Disparity in Criminal Justice System With Sentencing

In the given paper, some of the possible variants of eliminating the cases of discrimination are going to be considered.

It is obvious that the main goal of the criminal sanctions is to decrease the likelihood of the accident occurring. However, certain disparities against African Americans and other nationalities have been detected, which gives much food for thoughts and the reasons to consider the existing state of affairs.

In the given presentation, the mandatory minimum and its relevance to the rights of African Americans is going to be considered as well.

Finally, the recommendations for the further elimination of the racial discrimination in the sphere of justice are going to be given.

The final close-up is the list of the scholarly sources that have been used is driven.

One of the most notorious problems for the modern system of justice id the issue of the racial disparity. On the one hand, according to the existing legal system, the law guarantees that each of the parties in the given case will be treated accordingly disregarding his/her origin, beliefs and ethnic background. On the other hand, when it comes to practice, it proves that this law is often broken by the law enforcement officers themselves. There is also certain evidence that such people are mistreated both during the pretrial incarceration and staying in prison. According to Cole (2004), the existing judicial system has been criticized a number of times by advocates of equitable application of the law.

Therefore, I is beyond any reasonable doubt that the given situation is abnormal and must be somewhat tackled. Unless a more just treatment is provided for the Black and the Mexican Americans, the well-being of these nationalities is in serious danger.


This is one of the last stages in the criminal justice system and serves a number of purposes. The primary objectives of any criminal sanction include: rehabilitation of the offender, retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation. Rehabilitation aims to “cure” or “fix” the ills that lead to the offender’s behavior while retribution adopts the “eye for an eye” approach in treating an offender (Cole, 2004). Deterrence, on the other hand, seeks to dissuade the offender or the society in general from engaging in acts for which the offender is being punished. The other purpose of sentencing is incapacitation which is mostly by incarceration. It involves physically preventing an individual from committing similar crimes in the future.

Disparity is doubtlessly one of the key causes of the discrimination cases; defined as the arrests and convictions prevailing in the given group of people, which is often a national minority, this is rather controversial issue.

What might cause certain confusion is the fact that disparity is the case of unintended racial discrimination, the implicit one.

One of the details that makes the issue of racial disparity even more complicated is the existence of the so-called illegitimate disparity that manifests itself in the form of different treating of people of certain nationalities at the time of their arrest and sentencing. Therefore, the illegitimate racial discrimination is the concern fro the bodies of the existing justice system.

Among the mechanisms that trigger the increase in racial disparity in the sphere of legal system is poverty. Thus, the poor people of the other descent than the representatives of the system of justice are treated in a rude and inadmissible way. At present, The Constitutional Rights Foundation is reoccupied with the aspect of racial disparity in the sphere of legal system during the arrest and court proceedings.

According to the evidence that has been collected, there are certain cases of racial disparity occurring in the sphere of legal system. Considering the data obtained, one can draw rather deplorable picture of racial disparities in the modern system of justice. Because of the existing prejudices concerning certain race or nationality, the level of racial disparities in the legal system has risen tremendously.

There is no doubt that the existing system allows to oppress males and the national minorities. According to the official statistics, 83% of male population were convicted of felony and 89% of a violent crime.

It must be marked that the Black made 12.7% of the population. Judging by the existing data, 37% of these were convicted of drug peddling, among them 59% o African Americans.

Comparing them to Whites who made 12.7% of the population, one can find out that 60% were convicted of a felony.

Considering the results mentioned below, one can claim with certainty that the level of racial disparity in the modern society has grown immensely.

Disparity and Discrimination in Criminal Law: Sentencing

Disparity is defined as the imbalance of arrests and convictions for particular groups of people. The study of racial disparity has indicated that it cannot be expressly related to intentional discrimination (Mauer, 2006). This is because some legal factors such as severity of the offense, legislative policies and previous criminal record may also contribute to such variations. Illegitimate racial disparity is said to occur when people are treated differently on basis of their race. Overt racial bias against the vulnerable members of the society is rampant. It has been established that poverty aggravates racial disparity. Consequently, differential treatment within the justice system is observed (Cole, 2004). The Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) affirms that the onset of racial disparity manifests itself with arrest policies and parole conditions. CRF is categorical that more black and Hispanic men characterize the prison population.

Racial profiling practices have disproportionally incarcerated people based on color. According to Davis (2007), 48% of the US population in 2002 was represented by males. Males constituted about 83% of those convicted of felony and 89% of those convicted of violent crime. Despite the fact that Blacks contribute 12.7% of the population, 37% of them are arrested for drug related offenses (Davis, 2007). Consequently, 59% of those convicted of drug offenses are African Americans. Their lack of favorable plea bargains with a prosecutor sends 74% into prison. Despite the fact that drug use is the same among all racial groups, minorities have a greater probability of going to prison. Whites are usually offered plea bargains and lesser charges as opposed to their minority counterparts. Consequently, the death penalty is guaranteed once established that the victim is a Black. Africans who kill whites have a 3-fold likelihood of being sentenced to death compared to the whites (Mauer, 2006). The elimination of disparate justice elements, creation of equalized treatment and the balancing of all judicial processes are vitally important. The investigation, arrest, prosecution, sentencing and incarceration should be consistent with the laws of natural justice. It has also emerged that a significant proportion of Blacks than the Whites were convicted of felonious murder. The African Americans constituted 51% while the Whites were 45%. Similarly, of those convicted of robbery, 59% were African Americans while their Whites counterparts represented only 39% (Monk, 2001).

It is also essential to realize the consequences of the illegitimate racial disparity. To evaluate the phenomenon correctly, one has to consider the number of victims that have been subject to the so-called illegitimate disparity. According to the statistics, the number of the African American Blacks and Mexican Americans imprisoned has reached 25% and 12% respectively. Compared to this number, the percentage of the imprisoned White males makes 4%, which is., no doubts, rather conspicuous data.

Moreover, there has been considerable increase in the death sentences passed to the African and Mexican Americans over the past few years, which is also a sign of the explicit illegitimate disparity. There is no secret that the American Black males are the most likely candidates for death sentence when being tried in the court.

In addition, the Californian survey has published the data which say that the white people accused have more opportunities for their charges to be dropped – according to the official statistics, the advantage points make 7%.

Among the most notable evidence of the racial disparity that has been collected by the administration of criminal justice its two kinds have been manifested in the most explicit way. These were the racial and ethnic discrimination, their rates growing each year. At present, as Cole (2004) remarked, their level has become threatening.

One of the most shocking arguments that support the idea of eliminating the racial disparity in the sphere of legal system is the fact that 34% of the Black population spend their entire life in prison. Together with the unjust charges, people lose their right to vote – 14 million Black people have already been deprived of their civil right because of the unfair judgement based on the racial prejudices.

What strikes most is that the national minorities, namely, the Black and the Mexican Americans, make the most of the prisoners who have been put into the punishment cell due to a misconception.

There is no doubt that the key reason for all the troubles that the national minorities are to suffer is the illegal disparity that has become an integral part of the modern system of legal justice.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (1970s)

Mandatory minimum sentence refers to the practice of sentencing criminals to a predetermined jail term with no option for probation. Despite the fact that crack and cocaine fall on the same category of drugs, it is surprising that the laws targeting those using crack are harsher compared to those using cocaine. This is due to the fact that there are more African Americans and other people of color who use crack that the Whites (Tompson, 2008). Simple possession of crack has been subjected to mandatory minimum penalties of five-year sentence for possessing only 5 grams of crack cocaine. On the contrary, one must be in possession of 500grams of cocaine to earn the same sentence.


Considering the abovementioned information, one can conclude that there is evident discrimination against ethnic and racial minorities in the current criminal justice system. Since the situation is becoming increasingly threatening, certain steps must be undertaken to eliminate the illegitimate disparity.

It is obvious that the arrests, convictions and incarcerations are conducted mostly when they concern a representative of a racial or ethnic minority. Meanwhile, the white citizens are treated in a different way.

Therefore, it would be reasonable to suggest that the existing criminal justice system must be composed of both the white population and the ethnical minorities of the country.

In addition, it would be most efficient means of fighting the ethnic disparity if the Racial Discrimination Task Force should recommend strict approaches when reporting about the problem. Only in this case, the illegitimate disparity will be finally annihilated in the system of justice.


Cole, D. (2004). No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System. New York: The New Press.

Davis, A. J. (2007). Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mauer, M. (2006). Race to Incarcerate. New York: The New Press.

Monk, R. C. (ed.). (2001). Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial issues in crime and criminology (6th ed.). Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill.

Tompson, A. (2008). Releasing Prisoners, Redeeming Communities: Reentry, Race and Politics. New York: New York University Press.

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LawBirdie. "Disparity in Criminal Justice System With Sentencing." March 27, 2023. https://lawbirdie.com/disparity-in-criminal-justice-system-with-sentencing/.