Race Sentencing Essay

Submitted By Labrujitamex1
Words: 1443
Pages: 6

Running head: Race 1

Race Sentencing

Jessica Arreola

Stephanie Velona

ENG 122

Justice is supposed to be color blind but often we find ourselves questioning this statement. According to the Bureau of Justice, people of color make up about 30% of the population in the United States, however account for 60% of the population in prison. Can it be that our country built for individuals freedom and for equal opportunity really just act in unfair ways towards minorities? In order to fully be able to answer this question, we must examine the racial disparity in the imposition of sentencing. The U.S fails to deliver on the democratic ideal that the U.S Criminal Justice System ensures fairness and equality to all under the law.
The United States is said to have the best justice system in the world. Many people have brought up the question as to whether or not the judicial branch operates equally and within their right protocols, or if there seem to be cracks in the system that will often let certain races fall through. Perhaps the most crucial evidence that supports the argument of racial inequality, would be all the statistics. As mentioned earlier, people of color make up only 30% of the population in the United States, but are responsible for 60% of the population in prison. Studies show that 47% of drug related crimes were committed by white people, however white people make up only 20% of mandatory drug convictions while the other 80% are made up of minorities. Studies by the Department of Justice also show that minorities are three times more likely to get pulled over on a routine traffic stop, and are four times more than likely to experience the use of force during their stop. According to the Bureau of Justice, there were about 242,000 school related referrals to law enforcement, yet out of those 96,000 that became arrests, minorities made up 70% of the arrests. The district attorney states that there are three main contributing factors that they look for in each case in order to determine the most reasonable sentence in accordance to the crime. One being, financial stability, the second – how well of a family support system the offender has, and third – the criminal themselves. These three factors can be the reasons why the numbers are they way that they are. Justice works best to those who can pay for it. Finances are a contributing factor to these statistics. A criminals sentence can be greatly impacted due to financial reasons. Someone with more money has the resources to hire a better lawyer as opposed to someone who has a public defender appointed to them by the court. Public Defender's usually have too many cases assigned to them, to be able to put much time, effort, and energy into each individual case. The area in which someone lives also plays a role. Minorities usually are the main population in more rural areas. There tends to be more schools in rural areas, and if a crime is committed near school grounds then it adds on to the severity of the crime. A strong family support system also plays a role. If the criminal goes into court with a strong family supporting him, then it gives off the impression that the criminal will have more support and positive influence to do positive and stay away from crime. Ultimately it is the district attorney who decides where the case will take the criminal. In each case, it is the prosecutors decision to consider offering the offender a plea bargain. Then it is the district attorney’s decision to consider whether the offender can be referred for treatment rather than imprisonment. Often minorities do not fit the certain image that the district attorney considers a possible opportunity to better themselves. Even with all the deciding