Racial Profiling: Who Gets it Worse When the Gavel Comes Down?

As of 2013, there are over 1,617,478 people incarcerated across the United States (Federal Justice). Almost 50 percent of all males incarcerated across the United States are non Hispanic Black males (Federal Justice). Of all the ethnic groups, Black Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, and Native Americans have the highest level of incarceration (Federal). Laws exist that allow attorneys to pick and dismiss any jurors they choose before the trial begins. There is high number of cases documented when jurors are dismissed because of the relationship between their race and the defendant’s race. In cases regarding drugs and other illegal substances, hispanics are sentenced the most. In cases regarding violence and abuse, blacks are sentenced the most. When hispanics face drug charges, they tend to draw more severe sentences than whites facing the same charges. Similarly, when blacks face violence charges, they receive harsher sentences than whites with the same sentence. Because of the high level of racism in the courtroom, there must be reformation laws of how jurors are selected, and mandatory minimums and maximums judges must follow in accordance to the offense.

Sentencing prejudice and mandatory minimums causes more colored ethnicities to receive longer and harsher punishments than whites who had committed the same crime. Each race has a crime that it isnormally suspected of and punished more for compared to whites. Latinos are sentenced toharsher punishments in cases regarding drugs or other illegal items that are smuggled into the country (Steffensmeier, Ethnicity). This can cause them to be thought of to commit the crime again even if it is theirfirst offense. For example when other races are arrested for this crime, they may receive the mandatory minimum sentence. However it is more likely for a Latino to be given a longer sentence than the mandatory minimum when they are arrested for the same crime simply because the judge may think they will commit the crime again (Steffensmeier).

Another prominent minority discriminated against is African-Americans. They, as well as Latinos, have a certain crime for whichthey are specifically discriminated against. African- Americans are more often given harsher punishments and longer jail time in cases referring to violence and illegal weapons (Steffensmeier, Ethnicity). Blacks are usually connected to violence- gang violence, domestic abuse, and murder. In these instances, similar to Latinos, Blacks are given longer stints than someone of a different race would who committed the same crime. In addition, race crimes are heavily punished. Evidence of black defendants on trial for crimes against white people receiving prejudice throughout their trial (Kleck). Recently, race crimes have been a significantissue. Data and analysis of current events on trials are yet to exist since the incidents have been so recent. When the data is on record and experts analyze it, it should tell a promising tale of how the events affect other people of the same race in the courtroom. Interestingly enough, whites receive the death penalty more than blacks on a percentage basis. This is because there is a larger group of blacks convicted of crimes warranting the death penalty (Steffensmeier, Ethnicity)

When dealing with criminals, there is one factor that is immediately evident and causes preconceived judgment before the trial. In order to correct this, the people in place who are able to make the mistake of judging a criminal based upon his ethnicity must be controlled and regulated. Judges cannot have as much power, because it can, and does often, lead to unjust sentences. They must be directed to follow mandatory minimums for first time offenders and even repeat offenders. Once these laws have been created, the court systems need to enforce these laws, not continue to act as they would without any new regulations. People need to be seen for their actions and behavior rather than their race. They must judged alongside everyone else because of their crimes, their priors, and their behaviors, rather than what they look like.

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