Us Justice Department & Racial Inequality Essay

2223 Words Oct 29th, 2011 9 Pages
U.S. Justice Department and Racial Inequality

Racial inequality in the criminal justice system is a belief that through research and statistics is a structural inequality that exists at different levels noted throughout the system stemming from those convicted and those convicting. According to literature published by the Leadership Conference, the nation’s premier civil and human right coalition, “racial inequality is growing, not receding. Our criminal laws, while facially neutral, are enforced in a manner that is massively and pervasively biased. The injustices of the criminal justice system threaten to render irrelevant fifty years of hard-fought civil rights progress” (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2011). In today’s
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Class 1, 2, and 3 involve either possession of a large amount or sale of a small amount leading to either probation or prison (Olson, 2000). Class X felonies include the sale or delivery of cocaine or heroin in 15 or greater grams leading to a minimum of six years in prison (Olson, 2000). The average length of incarceration for a class X offender in 1999 was 3.9 years while the average sentence was greater than eight years. Class four felons served an average of seven months when the average sentence was 1.8 years (Olson, 2000). According the BJS, Black male offenders serve more of their prison sentence that Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Whites (Greenfeld, 1995).
Finally, we must look at the criminal justice system structure itself. “A criminal justice system is a set of legal and social institutions for enforcing the criminal law in accordance with a defined set of procedural rules and limitations” (Frase & Weidner, YEAR). Though it would be difficult to produce a ratio of White non-Hispanic judges and African American judges due to prejudice, the African American judges remain the minority. Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to enter the U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1967-1991 (Brunner, YEAR). The first African American Federal Judge was William Henry Hastie in 1946 (Brunner, YEAR). The U.S. Supreme Court was established in 1789 with an all White male cabinet.

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