Current Sociological Theory

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This paper examines four current sociological phenomena and their resulting theories, offering possible explanations for the increasing problem of minority abuse by law enforcement. Although there are many other factors I have chosen to focus on racism (ACLU, 2015), militarization of the police force, (Jenkins, 2014) the hiring of veterans by law enforcement agencies (Jenkins, 2014) and a sociological phenomenon known as “the other” (Franzoi, 2012). Two of these seem to play a larger part in the problem as the other two forces are not recent developments and therefore less likely to be causative of a more recent issue.
Keywords: minority abuse, militarization of law enforcement The first and most obvious reason for the abuse of minorities
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As a result of the War on Drugs and latent racism in the justice system, in his lifetime, one out of every three black males can expect to be incarcerated. (ACLU, 2015) In spite of the fact that blacks and whites use drugs at approximately the same rate, blacks are incarcerated at ten times the rate of whites. One of the most obvious examples of this institutionalized racism is the sentencing structure for cocaine throughout much of the 1980’s and 1990’s. The sentencing structure for crack cocaine, favored in the inner city, and powdered cocaine, favored in the relatively affluent suburbs, provides a clear example. Sentencing for blacks and whites was so disparate that in 2002 the United States Sentencing Commission suggested in its report to Congress that perhaps in future Congress should allow the Commission to handle adjustments in this area. (United States Sentencing Commission, …show more content…
law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are able to acquire military grade equipment from the Department of Defense (DOD) through two different programs. The first of these was sanctioned by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997, Section 1033. Known as the 1033 Program this allows surplus DOD supplies and equipment to be transferred by the Secretary of Defense to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Since the inception of the program over 5 billion dollars has been transferred to federal and state agencies. More than half of this has been transferred in the last 5 years. Roughly 4% of transferred equipment has military application, making it controlled property. Controlled property is equipment designed by the military and on the Department of State Munitions Control List or the Department of Commerce Control List. As of 2014 controlled property in LEA hands includes 5,235 high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs or Humvees), 617 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles(MRAPs) 44,275-night vison devices and 92,442 small arms. (Executive Office of the President, 2014) DOD does not directly manage the need-assessment or dispersal of equipment. That is done by State Governor appointed State Coordinators. (Executive Office of the President,

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