Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice
Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice
Cultural diversity has a positive and a negative effect on the United States criminal justice system. It has been noted that there are issues of unethical practices, discrimination, bias and prejudice which are perpetrated against the American minority communities. The illegal practices are carried out by prosecutors, law enforcement officers and judges who have powers and privileges offered by the federal and the state governments. The merit of the cultural diversity in the American criminal justice is pegged on the whites and the minority groups sharing a common believe and trust on one criminal justice system.
United States in the twenty first century is facing multicultural societies; individuals working in the system are characterized with defendants, society, inmates, victims, political leaders and professionals all originating from diverse cultural orientations (Barlow, 2000). Cautionary notice on the users of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)’s crime website, which gives information on United States publication, is critical in discouraging animosities among the different communities residing in the United States (Oliver, 2001).
The government of the United States believes that cultural diversity contributes to creative thinking, changes in policies; generation of new ideas and a new look at laws, procedures and policies that contribute to inequality and equality. It is argued that some people in the community support the notion that some laws protecting the minority groups are as a result of the cultural diversity, and such people tend to be against such laws (Harley, 2010). People against laws protecting the minority groups in the United States could use the information in the FBI’s website inappropriately, the cautionary note is an indicator that the information on the FBI’s website is subject to errors and omissions, and that the data just provide rough ideas and not the actual representation (Oliver, 2001).
Census on the American population done in 2010 indicated that the country had more than three hundred and ten million persons, of which more than two hundred millions were whites and the remaining one hundred million represented the minority groups in the community. The minority groups were represented by Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans among others (Barlow, 2000). The American population is ever rising, which has resulted to ever increasing numbers of minorities and whites both as employees and wrongdoers in the criminal justice system. Racial profiling is one of the greatest issues affecting minority groups; it has led to diverse issues within the criminal justice system. Discouraging comparison of the statistical data is a way of doing away with cultural conflict among other unethical practices that could take place in the immediate society (Stevens, 2001).
Hare crimes in the United States is a reality, it has been noted that hate crimes may be directed at individuals, systems and on property. Common hate crimes in the United States involves hate crimes with racial bias as the motivation, hate crime with sexual orientation as the bias, hate crime directed at the religious differences, hate crimes motivated by national origin or ethnicity and hate crimes directed at disabled persons among others (Fbi.gov., 2013).
Prejudice is characterized with adverse opinion or judgment based on a poorly calculated justification. Stereotype is characterized with a formulaic or conventional image or conception of individuals in the criminal justice system. Discrimination is characterized with unfair treatment of an individual on the basis of prejudice. Racism is characterized with the feelings of one’s community or race superior to other communities within a locality, racism is contributed by abusive or discriminatory behavior which is directed at one race (James, 2002). Sexism is characterized with an abusive and discriminatory behavior that is directed at the persons of the opposite sex. In-group is characterized with people sharing a common purpose. Out-group is characterized with a social group in which individuals fails to identify with. Conformity refers to correspondence in appearance and in form according to standards that are accepted. Institutional supports identifies with people working as teams in attaining a common goal. Social organization is characterized with relationships among groups and individuals which is part of the sociological concept (Fbi.gov., 2013).
Institutionalized prejudice is also referred as institutionalized discrimination; it is unfair treatment of individuals or groups through policies, procedures or objectives. Institutionalized prejudice is common with organizations and governments on bases of gender and race among other attributes. Social organizations commonly practice institutionalized discrimination through education, religion and marriage among other attributes (Harley, 2010). Personalized prejudice is unfair treatment commonly practice by one to one individuals or through small groups.
Stereotypes have the ability of negatively influencing perceptions and memories of events. Action and reflection are connected and stereotype has control and power of knowledge concerning events, in the same concept, stereotype is an opinion formed in categorizing certain people in looks, practices, culture, class, background and gender (Stevens, 2001). Stereotyping impairs the judgment; it also affects the thinking models on the way a person carries out day to day activities, which creates social problems (Fbi.gov., 2013). Examples of stereotypes are sexual remarks, racial remarks, and gender remarks among others (Oliver, 2001).
Differentiating between accurate descriptions on minority groups and stereotyping requires an inner understanding of the minority group, and avoiding pre-judging the minority group. Differentiating between facts and stereotyping is difficult since the two concepts are intertwined. Prejudice is psychologically motivated by different things depending on context. Prejudice is motivated by attitudes, ethnocentrism, bad habits and superstitions (Fbi.gov., 2013).
Considering on information gathered in part I and in part II, racial and ethnic discrimination arrest is a reality, although the occurrences are reducing as more and more law enforcement officers are subjected to training on issues relating to multicultural societies (Johns, 2004). Cultural diversity has both negative and positive impact on the law enforcement practice. United States government has facilitated training of the law enforcers at the federal levels, state levels and in the local levels (Barlow, 2000). Education and training offered considers religion diversity, cultural diversity and effective communication in the criminal judicial system. Surveys have indicated that law enforcement officers with trainings on cultural diversity rarely apply prejudice, bias and discrimination towards sex, age, gender, race, spiritual beliefs and on religious affiliation among other variables (James, 2002).
Multicultural law enforcement is properly facilitated through inclusive understanding of diverse populations within United States. The government of the United States has developed diverse models of dealing with cultural diversity. Community policing is one model that build trust among the law enforcing officers and the community (Harley, 2010). There are other programs that allow collaboration between diverse stakeholders.
Twenty first century is characterized with multicultural societies as global boundaries are being broken down to support a united global village. Law enforcement officers are changing with times through trainings, in understanding better ways of dealing with offenders of diverse cultural orientations.
Barlow, H. D. (2000). Criminal Justice in America. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Fbi.gov. (2013). Uniform Crime Reporting. Retrieved January 06, 2014, from Fbi.gov: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius
Harley, D. (2010). Social Justice and Cultural Diversity Issues. Rehabilitation Education , 237-248.
James, L. (2002). Criminal Justice Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. 2002 Term , 445-461.
Johns, N. (2004). Ethnic Diversity Policy. Perceptions with the NHS , 73-88.
Oliver, W. M. (2001). Community Oriented Policing: A Systematic Approach to policing. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Stevens, D. J. (2001). Case Studies in Community Policing. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
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