Racial Discrimination In The Criminal Justice System Research Paper

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The topic I chose to study for my report is racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. The first article I read was Skin Color and the Criminal Justice System: Beyond Black-White Disparities in Sentencing by Traci Burch which was published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. The second article I read was and Justice for Some: Race, Crime, and Punishment in the US Criminal Justice System by Jon Hurwitz and Mark Peffley which was published in the Canadian Journal of Political Science. This first article analyzed sentencing outcomes for first-time offenders black and white, not solely based on race but also by their skin colors. The author was trying to understand why blacks in the United States make up more than 36 percent …show more content…
The average of black first time offenders are prone to receiving higher incarceration sentences than whites regardless of crime type. Dark-skinned blacks receive longer sentences than both whites and light-skinned blacks after taking into account crime and demographics. Through this data the criminal justice system revealed that they differentiated between light-skinned blacks from their darker counterparts by assigning them different rights, privileges, and status within the system. The upper class continues to use this racial hierarchy in the criminal justice system to maintain the U.S. racial order, by putting the dark-skinned blacks in jail longer and less for the whites or lighter-skinned blacks. Burch believes that if the United States keeps discriminating based on the darkness of skin tone, the racial hierarchy in which whites are privileged relative to blacks can be considered alive and well in the United States. The second article sought out to determine the perceptions of the fairness of the Criminal Justice System (CJS), as well as the political consequences of these perceptions, by black and white individuals. The authors were trying to see if either of the groups saw discrimination in the CJS and if they were handled fairly when talking about white and black offenders. The main focus of this paper argued by the authors …show more content…
Inequality of race has always played a significant role in the convictions and sentencings of blacks, having harsher punishments for crimes. The method of using the inmate research file in the first article about sentencing was the best possible method that could have been used. On the other hand, if Burch surveyed civilians instead of using the inmate file about how the different skin tones of blacks were related to sentencing; I believe that there would be different outcomes in data and less realistic. In the second article the method of surveying “free” individuals for obtaining data, was a very smart choice. This is because they were trying to see the race of an individual would influence their opinions about the fairness of the criminal justice system. However, if the authors surveyed respondents that were in prison or have been to prison then I believe that they white respondents would have had a different opinion about the criminal justice system and the actors involved. In the first article Burch’s hypothesis was strongly exemplified by facts and in depth analysis of differences in skin tones and what they mean to sentencing. Both of the articles leave me with the same question, why are females excluded from all of the data? Also, if women were to be included in these analyses would that change

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