Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice

Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice Paper
Eyenita Moore
Stephen Humphries
September 13, 2010

Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice
Disparity is not equal to discrimination.   Discrimination in the justice system is the differential treatment of individuals or groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio economic standing instead of on their behavior or qualifications. Disparity on the other hand, is a difference between groups that legitimate factors can explain. (Cole and Smith, 2006, p93-94) The line differentiating disparity and discrimination becomes blurred especially as society is increasingly become culturally diverse and a great chance of conflict can arise when a standardized law is applied to people with varied cultural orientations. In which case, the difference between disparity and discrimination becomes critical in matters of justice.
Racial disparity occurs when a significant difference is established between the proportion of a racial group in the general population and the proportion of this same group under the control of the criminal justice system. An example to illustrate this is the state of African Americans in the United States, who make up 12 percent of the general population in the country but account for a large percentage of the prison population, placed at about 50 percent. Racial disparities are explained by criminal justice experts based on their causes, which range from legal factors such as prior criminal records and gravity of different offences to other non-legitimate factors such as emphasis of law enforcement among particular groups based on race, social status or gender. Racial disparity in sentencing is a major challenge within the criminal justice system in the US due to cultural diversification. Statistics show that the imprisonment of African Americans and American Hispanics is much higher than that of European Americans, where it is estimated that African Americans face...