (Alexander, 2011).
Alexander Main Points Chapter 5 and impact
Alexander in chapter 5 of “The New Jim Crow” frames mass incarceration that a noticeable proportion of Black men are missing in the United States and Law and Justice System have failed to tackle the problem of Blacks “abandoning” their communities. She provides statistical examples of mass incarceration due to racist injustice and compares the phenomenon to a “birdcage with a locked door” that which black males of the African-American community are imprisoned as the population “underclass” by the racially biased police system due to “invisible” punishments. Michelle Alexander’s argument about the “invisible” punishments and “mass incarceration” sheds light that racism and brutality of the criminal justice system of the United States are always abhorrent (Alexander, 2011). She argues about the striking thing about the uniqueness of mass incarceration which is due to racialized social control and viewed through the specific context of racist trials and chain gangs due to the War on Drugs. Alexander explicitly compares the mass incarceration of Black males of the African-American and Hispanic communities to the Jim Crow laws and states that both the systems are equally unjust.
Alexander Main Points Chapter 6 and impact
Alexander describes the case of the “Jena 6” when African-American young people, celebrities, and activists gathered to join hands to protest against the murder charges against 6 black teenagers who were accused of murdering their white classmate. She argues that the case of Jena 6 suggests that people recognize and be enraged by spectacular and visible symbols of racism instead of “old-fashioned racism” in the hope of tackling the racial disparity of the present era. Alexander’s insistence on the corrupt criminal justice system reforms explicitly indicates that these reforms are none other than “futile” and that such small reforms will be subsumed under the disparities and corruption of the overall criminal justice system (Alexander, 2011). She suggests that the system must be changed at its core so that the societal issues people of the color face including mass incarceration can be eradicated from society. The reforms must not only be just an abstract proclamation of the revolution but the actual implementation of dismantling the drug war and demilitarization of ordinary law enforcement agencies and police forces.
Ch. 12 Political Crime and Terrorism and outcome
Chapter 12 of “Political Crime and Terrorism” describes terrorism, political crimes, and their impacts. The crimes intended for political designs are actually criminal acts that are committed for ideological purposes in which criminals believe that they follow a higher morality through their crimes against the government or the state that supersedes the law and justice as well as society. Such political crimes are often committed by the representatives of the government to harm the law and justice system or against the government or state by the political chain gangs. The political crimes that are often committed by the government lead to violations of human rights. These crimes often deal with illegal searches, undercover surveillance, arrests, and detention that subsequently lead to violation of the amendments in the laws and regulations of the constitution. Offenders commit crimes that constitute a threat against the government or state for ideological purposes in the eyes of criminals which is termed a “political crime” against the state.
Conclusion to Presidential Committee and Recommendations
As an expert witness to be the part of hearing I thanked for the opportunity to make the representatives realize that the Law and Justice System is failing due to racial disparity that has led to public mistrust. We have had several expert witnesses who had testified to the significantly growing racial disparities that are needed to be addressed in the criminal justice system of modern America. Instances of true prejudice or racial bias during the hearings of powder cocaine are investigated that require proper attention in order to handle prosecuting criminal matters. There are statistics that show white men use and sell more drugs and cocaine than non-whites but still, they are considered perpetrators because of the prejudice among African-Americans and Whites. I recommended Justice Integrity Act to address the real perceptions of bias and racial disparity in the criminal justice system and federal law enforcement. This legislation would establish an advisory group consisting of judges, victims’ rights representatives, state defenders, and prosecutors, business representatives, civil rights organizations, and faith-based organizations. This advisory group would be for the five-year pilot program and will be responsible for gathering data on the extent of racial discrimination at every stage of the criminal justice system. The US attorney would consider the recommendations, legislations, and adoptions of the plans and laws, to ensure progress towards racial equality. These recommendations would be sent to Attorney General who further would submit a comprehensive report to Congress that would ensure the best racial equality practice in the criminal justice system. The first reason why this legislation should be emphasized is that it envisions bringing together all the related stakeholders of the criminal justice system through an inclusive process. Secondly, it would recognize different societal issues prevailing in the society due to racial segregation if the advisory groups would be established throughout the country to tackle public mistrust and blindness of biased community perceptions of the criminal justice system.
Tracy, Paul E. “Race, ethnicity, and juvenile justice.” Our children, their children (2005): 300-345.
Alexander, Michelle. “The new jim crow.” Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 9 (2011): 7.