The Supreme Court has given a given a go ahead to the police and the investigators to use race to determine whether one is suspicious of committing a crime or not.
This practice has encouraged discrimination in the justice system. This is because, police consider blacks more suspicious than the whites and as a result, most crimes are linked to them. Claims have also come up that the African Americans are over sentenced by the courts of law. They are given capital punishment for crimes that warrant communal work. In Georgia it was found that the police were most likely to seek a death penalty for an African American convict than for a white.
Studies showed that death penalty was sought for seventy three percent of the blacks accused of murder compared to nineteen percent of the whites. In the prisons, it was found that the number of African Americans who served longer jail terms was much higher than that of the whites (Covington, Jeanette, 2002). Many people have however discredited reports showing existence of racial criminal justice system. They have explained that; the major differences in racial composition of criminal offenders and not racial discrimination explained why more African Americans than whites were convicted and consequently imprisoned.
A nineteen ninety one study of twelve thousand cases in California revealed that the small racial disparities in the length of prison terms was as a result of previous criminal records and other variables which were considered relevant and legally acceptable. In nineteen ninety five, a departmental survey of country’s largest states and urban regions, revealed that the probability of an African American being prosecuted after committing a felony was lower than that of the whites. When the cases proceeded to trial, the African Americans had a lesser chance of being found guilty. All these reports show that disparity in the justice system applies across all races and not just to a particular race.
A report analyzing the number of felony convictions in the state of Georgia, in nineteen eighty seven showed that the African Americans received more lenient punishment than the whites. Various reports have been used to tell the trend in crimes across different races. Such reports include: These reports are collected monthly but processed annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These report systems collect and review data on various crimes reported across all the states in the United States. Under this system, crimes are indexed under a maximum of two headings.
The first heading indexes offences that include murder, arson, rape, robbery with violence, motor vehicle theft burglary and homicide. The second heading indexes offences that include fraud, drug related offences, weapon offences and simple assault. According to these reports forty nine percent of blacks and forty eight percent of American Indians reported cases of assault against them between the years of nineteen ninety nine and two thousand. The number of whites and Asians who reported cases of assault against them to the police was significantly lower.
The Asians were forty percent while the whites were forty two percent. These Uniform Crime reports have been termed by some people as inaccurate. Critics say that such reports focuses more on street crimes, ignoring other types of crime such as the federal and corporate crimes. The police can also provide misleading information on certain crimes causing misrepresentation of facts.
These reports are considered by some, to be prone to manipulation by the law enforcers. This is because the data issued by the police cannot be verified as correct. Lastly, such reports are considered inaccurate because they derive their conclusions from crimes reported to the law enforcement agencies. They do not take into account crimes committed but not reported to the police.
In order to take care of these limitations, National Crime Victimization Survey program was established in the early nineteen seventies.