Posted: November 27th, 2013
Culture and the criminal justice system are related in a vast number of ways. Culture defines both the problem of crime in America and the nation’s response to the criminal justice. Culture is defined in the book and how it relates to the problem of crime, the offenders, the courts, the police, the penal system and how all the institutions relate. Peoplehood is said to be the membership of people in one political community. In this community, they have a common set of rules that govern them and the rules are fair enough for all of them. The history of human culture is attributed to ideas and actions that humans used to perform since the beginning of time. Culture is the pattern of human knowledge, which is highly integrated along with beliefs and behavior (Tarver, Walker & Wallace, 2002). These are however dependent on the capacity in which the people have to learn and think.
Virtually all cultures are patterned however, the patterns change over time due to the increase in human creativity and this increases the diversification in distinct characteristics of societies around the world. Equity has generally dominated the conception of justice. Equality has shaped the policy of justice in itself along with its behaviors and expectations. Therefore, equity and equality are both quite critical in shaping the justice system. The tenets of equity and equality together with what they stand for are incorporated in the justice system since these are the tenets in which humans live by and are very critical in the harmonious existence of humans. Laws are simply known as sets and systems of rules that are usually enforced through sets of institutions. These are contained in the criminal justice system. These laws are however broadly constructed to form the constitution that governs the whole nation. The Criminal justice system is made up of three parts, the law enforcement or the police, the adjudication or the courts and the correctional system or the prisons, jails, parole and probation systems (Tarver, Walker, & Wallace, 2002).
The second chapter in the book talks about the African Americans in relation to the criminal justice system. The chapter examines the experiences of the African Americans in relation to the criminal justice system and how they are arrested, convicted and sentenced. In this second chapter, the book talks about the history of the black community in relation to the criminal justice system. The justice system is said to be oppressive to the black community and there are high rates of black incarcerations that result from this discrimination by the justice system. The justice system is said to incarcerate the blacks and the whites at very different rates and with very different sentences. This oppressive tendency by the justice system is highly criticized.
The system is said to have converted the racist times of the past into neo-racism by convicting the African Americans more than the whites (Tarver et al, 2002). The debate about African Americans and the criminal justice system discusses the unfair arrests of blacks and the unfair treatment of blacks in the courts. For instance, a black man and a white man might be arraigned in court at the same time for the same crime and the black man would get a heavier sentence and more severe punishment than the white man would. The book then describes how the justice system needs reforms and the stereotype that the black community is more responsible for crimes then the white needs to stop. The over sentencing and over punishing of the African American offenders also needs reforms since the prisons are filled with them and this does not create a solution to the problem but rather aggravates it. A description of how the African American suffers from not only the injustice in the justice system but also in the provision of social amenities like healthcare, employment, housing, and others is also highlighted in the book (Tarver, Walker, & Wallace, 2002).
The Hispanics are the most rapidly growing minority group in the United States. They represent a formidable social and political presence in America. Their culture has also flourished in the south and western states of America for many centuries. The Hispanics are also portrayed in the book as suffering the same fate the African Americans are. The Fifth Amendment declares equality to all American citizens and promises the process of law to all; however, the system is not as colorblind as it should be. The justice system should be a system where offenders are identified, arrested, tried, sentenced and offered parole or probation without looking at their skin color. African Americans and the Hispanics are the main victims and targets of racial profiling and are more likely to be arrested for crimes they have not committed.
The Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban Americans and the African Americans make up for only 30 percent of the total American population (Tarver et al, 2002). However, they make up for 60 percent of the prison population of the United States. The relationship between the Hispanics and the united state criminal justice system is being built and there are efforts to try to reciprocate the adversities that most minority groups including the Hispanics face under the judicial system. The book highlights how every American has a right to a fair trial under the judicial system. The disparities found in the judicial system are either attributed to the inability of the many ethnic minority groups to afford proper legal representation or in the lack of diversification in the makeup of the justice system representatives, this being judges. These representatives should be at all levels of the court system to create the diversity.
These first three chapters of the book attempt to address the issues concerning diversity in the cultural aspects of the criminal justice system. The chapters seek to characterize and define the cross-cultural interactions and provide formidable explanations as to why the American criminal justice system treats minority cultures as it does. The chapters try to summarize the historical and cultural issues and try to relate them to the emergence of the modern justice system. They also give overviews of the issues facing the victims and the professionals involved in the system.
Tarver, M., Walker, S. D., & Wallace, H. (2002). Multicultural issues in the criminal justice system. Boston, MS: Allyn and Bacon.
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