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Cultural Perspective On Crime

1. Do you feel that minorities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system (CJS) because of prejudices within the system?

I need ideas on what type of infromation to include to address this question. Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you.

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Please see response attached (Posting 115770.doc), which is also presented below. I also attached two highly relevant and supporting articles. I hope this helps and take care.


1. Do you feel that minorities are over-represented in the criminal justice system because of prejudices within the system?

Have you given some thought about what side of debate that you would like to position yourself?

For illustrative purposes, lets' assume that you want to argue that minorities are over-represented in the criminal justice system, at least in part, because of prejudices within the system. However, there is more to the story.

The criminal justice system (CJS) exemplifies the way institutionalized prejudice can negatively affect minorities. For example, African American's and American Indians are over-represented in every step of the criminal justice system from informal contact with the system and arrests to sentencing and even capital punishment. The disparity throughout the system are suggestive of the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia in which the death penalty was declared unconstitutional due to the fact that it was arbitrary, had extreme racial and economic imbalances, and did not provide sufficient due process safeguards. These topics arose again with former Governor Ryan's blue ribbon committee on capital punishment and the eventual 2000 moratorium in Illinois based on the committee's findings that the death penalty is still arbitrary and wrought with prejudice and inconsistencies. http://www.luc.edu/curl/cfm40/issue8.html

Research and statistical findings of the over-representativeness of minorities in the CJS, clearly support prejudices in the CJS. For example, there have been extensive studies on racism in the justice system in Canada; usually utilizing statistical research to prove racism exists in the justice system. These studies often begin with a consideration of whether racialized peoples are over-represented in the criminal justice system. Statistics clearly demonstrate that First Nations Peoples in Canada are the most over-represented group in the criminal justice system. Studies show that provincially, First Nations peoples are incarcerated at rates that are 6-7 times the overall provincial rate. For example, in Manitoba, 60% of prisoners in provincial jails are First Nations Peoples, while 70% of women in provincial jails, and 75% of juveniles in Winnipeg's detention centres are First Nations Peoples (York, 1990). http://www.crr.ca/Load.do?section=26&subSection=37&id=242&type=2

Similar findings are also found in United States for the American Indians and http://www.ncja.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Policies_and_Practices&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=1220 African Americans. For example, in Hennepin County in 1999, there were some interesting findings:

· African Americans represented over half (51.5%) of the arrests for violent crimes1 and whites represented 29.5% of violent crime arrests.
· Of all counties in Minnesota only Ramsey County was ...

Solution Summary

This solution looks at both sides of the controversy of whether or not minorities are overrepresented in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) because of prejudices within the system. Statistics and research validated. Supplemented with two highly informative articles on racism in the CJS and African Americans in CJS.