Inroduction To Criminology And Criminal Justice Essay

Question:

Discuss bias in the criminal justice system and critically evaluate ways in which the values and ethics in the practice of criminal justice practitioners could ameliorate these.

Answer:

The law in the United Kingdom promotes legal equality in every manner, which was evident after the United Kingdom Parliament introduced the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 is an anti-discrimination legislation which states that all individuals in the United Kingdom are equal in the eye of law irrespective of their age, gender, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation (Thompson 2016). Thus, the statutory law in the United Kingdom makes every citizen of the country equal however, the concept of equality is considerably difficult to achieve when it comes to implementation of procedural laws in the United Kingdom. Thus, the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom is biased against many groups present in the United Kingdom like Black individuals, individuals with Asians origin and other minority race. Amongst these groups, the Black individuals are victimized the most thus; the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom is evidently biased even after various statutes in the United Kingdom promote legal equality in every form. It is therefore important to review the said disparities in order to reform the same and build trust in the minds of the ethnic minority groups living in the United Kingdom toward the justice system (Skolnick 2011).

The list of incidents is countless which concerns bias and discriminating behavior which the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom has advanced towards the Black community. One such incident occurred on 4 August 2011 when a black young male was shot to dead by the police official of Tottenham in the London region (Moore, Jewell and Cushion 2011). The said incident and the manner in which the London Police Authority handled the matter created a lot of riots and chaos against the London Police System. The said case was discussed in various debates which concluded that the Black minority in the United Kingdom were treated differently in every stage of the criminal justice system. The treatment and outcome of the case where minority Black men were involved was discriminating due to the inequality present in the practices, policies, procedures which promote prejudice against he said ethnic minority community (Rocque 2011). Thus, although the concept of racism is abolished and made illegal in most of the countries in the world, there is evidence of various rules and procedures exist in the criminal justice system of the United Kingdom that target, victimize and put the ethnic minority black community into disadvantage. There is statistic evidence in various reports on racism in criminal justice system which states that Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 of often misused by the police officials and they stop black men to search them and their belonging at least seven times more than an average white Englishmen (Miller 2010). Thus, the first manner in which Black minority community is discriminated under the criminal justice system is the bias the police and other administrative authority have against them which makes them misuse their excessive authority to harass and threaten the minority Black groups. Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 permits the police in United Kingdom to stop and search any individual without an appropriate suspicion, most of the time such discretionary powers are used against the minority and the police officers have no accountability of the said action (Reiner 2010).

The discriminating treatment of the Black minority men does not stop with police officer victimizing them, it continues at every stage of criminal justice system where biased in behavior is seen in the thoughts of judges in the Court and other criminal justice advocates. An upsetting report recently made by the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom shows a distributing figure stating that Black men are 20% closer to get a prison sentence as compare to their white fellowmen (Williamson and Khiabany 2010). Moreover, the sentence given to Black men are found to be more strict compared to Englishmen being almost seven month longer on an average in case of Black minority for similar or same offence. Thus, evidence show that the judges in the United Kingdom Court rooms are biased against the black community and often work on this bias which makes 60-65% of the prisoners in the jail non-white members of the community. Thus, the issues in the said matter is the criminal justice system and the court proceedings which is independent and except for the system of filing an appeal, the judgment of any Court and judge has no accountability and the law precludes interference in judiciary. The major issue which black men face in the said matter is that if the Judges of the highest court of the United Kingdom where appeal is heard stand biased against black men, they are helpless and lose the hope of receiving appropriate justice in their favor. The said bias is evident when judges have to decide cases which have some uncertain facts and findings, in such situations the biased mind of the judges make them sentence black man even when his offence is not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The race of the jury and his association also affects on the bias he holds. For example, if a white judge is married to a black woman, he will be less biased towards the black offenders. Thus, the biased nature of police and judges including the other officers in charge of the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom is a major issue and clearly violates various international laws which promote equality. The Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to get a fair trial, thus, any biased jury or judge violates the said right if he behaves racist against black offenders. Additionally, racist behavior in any form is considered a serious offence all over the world, thus the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was introduced to protect the interest of minority communities and black men. Thus, any administrative, judicial or other authority in the United Kingdom acting racist violates the said Convention to which United Kingdom is a party. Thus, the Convention gives a little hope to the black men who are discriminated to file a complaint against the racist behavior they experienced under Article 14 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Banton 2015).

However, the use of Convention and International Laws is not the solution; and bias against black offenders has to be rooted out from the criminal justice system to advance the importance of legal equality and fair trial. Thus, the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom requires to be build on ethics and values which are to be followed by every law professional and enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom. A committee in the United Kingdom has established seven principles which are required to be followed by every public office holder which involves individuals who are locally or nationally elected to hold public offices. Thus, the seven principles established are integrity, accountability, openness, objectivity, selflessness, leadership and honesty (Spicker 2014). Thus, it is important that every police officer, judges, jury, youth justice officials, probation officers and prison service officials who are all holders of public office inculcate and comply with the said values and ethics while conducting their functions (Ashworth and Redmayne 2010). Thus, if all individuals who are a part of the criminal justice system comply with the said seven principles, the scope of racist or any sort of unjust behavior will be eliminated automatically. Compliance with the said principles will make the individuals dealing with the criminal justice system clearly determine what is right to do in a particular situation, what should be the right decision according to the situation and how everyone can benefit. Thus, morals, values and ethics will automatically incorporated in the entire criminal justice system if the individuals who work in the system carry their duties upholding high standards of values, ethics and morals.

Along with the morals, ethics and values, it is also important to work professionally. Thus, the individuals running the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom must show professionalism in every stage. Every professional under the criminal justice system has its own informal and formal code of conduct, rules and regulation, thus, the same have to be followed religiously to achieve an unbiased criminal justice system. Thus, the enforcement agencies in the criminal justice system must limit the use of force and avoid unreasonable search and seizure without suspicion of black men. They should follow their duty to equally protect all individuals irrespective of race and color. Moreover, the judges and jury in the criminal justice system must follow the due process of law which guarantees impartiality and accuracy to everyone irrespective of their religion, race and color (Hylton 2010). A judge must act professionally treating every as an innocent individual unless his crime is proven without reasonable doubt.

Thus, if the basic structure of the criminal justice system which are the police, judges, prison officers, youth justice and probation officers start conducting their functions based on values and ethics along with professionalism, the biased nature of the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom will soon be eliminated (Boon 2010).

Reference List

Ashworth, A. and Redmayne, M., 2010. The criminal process. Oxford University Press, USA.

Banton, M., 2015. United Nations. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination/Beyond discrimination: racial inequality in a postracist era. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(13), pp.2396-2398.

Boon, A., 2010. Professionalism under the Legal Services Act 2007.International Journal of the Legal Profession, 17(3), pp.195-232.

Hylton, K., 2010. How a turn to critical race theory can contribute to our understanding of ‘race’, racism and anti-racism in sport. International review for the sociology of sport, 45(3), pp.335-354.

Miller, J., 2010. Stop and search in England: A reformed tactic or business as usual?. British Journal of Criminology, 50(5), pp.954-974.

Moore, K., Jewell, J. and Cushion, S., 2011. Media representations of black young men and boys: Report of the REACH media monitoring project.

Reiner, R., 2010. The politics of the police. Oxford University Press.

Rocque, M., 2011. Racial disparities in the criminal justice system and perceptions of legitimacy a theoretical linkage. Race and Justice, 1(3), pp.292-315.

Skolnick, J.H., 2011. Justice without trial: Law enforcement in democratic society. Quid pro books.

Spicker, P., 2014. Seven Principles of Public Life: time to rethink. Public Money & Management, 34(1), pp.11-18.

Thompson, N., 2016. Anti-discriminatory practice: Equality, diversity and social justice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Williamson, M. and Khiabany, G., 2010. UK: The veil and the politics of racism. Race & Class, 52(2), pp.85-96.

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