Marc Mauer begins his lecture with a story about two different teenage boys, and their experience with the Criminal Justice System. Using that story, explain the influence racism, resources, and judicial policies have on the juvenile cases to this day. In addition make sure to your essay defines the importance of prior convictions, and drug offenses. In your conclusion go over alternatives proposed by Mauer, remember this is not an opinion – based essay, but a video respose.
Video response to Project Justice: Marc Mauer, National Best Practices for Reducing Racial Disparities
Racism in the Criminal Justice System
Marc Mauer starts by acknowledging that it is now a well-known fact that racial disparity is still a challenge in the criminal justice system in the United States. While leaders across different countries have taken the initiative to implement programs and policies focussed on mitigating the challenge, there is still a lot of hard work needed to be done if the challenge is to be eliminated. Notably, an understanding of this challenge sets out the path of the right strategies to solve it. The story of the two teenagers is a prime example of how race and access to resources and judicial responses are interrelated.
Generally, the white majority youth in the American community have access to more resources compared to many of the minority group members. That is why it is easy for a white teenager that has engaged in first-time shoplifting to be placed into a rehabilitative program to have their behaviours changed not only because they hail from a higher-income family, but because society has made it easier for them in terms of resources. A black teenager in a similar situation is more likely to come from a lower-income family that his parents may not have the negotiating ability to have him in a rehabilitative program. The black teenager will end up doing community service with no programs to educate him on better behaviour, and its importance. His lower social class means that his parents will rarely have time to teach and guide themselves on such crimes. Therefore, within no time, the teenager starts engaging in other crimes to become a habitual offender, and the system will sentence him for a considerable period. Concurrently, the white teenager is now living a good life from that opportunity he got of why he needed to abide by the law.
This situation illustrates the present American society infested with racial disparities causing divisiveness in the access to resources. The stereotypes inherent within the society in terms of Blacks or Hispanic individuals being more likely to be criminals compared to the white individuals has also affected the judicial policies that the criminal justice system implements. For instance, in the above case, the ideal system will ensure that regardless of race, the town teenagers receive a similar rehabilitative solution for the minor crime of shoplifting. This ensures that the two get the right knowledge and skills that will guide them to make better decisions in future. The problem in the American justice system is that the fate of an individual going through the criminal justice system relies significantly on their unfortunate race.
Another challenge is in the war on drugs that the criminal justice system began in the twentieth century. This war has played a primary role in the massive hike in the prison population. However, it has been noted that about two-thirds of the drug offenders arrested, they belong to the minority racial groups. The speaker clearly states that while society has worked on implementing policies to reduce the use of drugs, the system has worked against its people continually. He indicates that the war needs to be on the drugs themselves and not its people. Therefore, it is about time that strategies that will see the reduction in the use of drugs in society are minimized. It was not reasonable to have an individual sentenced for an extended period in prison after being caught with a smaller amount of drugs. It is time that better strategies are implemented if the system is to win the war on drugs and reduce the overwhelming prison population.
An assessment of the situational factors within the criminal justice system, Mauer provides respective policies that would see a reduction in the unwarranted racial disparities. Mauer indicates that undertaking ri9sk assessments for different challenges should provide the right information to aid in coming up with better solutions. These risk assessments will comprise various aspects of the criminal justice system. For instance, the racial disparities will have respondents answer related questions such as the potential risk of minority groups joining gangs within one’s community, and how the police can use their granted discretion impartially. Mauer further indicates that even after coming up with the right strategies that are feasible, it is essential that the stakeholders consider the possible adverse outcomes. Understanding these effects should guide the stakeholders to have measures in place that will prevent their occurrence or mitigate their impact in case they do occur. For instance, before the overwhelming prison population and the racial disparities, legislators need to implement policies that will prevent an overwhelming number of minorities being sent to the prisons. The different approaches that stakeholders consider implementing, they should achieve a balance among them to reduce the scope of the problem. The good thing is that everyone needs to be involved, school, religious institutions, families and other community groups as they have the information needed for the right policies.