Many times, people of different races receive different treatment from the criminal justice system.
But this is not the only problem for them. The same criminal justice system is populated by racial minorities more than their proportionate share in the population overall.
What is Racial Disparity in Criminal Justice?
Racial disparity in criminal justice exists when the share of a racial group in the criminal justice system is more than their proportionate share in the overall population of any country or a region.
In the United States, for example, Black people constitute almost 13.4 percent of the American population, but they make up to 50 percent of incarcerated people.
America is not alone in this, and almost every country on the face of the planet is somehow discriminating against racial minorities in the criminal justice system.
Be it the UK, Canada, Norway, or any other self-proclaimed developed country; if you see racial minorities making up a fair share of jails, it is just because racism is prevalent everywhere.
This results in racial disparity in the criminal justice system.
What are the Causes of Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System?
There can be various reasons for racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Some of them include:
1- Emphasis of law enforcement against a particular community.
2- Laws that differentiate on the basis of race.
3- Biased criminal justice practitioners.
4- Ignorance about social justice stakeholders.
5- Weak accountability practices.
6- Lack of training of criminal justice staff machinery.
7- Partial analysis of crime patterns
What are the effects of racial disparity in criminal justice?
1- It Results in Human Rights Abuses: Allowing racial disparity in the criminal justice system results in pervasive human rights abuses. Reportedly, Blacks and Latins in America are treated harshly for both high-level and low-level crimes compared to their white counterparts.
Who does not know the stories of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and countless other Blacks who became the victims of police brutality in the United States?
Few such stories are found against whites in the same country, which suggests that racial injustice creates racial tensions in any society. Police’s soft stance against Capitol Hill insurrectionists on January 6, 2021, would have been completely different had the protesters been Black people.
2- Negative Perception of Police: The general public started developing a negative perception against the police and the criminal justice system as a whole as they see injustices everywhere.
Many different polls have established that white people are more likely to describe their experience with the police as “good” compared to Blacks, who suggest that their interaction with the cops has mostly been negative.
It means that racial minorities can avoid interactions with police and are less likely to report the crimes against them.
3- Threat to Just Practices: As the famous saying goes, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. These discriminatory practices result in the deterioration of just practices in any society.
This sort of timeline is usually the beginning of the genocide, where a specific group of individuals is being treated differently systematically, resulting in their persecution.
4- Threat to Democracy: Democratic practices die slowly under brutal regimes, and the same is the case with racial disparity in the criminal justice system.
Treating people differently is not only prohibited in most countries legally, including America, but it is also a violation of a human rights charter.
5- Trigger Long-Term Ignorance: At a time when the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is already facing legal challenges, racial disparity in the criminal justice system is impacting the minds of new generations.
Most students remain unaware of these practices, as they get limited exposure to these studies. This gives birth to radical ideas where people start believing that white supremacy is a hoax, despite the fact that there is ample evidence against it.
6- Public Image of Racial Minorities Shatters: The public perception of racial minorities deteriorates, as not everyone can dig deep and find the genesis of the problem.
Many people start believing that racial minorities commit more crimes, which may not necessarily be the case in most communities.
Incarceration based on the biological features of any human being is surely the lowest level to which any criminal justice system can fall. This practice needs to end as it only results in persisting chaos both in the long and the short term.