Critiquing America’s Criminal Justice System

By: Emily Balogh, Contributor

With so many recent CLP’s focusing on America’s criminal justice system, it is time for Furman to pay attention. Characterized by a history of prejudice, our judicial system has many faults. However, Americans have never given up the fight for maintaining democracy and equality. Throughout history, this fight acts as a check on the power of the branch, slowly inching the nation closer to a truly impartial judicial system.

America’s judicial system is far from being free of corruption. According to the Sentencing Project, there has been a 500 percent increase in incarcerated individuals over just the past 40 years. This startling statistic is the result of politicians emphasizing the “tough on crime” approach and implementing harsher punishments. In addition, privately owned prisons have an incentive to incarcerate more individuals to increase profits. This incentive to incarcerate has made America one of the top countries for mass incarceration.

Another form of corruption within America’s criminal justice system is the disproportionately high incarceration rates for minority groups, primarily African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Poorer communities are also more likely to be impacted by higher incarceration rates. The combination of these disproportionate rates of incarceration and the policies that promote this injustice are devastating our country, our minority communities and our lower-income communities.

America’s justice system should be kept in line by diligent, dissenting Americans who speak up when corruption becomes rampant. From the Civil Rights Movement to modern day protests against supreme court nominees and decisions, Americans are notorious for fighting back against injustice. Working together with the two other governmental branches, American citizens play a key role in keeping their justice system accountable.

So what can be done? Many Americans want to move towards a justice system that lessens the sentences for minor drug offenses and nonviolent crimes. It is the duty of Americans to never stop fighting for a fair judicial system that protects all Americans alike, one that works to keep our streets safe while still ensuring that rights aren’t violated. If Americans want a pure democracy, there is still work to be done and progress to be made, but we should never stop fighting to ensure that our justice system is, in fact, just.

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