The Criminal Justice System Essay Research Paper

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The Criminal Justice System Essay, Research Paper The Criminal Justice System, a system the British government set up to deal with the treatment of law-breakers, has three main goals to achieve social order, these are, (1) enforcing criminal law, (2) maintaining law and order in the society, and (3) helping victims. This may seem to be a well thought of system, but like any other organisation, there are flaws, and one of the major flaws is discrimination, and the bias that stems from discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity operates at the level of attitude, on the street, in the home, at the workplace or at social venues. In regards to the Criminal Justice System, race and gender are always accounted for in court proceedings. As

Smith in 1997 said, “the apparent ‘fairness’ of the criminal justice system does not mean that the outcomes will necessarily be unbiased”. Tonry in 1997 found that even though certain ethnic groups are far more often caught in the net of criminal justice than others, they have elevated rates of official offending which differ from one country to another. The major ethnic group in Britain and Wales being black people whose families originated from the Caribbean in the 1940’s. (cited in the Oxford Handbook). Black people find themselves subject to rules made for them by white people, it is also the same for other groups living in the same culture, e.g. it seems to be men that make the rules for the women in society, even though this seems to be changing in the United

States. Foreign-born people often have their rules made for them by the Protestant Anglo-Saxon minority. The middle-class seem to make all the rules which must be obeyed by the vast majority – in the schools, the courts, etc. There are many models proposed within the criminology field that focus on the issue of discrimination. The first is the conflict theory. Conflict theory sees societies comprised of groups with conflicting values and interests. (Vold et al. 1998) There is seen to be a link between power and crime, the more powerful you are, the least likely to be committing a crime, so the lower classes are discriminated here as they don’t have the same power a middle-class or upper-class businessman might have therefore they are labelled to be trouble-makers, they are

treated harsher by the criminal justice system than their peers, but the lower class is seen more favourably than ethnic minorities, especially ethnic groups that have less power than them. In the 1960’s, researchers found that blacks were more severely sentenced than whites. Hagan in 1974 reviewed many of the findings supporting racial discrimination and found that studies were not allowing for the possibility that black defendants may be charged with more serious crimes than whites, and may have more serious criminal records (cited in ‘Theoretical Criminology’). Lizotte in 1978 found that blacks have been shown to receive harsher sentences because they are less likely to make bail, since they are less affluent, and this reduces their ability to provide an effective

defence. Another model which discusses discrimination is the Learning model of crime. Barnard argued that poverty, urban environment and discrimination resulted in chronic arousal to the people living in inner-city houses. People living in these areas interpret a wide variety of events in such a way that they respond with a lot of aggression, even if the situation was relatively harmless to begin with, therefore the inner-city areas where the chronic arousal takes place are isolated socially from the rest of the city. Discrimination is a major factor in the police force, it has been well known, due to the media, that in Western countries police stop and search youths just because of their colour. A lot of violence has erupted due to the Negro thinking it is unjust, one prime