Essay on Racial Segregation And The American Criminal Justice System

1182 Words Oct 14th, 2016 5 Pages
It is undeniable that racial discrimination still plagues our nation. It seems that every other day another race motivated violent crime and abuse turns up in our newsfeeds. It is no surprise that forms of racial discrimination have seeped into the American criminal justice system. In fact, racial dispraises in capital executions per capita dates back to seventeenth-century colonial America where a greater number of blacks were executed compared to white citizens. This trend continued from the 18th century to the Civil War, where not only more blacks received the death penalty but were executed for non-homicidal crimes (e.g., attempted murder, rape, unknown crimes) than their white counterparts. Moreover, the most excruciating and cruel methods of execution were reserved for blacks (e.g., breaking on the wheel, gibbeting), mainly slaves found guilty of revolt or crimes against whites. The end of the Civil War and the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment did not abolish the racial disparities against black offenders with “prosecutorial discretion, all-white sentencing juries, and the practice of extrajudicial executions by lynch mobs.” Even at the turn of the 20th century, considered the most active period of capital punishment abolition, racial injustice played a significant role in death penalty sentencing (Steiker & Steiker, 2015).
Along with the historical significance, the Supreme Court has ruled over several cases that have shaped the national stand on racial…

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