Racial Profiling In Criminal Justice

734 Words 3 Pages
In Modern day America racial profiling has become a major issue. According to Higgins (2008), profiling is a conglomeration of physical, behavioral, and psychological components that increase the probability of apprehending a suspect. During the 1980s, law enforcement began introducing race as a trait for profiling an individual. This was during the rise of drug use in the United States. Racial profiling allowed law enforcement officials to identify drug couriers. Since the introduction of this method, racial profiling has become a staple in the criminal justice field. Thus, the issue of racial profiling is important to understand because of the nature of the racial component attached to profiling. Race has become a major issue with the criminal …show more content…
The law provides boundaries for officials to work within, however, it does not eliminate them from utilizing discretion. The decisions to intervene in a situation, cite, arrest, or prosecute the individual are all greatly discretionary (Greenleaf, Skogan, & Lurigio, 2008). A police officers ability to utilize discretion is the beginning of what could lead to a long judicial process. When making a traffic stop, they have the decision to issue a verbal warning or issue a ticket. A major downfall to law enforcements discretionary character is ethnic or racial profiling. When examining racial profiling from the standpoint of law enforcement, it is defined as an officer focusing on an individual’s ethnicity or race verses focusing on the individual’s behavior (Greenleaf, Skogan, & Lurigio, 2008). The officer’s ability to utilize discretion facilitates the use of racial profiling. The extent to which racial profiling is used in the criminal justice system is still unknown and remains an open …show more content…
This theory has been backed by a theory developed in 1967 by Hubert Blalock known as the “Racial Threat Theory”. This theory was developed as a means to explain racial disparities that have been examined in the criminal justice system. Blalock’s racial threat theory argues that social organization is based on competition between races. Various races and ethnic groups are in a constant fight over valued resources. “Racial threat theory proposes that racialization occurs when Caucasians use their disproportionate power to implement state-control over minorities and, in the face of a growing minority population, encourage more rigorous, racialized practices in order to protect their existing power and privileges” (Dollar, 2014 pp 1). Blalock’s racial threat theory has been widely accepted among the research community. From his research, it has often been concluded that the fear of Caucasians losing dominance combined with the fear of a rising crime rate due to minority increase has often led to authorities establishing laws, policies and procedures that target minorities (Lee, Jang, Yun, Lim, & Tushaus, 2010). Due to this fear, law enforcement officials are often utilized as a means of social control along with incarceration. The examination of law enforcement resources were found to be greatly disproportionate. Resources were majority used for law enforcement to patrol minority

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