Everyday 2,220,300 inmates live their lives in prisons throughout the United States. That’s 0. 91% of the adult population, or 1 in 110 (Glaze 2013). What if you were next? The thought would scare anyone and the flaws in the system pose a threat to low income individuals and minorities. The sole purpose of the Justice System is to deliver justice for all, by only convicting and sentencing the guilty, while preventing offenders from reoffending.
The system was designed to protect the innocent. What if that was not the case? In fact, Out of the 733,000 people held in local jails at this time, 2/3 of them have not been onvicted and many are there simply because they are too poor to post even a small bail, while they await processing of their cases (Picchi, A. 2015). What if individuals were arrested solely because of the fact that they are poor or of a certain race? Would that make the system fair?
With countless unfair occurrences against poor individuals, minorities, and a system that actually stimulates a cycle of recurring crime, the United States Criminal Justice System is highly corrupt and must reform in order to withhold the constitution and provide justice for all. System Corruption: Race The war on race is arguably one of the longest battles in history and is very prevalent in the system today.
Every day, people are searched and questioned based on race alone. In fact, African American motorists were more than 2. times as likely as Whites to be searched by police and Hispanics were more than double the rate (Durose, Smith, & Langan, 2007). Furthermore, in a two-year study of 13,566 officer-initiated traffic stops in a Midwestern city, minority drivers were stopped at a higher rate than whites and more likely to be searched for contraband than whites (Leinfelt 2006).
Despite being stopped and searched uch more frequently, most studies of traffic stops find that discovery of contraband such as weapons and drugs is no more likely to be found among white drivers than among African American drivers (Alpert, G. 007). This proves that individuals are searched and questioned based upon race rather than factual evidence. Next, one study has also found that racial profiling was significantly higher in instances where minorities were driving in white, affluent neighborhoods (Meehan, et al 2002). Furthermore, more recent studies examining the influence of Hispanic ethnicity on arrests find biased policing ractices among this group as well (Reitzel, J. D. , Rice, S. K. , and Piquero, A. 2004). The system has a preconceived notion that minorities are more likely to committing crimes.
The racially discriminated often face biases in law and in a shocking discovery by Baldus & Woodworth in 2004, White victims are considerably more likely to receive a death sentence compared to Black victims. The court system was designed to have equal and just trials for all members of society, but not for all races. Not only do minorities face biases in sentencing but, A Office of Justice Systems Analysis in 1995 concluded that minorities harged with felonies were more likely to be detained than their white counterpart.
In fact, minorities were detained 10 percent more in New York City, and shockingly 33 percent more in other parts of the state. There is a strict distinction in these statistics that must be dealt with. In a system that is supposed to be just and fair, why would sentencing be different for a minority vs. white victim? Regardless of race, the United States Criminal Justice System must be unbiased and just. System Corruption: Cycle of Crime It is estimated that 25-50% of the homeless population have a istory of incarceration (Greenberg 2008).
This is mainly due to the fact that, according to NLCHP, despite the lack of affordable housing, many U. S. cities have criminalized life-sustaining activities, such as 34 percent of cities prohibit public camping, 18 percent prohibit public sleeping citywide and a third prohibit it in defined public spaces, and 24 percent ban begging citywide. Therefore, to enforce these rules, police conduct sweeps of areas where homeless people live, confiscating shelter, clothing, and even medication (No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U. S. Cities 2014).
Unfortunately, due to these police sweeps to book the homeless, individuals are often sent to jail solely based on the fact that they beg for money or sleep in a public setting (No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U. S. Cities 2014). With these small infractions, individuals receive a criminal history, which makes it much harder to find jobs. In fact, more than 50 percent of employers say that they would feel very hesitant to hire an employee with a criminal history.
Analysis has reflected that men with arrest records, even without conviction, earn lower salaries upon mployment. Of the nearly 70 percent of employers who conduct background checks, barely half give applicants a chance to explain their prior arrests (Bannon, et al 2010). This is an endless cycle of re-arrests that make finding a job nearly impossible. System Corruption: Poor The low income individuals of the lower class are strongly tyrannized by the U. S. Criminal Justice system as a whole.
Inherently, those who are least able to afford the fees are faced with the greatest financial burden (Albin-Lackey 2014). This is mainly the case because court costs, fines, and fees are often re-set through state statute (Ruback, 2004), and unattainable for individuals in the lower class. In fact, the Georgia private probation giant, Sentinel, is estimated to have relied on predatory fine collecting of individuals who could not pay for at least 40 percent of its revenue (Cherdoo 2015).
This is unfair for the lower class, and shockingly they actually accrue additional debt while in jail (Anderson, E. , et al 2014). The historic Supreme Court case Bearden v. Georgia was a step in the right direction. Bearden v. Georgia’s ruling established the constitutional right to a judicial inquiry into ability to pay. Unfortunately, this is up to interpretation, but a smoker buying cigarettes or someone having cable television service has been enough for a judge to conclude the willful nonpayment of these fees and thusly put them in jail without any further inquiry (Bannon, et al 2010).
Unsuccessfully, the resolution to the court isn’t held in a manner that would benefit the lower class individuals and thusly, the U. S. Correctional system is widely flawed against the poor. Possible Solutions with Limitations Although there are many diverse lenses that need reform, the economic perspective must be focused on. The fee structure is ften pre-set through state statute (Ruback, 2004), and should instead be dependent on the individual’s tax bracket. An individual making $13,550, or up to the Poverty Line (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services 2015), should not pay the same as an individual of a tax bracket of $250,000 plus.
As a limitation, the upper class would see this as an unfair concept because they are paying 51. 6% in income taxes (Pew Research Center 2014), and this number has been consistently increasing, and the upper class isn’t going to want to pay more for a now pre-fixed fee. Next, local courts should hold private robation companies to higher standards.
State and federal courts must regulate probation companies for Predatory fee practices like Sentinel, and uphold the ruling of the Bearden v. Georgia Supreme Court case. Stillman in 2014 introduces the limitation that many municipal courts are widely underfunded, and rely on probation companies because they promise high collection rates of fines at no cost to the government. In order to correct the existing corrupts in the Criminal Justice System, the State and federal government must administer the proper reforms to make the system as fair and just, so everyone is equal under law.