Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

racial discrimination
Racial discrimination

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Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System

Racial discrimination as a deterrent to public safety efforts in America: A study of citizens’ trust on the criminal justice system

In the past decades, the United States has been proactive in addressing the racial discrimination issue.  However, the concern over unfairness and discrimination based on race remains a major cause of controversy within the criminal justice system.

Race and culture influences public safety policies immensely because there is need to design policies that address citizen needs without discrimination. Accordingly, public safety policy is developed through a series of write-ups that must be thoroughly scrutinized to determine that policy seeks to protect all citizens equally. In the event that public safety policy appears to negate from equal treatment public uproar is likely to result. This leads to questioning of values that underlie criminal justice policies and procedures; and the possibility that citizens could lose trust in the system due to unrelenting racial disparity (Lawrence, 2011).

This insinuates that until policies are further revised to create serious consequences for criminal justice officers who discriminate based on race and ethnicity, citizens’ trust on the justice system will continue to diminish (Durant, 2016). It is a mandatory obligation for the government to enhance citizens’ safety; while safeguarding equality grounded on racial or cultural background. This will ensure that public safety policies are effectively executed and that they are considered effective.

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It can be established that the U.S. is significantly committed towards ending discrimination in all aspects. Therefore, the criminal justice system is undergoing copious reforms, all which portray discrimination as unconstitutional and place emphasis on the need for professionalism within the system. However, discrimination still perseveres. A considerable number of citizens have been reported as serving jail term based on erroneous conviction (Smith & Hattery, 2011).

Minorities’ overrepresentation is also rampant, leading to continued questioning of the criminal justice system objectivity and whether every American can feel adequately protected by the system (The Sentencing Project, 2016). The police force is particularly as affected, having been criticized continuously in the recent past as being agents of discrimination. This is a serious predicament that the government must address, if its efforts towards enacting inclusive public safety measures are to be successful.

Based on this topic, the writer will demonstrate how racial discrimination has affected overall trust on the criminal justice system and how this is likely to impact public safety outcomes and policies.


Durant, J. M. (2015). Equal Protection: Access to Justice and Fairness in the American Criminal Justice System? Depaul Journal for Social Justice, 8(2), 175-198. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=29d32b56-8af3-487f-b80b-041bc4748a07%40sessionmgr4006&vid=1&hid=4205

Lawrence, K. O. (2011). Race, Crime, and Punishment: Breaking the connection in America. Washington, D.C: The Aspen Institute.

Smith, E., & Hattery, A. (2011). Race, Wrongful Conviction & Exoneration. Journal of African American Studies, 15(1), 74-94. doi:10.1007/s12111-010-9130-5

The Sentencing Project. (2016). Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved from www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Reducing-Racial-Disparity-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System-A-Manual-for-Practitioners-and-Policymakers.pdf

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