Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay


Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Abstract

Police violence towards Black Lives Matter has been an alarming challenge in today’s culture, with reports of unarmed black people being shot by police officers in broad light and open. This investigates the causes of the recurrence of such acts against unarmed Black people. Additionally, it investigates how societal institutions impact police brutality using Durkheim’s social theory and Marx’s conflict theory. The paper will also examine the consequences of not taking action against police officers who use excessive force when handling Africa Americans. Important issues like the existing link between racial profiling and social systems have been addressed with great emphasis on proposing strategies that can solve the issues of police brutality towards people of colour. Finally, the paper provides a brief insight into the necessary dialogue that can help the benefit of having reforms in the criminal justice system, holding officers accountable for their mistakes and determining social factors that promote violence towards people of colour. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Introduction

The criminal justice system, especially the police department, has always been accused of conducting targeted violence towards African Americans over the years. The killing of innocent African Americans by police has sparked outrage by people calling for justice and police reforms. [1]As stated by Wright et al. (2022), the issues of violence targeting African Americans have existed in the United States. After Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement brought the subject of excessive use of force to the forefront of public conversation. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

 

The purpose of this essay is to investigate the social structures that influence civil rights violations, with a focus on African Americans. The paper will use Durkheim’s social theory and Marx’s conflict theory. Further, the paper will provide a comprehensive analysis of how societal structures, a lack of repercussions for law enforcement officers’ behaviour, and policy concepts provide a way to more instances of police brutality against people of colour.

Durkheim’s Social Theory

Durkheim’s social theory sheds light on how social systems affect personal behaviour, such as police officers’ treatment of Black protesters. [2] Bocanegra & Lovett (2020 pp 963-982) states that, once society structures become dysfunctional, they can contribute to criminal and deviant behaviour. Common, pervasive societal structures contributing to police officers’ deviant behaviour toward Blacks are racism, power imbalances and inequality. [3]According to Anon n.d. (pp 199-200.), police who use unnecessary force against Black people have negative attitudes toward them. Therefore, it’s evident that societal structures shape law enforcement officers’ attitudes toward people of colour. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay In most cases, negative attitudes result from societal structures reinforcing stereotypes of Black folks as dangerous, violent and criminal. These assumptions are reinforced by media portrayals and historical legacies of segregation and slavery, creating a context where Black people are viewed as dangerous, and police officers are justified in using excessive force.

The absence of personal responsibility for police personnel who profile black people reinforce these unequal social structures and power imbalances. [4]Indeed, Kaplan et al., 2020) opines that failure to hold police responsible for what they do propagates the notion that police are above the law and reaffirms their sense of impunity. This contributes to a vicious cycle of abuse and a loss of trust between police and people of colour. Consequently, addressing excessive force against unharmed necessitates addressing social systems that perpetuate hostile feelings toward Black people and strengthen power imbalances. Police officers should be held accountable for their actions, and policies that promote institutionalized racism and inequality should be revised. This can be accomplished by increasing the diversity of law enforcement officers, incorporating community-oriented policing measures, and investing in social welfare programs that focus on the fundamental causes of crime and discrimination. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Marx’s Conflict Theory

When applied to the issue of police brutality against Blacks, Marx’s conflict theory sheds light on the fundamental disparities and disputes between various social groups. The unequal distribution of resources and power creates a dispute between distinct socioeconomic groups in this setting. This power balance is obvious in police brutality against people of colour, who are disproportionately represented in such cases. The inequities and conflicts that are currently at play in American society are brought to light by this disproportionate representation. Therefore, Marx’s theory suggests that marginalized groups like black people can affect cultural transformation by fighting for increased acknowledgement and equal opportunity. By following this strategy, individuals can push for a more just distribution of resources and power, challenging existing power structures (Hughes et al., 2018)[5].

The disproportionate number of Black victims wExamining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essayho have suffered at the hands of cruel officers highlights the depth of racism and oppression the black community faces. The unequal share of power and wealth among different races has been identified as the main factor in these differences. The inability of the legal system to hold officers accountable when they murder unarmed people is seen as contributing to a cycle of discrimination towards black people. A perfect example is the 2020 murder of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers. During a police operation, Taylor was fatally wounded while asleep in her house; the deputies responsible were not disciplined for their deeds. This impunity represents the unbalanced distribution of power in America and the failure of our justice system to provide adequate safeguards for vulnerable populations. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Society Structures and Police Brutality Against Black Lives

Durkheim’s social theory emphasizes the impact of social institutions on personal behaviour. Social structures are a strong force that informs people’s behaviour, and if they become non – functional, they could cause deviance and criminal behaviour. Racism, power imbalances and inequality contribute to police’ deviant conduct during incidents of racial profiling against Black Lives Matter. These structures shape law enforcement’s perceptions and attitudes toward black people, leading to unnecessary force, victimization, and killing against unarmed black people. The social and cultural structures that have supported stereotypes of black individuals as threatening, criminal, and violent help to sustain police abuse towards people of colour (Desmond et al., 2016, pp 857-876)[6]. Durkheim’s social theory emphasizes the need to address and reform societal structures that perpetuate inequality and racism (Shaw, 2021 pp)[7]. To combat police violence against African Americans, Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Marx’s conflict theory offers a framework for comprehending the sociocultural, political and economic dynamics that play an important role in the excessive use of force towards people of colour. Racial disparities in wealth and power create a setting where particular groups are excluded and victimized, resulting in tensions and disputes. These conflicts frequently lead to social transformation as minority people require additional freedom and representation. However, in police brutality against Black people, most people believe that all Black people are criminals; thus, society, especially the white majority, supports the police. According to Marx’s conflict theory, the actions of law enforcement personnel reflect the broader societal conflicts between those with power and those who do not have power. The desires of the powerful are frequently enforced against the powerless with the assistance of the police, who serve as governmental representatives. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

The case of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, shows how an imbalance of power causes police brutality against Black Lives. Floyd knelt on his neck for over nine minutes even though he kept shouting that he could not breathe. This case led to many mass demonstrations and a national discussion about how police treat Black people. The officer involved in Floyd’s case was eventually found guilty of murder, a rare outcome in police violence against Black Lives. The case was acted upon probably because it attracted international outcry. [8]According to Kaplan et al. (2020, pp.147), when the two theories are put together, you can get a good idea of how these social structures affect how police officers think and feel about Black people and significantly contribute to police brutality. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Lack of Consequences for Police Brutality and Policy Designs

Marx’s conflict theory and Durkheim’s social theory offer insights into the elements responsible for the absence of consequences for police harassment against black people and the policy frameworks that support it. Durkheim holds that societal institutions and structures influence individual behaviour. When these systems break down, it can result in criminal activity and deviance. When it comes to police brutality, dysfunctional social structures like discrimination and inequality that affect the attitudes and perceptions of those in positions of power are to blame for the lack of consequences for police officers. Marx’s conflict theory holds that societal conflicts and inequalities ultimately spur social change (Jeffries et al.,2017, pp. 1-22)[9]. Police’s unfair treatment towards Black people is seen as a symptom of underlying injustices and tensions between various social classes. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay The unequal power dynamics in American society can be blamed for the lack of consequences for violent police officers.

Carl Max postulated that class differences and violence could primarily drive societal change. To some extent, racial profiling by police in the United States can be understood as an outward depiction of structural differences and intergroup gaps that are found in America. Police officers who profile African Americans are rarely held accountable, likely due to the irregular racist policies that impact American society. Policies like stop-frisk and operations such as the war on drugs contribute significantly to the disproportionate policing of black communities and normalize the systemic racism that fuels both of these problems. This is consistent with Durkheim’s theory, which proposes that broken social structures are at the heart of the problem of social deviance and crime. Marx’s theory also highlights that regulatory designs promoting institutional imbalances and conflicts are at the deepest level of police harassment against African Americans and other people of colour. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Implications and Recommendations for tackling police abuse of African Americans

Getting rid of police violence against Black Lives is a complicated problem that requires a comprehensive solution. It means dealing with society’s structures and how policies are made that keep prejudice and bias going. One suggestion for dealing with this problem is to make police officers answer for what they do. This means putting in place things like police cameras and audit oversight boards that make it easy to find and punish police officers who use violenceReforming policies that result in an oversaturation of law enforcement in predominantly Black neighbourhoods is another crucial step toward ending police brutality.  Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay More police violence has occurred as a result of regulations like stop-frisk and militarist operations in the war on drugs which are only meant to victimize black people (Njoku et al., 2020, pp. 262-270)[10]. Targeted discrimination can be reduced if these initiatives are revised to ensure they longer foster racism and prejudice.

Increased openness and responsibility within the police force can also aid in finding common ground between the authorities and African-American communities. This includes both bettering the public’s ability to obtain knowledge about police activity and the information itself. Increased accountability and trust in the police can also result from developing strategies for sociocultural supervision and control of policing. To effectively address the problem of police brutality against people of African descent, a holistic strategy is required. Taking action against police officers who are found to have contributed to the maintenance of systemic racism is one way to foster a more honest and accountable police force. A much more just, fair, and equitable society may result from these efforts to rebuild trust for law enforcement and Black communities. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

Conclusion

To summarise, police brutality against Black people is a multifaceted problem requiring a comprehensive response. We can learn more about how social hierarchies and policymaking are connected to this issue by looking at Durkheim’s social theory and Marx’s conflict theory. Letting law enforcement agencies take ownership of their conduct, altering policies that maintain racial and ethnic bias, and attempting to make the police service more open and answerable are all steps in the right direction toward solving this issue and restoring trust between the police and Black communities. Everyone needs to do their part to end systemic racism and discrimination so that we can live in a more just and equitable world. Examining Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System Essay

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