Problems Faced By Minorities In The Criminal Justice System

When it comes to the treatment of minorities in society, it should come as no surprise that there is a great deal of unfairness. Not only are there deep-rooted prejudices against some minority groups, but discrimination shows itself all too often. In the last few years, we have heard countless cases of racial discrimination throughout the world.

Criminal justice system

photo credit: Kindel Media / Pexel

Minority discrimination isn’t just limited to race. Sexual minorities face a fair degree of discrimination as well. Not only are they profiled, harassed, and abused, but physical altercations are far too common and can often turn deadly.

This article will be looking at some of the problems that minorities face in the criminal justice system. There are hundreds of other issues, but here are some of the common ones that minorities have to deal with.

1. Unfair Imprisonment

Racial minorities often see issues related to unfair incarceration in the legal system. Not only are they falsely accused, but they are also known to get the maximum sentence for fairly minor crimes. Moreover, public lawyers often slack off on the case because they have their personal biases against the defendant and their racial heritage. This may cause the cases in many instances to lead to unfair sentences. We can see that this is a shortcoming from both the criminal justice system as well as the individual’s defense lawyer. If you want to help these people, consider a bachelor criminal justice degree. There is also the online option for people who have busy schedules yet have the heart to help people who don’t have a fair council.

An unfair trial that leads to imprisonment is too common. The system needs unbiased lawyers who will ensure that justice is served regardless of color, caste, or creed.

2. Not Being Heard

If a member of a minority group finds themselves involved with the legal system or enforcement, they might feel as if their issues are falling on dead ears. Coming in with a complaint and having it completely ignored is tragically common for certain minority groups. This increases crimes committed upon said groups as the officials simply refuse to take notice of their complaints. Not only do a fair number of racial minorities feel that they aren’t being heard, but they a lot of them have completely stopped relying on the police.

Racial minorities are known to avoid telling the police of certain life-threatening issues because they feel that there is no point, or the situation might even turn against them.

3. Pressure From The Majority

The majority groups in the criminal justice system may use strong-arm tactics to encourage the minority group to withdraw their case. As the majority groups feel that they have more power, they would do just about anything to try and get their way.
Harassment, abuse, and physical violence are just some of the several disorderly means through which they try to get their way.

It is sheer unfairness for this to happen while criminal trials are ongoing. What worse is that officials often turn a blind eye to issues like this and don’t bother to confront the unfairness.

4. Language

The language barrier is a major issue for ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system. Specially in small towns and local counties, ethnic minorities are unlikely to receive translators during the trial.

With a basic understanding of the prevalent language, they may inadvertently say things they don’t mean and unintentionally implicate themselves in court. These people have an extremely hard time in the criminal justice system and are often a statistic when we quote the unfairness that takes place.

Some sort of provisions needs to be made for these people so that more of them don’t suffer these problems in the future.

5. Falling Victim To Crimes In Jail

Prisons are extremely volatile places. Not only for the majority, but it’s considerably more difficult for minority groups as well.

Prison violence often becomes a common reality for minorities during their stay in the penitentiary. Race-based violence is extremely common among wrongly biased inmates. They often see prison as a chance to exact their opinions in a forceful manner. As they are already in prison, they often feel like they don’t have anything more to lose.

Other than racial minorities, sexual minorities may face sex-based violence as well. For example, sexual harassment and assault on gay people and women in prisons are extremely common and often go unnoticed. Prison guards are often either involved in it or afraid to stop the violence. Either way, the prevalence of prison violence is rising slowly, and nothing is done about it.

6. Labeling And The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

It is common for minorities to be classified into a certain label and treated accordingly. Labels stick, and their lasting effects can have major consequences on some individuals.

Labeling certain minority groups as deviant doesn’t just mean that they won’t be taken seriously, but it also leads to something known as the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a situation where people generally live up to the labels that have been attached to them. Once given this label, these people may begin to accept it and live up to it. Therefore, being labeled as a criminal may lead one to act in criminal ways because they can’t shake the label which has been attached to them.

The criminal justice system is in place to ensure that justice prevails regardless of race, caste, or gender. Unfortunately, some aspects of the system need to be looked at sharply because a lot of people are falling victim to a great deal of unfairness. It would be a societal flaw if the system continued to work the way it currently is. People would no longer rely on the police and courts if they didn’t trust them.

Perhaps awareness might go a long way in ensuring that justice prevails, and it doesn’t get overshadowed by dark elements of corruption and bias. Everyone needs to do their part to ensure that every group of people gets treated fairly.


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