Criminal Justice Reform is Needed

Criminal Justice Reform in an Unjust System

Criminal justice reform is greatly needed.  It is in society’s best interest to use tools that focus more on rehabilitation and measures to prevent crime rather than adopting a lock them up and forget about them strategy. The incarceration of fathers for extended periods of time impairs the community in many ways.  For instance, the removal of fathers reduces family income, parental guidance, and potential role models in communities already deficient in income and dual parent families.  A Negative consequence is an increase in community poverty. In addition, many social problems are endemic of communities where there is a pervasive absence of fathers.

The Adverse Consequences of Removing Fathers from the Equation

Teenagers with only one involved parent are often more susceptible to peer pressure and the feeling of hopelessness that is prevalent in impoverished communities. These conditions often result in a permeation of negativity throughout the culture. When fathers are not active in their teenage daughters’ lives, it often contributes to problems with their self-esteem. They are more susceptible to the misguidance of a society that promotes the false belief that their greatest value is an ability to be sexually appealing or provocative. In the same culture, the motivations of teenage boys are influenced too much by the instant gratification of monetary and erotic desires. The relationships that stem from a value system based on materialism and eroticism increase the likelihood of unplanned pregnancies, aversions to commitment and a group of young men that is more susceptible to criminal temptations.

Abuse of Prisoners’ Rights in the Criminal Justice System

Black and Brown men, when compared with Whites, are disproportionately prosecuted convicted, and remanded to the custody of people who often look at them with disdain. These people, many of whom have had very little interaction with minorities, contemptuously emphasize the importance of punishment while trivializing the value of educational and vocational training. In addition, their contempt leads them to believe that they have no obligation to follow the rules and respect the rights of prisoners. As a result, we often find ourselves financing a system where people we care about are subjected to substandard prison conditions, indifferent or negligent medical care, and repeated infringement on their rights by prison staffs who often are complicit in obstructing inmates’ grievance procedures. Many prison officials believe that they can disregard the rights of inmates because they are isolated and demonized. If you know someone who’s rights are being abused in the prison system, by police officers or other civil service employees, contact Garjon Collins:

People who have been convicted of crimes often become frustrated when they have their rights violated by people who have the responsibility of enforcing rules. They are convinced by prison staff that they have no rights or no recourse when their rights are violated. When people in society say things like “he shouldn’t have done the crime” or “prison is supposed to be hard,” it plays into the plans of those who use a discriminatory criminal unjust system to implement a modern-day version of slavery and economic exploitation.

Perverse Incentives in the Criminal Justice System

In the criminal justice system, incentives to maintain the economic benefits provided by prisons creates a situation analogous to a mosquito/host relationship. In this exploitive system the value of rehabilitative programs is trivialized.  It is in the interest of correctional employees that prisoners recidivate (job security).  Advocates of tough on crime policies ignore the adverse consequences of over-incarceration. This includes police union spokesmen, who have an interest in exaggerating the threat of crime and convincing the public that more police is the only solution to protect communities (job security). Convincing the public is easier if they can incite and exploit fear.

The Criminal Justice System’s Constitutional Violations

When considering reports of racial bias in various U.S. city’s police departments, excessive incarceration of African American males violates the principles of equal protection. The breach of fundamental fairness is displayed when the myth of young Black men being dangerous is exploited and promoted to instill social fear. This fear caused people from inner-city communities to support unconstitutional policies including crime legislation that targeted Black/Brown people, a militarized police presence, and the mass construction of prisons. This has been accepted because the criminal justice system is designed to desensitize people to the humanity of young Black men.

Criminal Justice ReformAn argument can be made that current policies violate principles of America’s democracy. The mass incarceration of African Americans violates the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. The system also violates principles of the Declaration of Independence in that racial profiling and the disparately poor treatment of African American communities by the criminal justice system precludes equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  How can young African American males feel that they have an equal opportunity to pursue these goals in the present state when they are stereotyped as dangerous.  This effectuates an environment where unarmed African Americans are constantly in danger of being abused or even killed in encounters with police officers.


The current criminal justice system represents a contemporary version of slavery or Jim Crow and it provides economic opportunities for predominately white rural communities thru the systematic exploitation of African Americans. The so-called criminal justice system, that our tax dollars support has been used to oppress, exploit and demonize African Americans and Latinos. The conflict of interest between police union spokesmen and inner-city communities is salient.  Police unions have an interest in maximizing the dues they collect by exaggerating the threat of crime. Police unions compete with inner-city communities for tax dollars.  When community leaders request funding for economic development and crime prevention programs they have been told by elected officials that law and order is the solution.  Advocates of policies that emphasize incarceration take advantage of a media that consistently sensationalizes violence in inner-city communities.  Communities are convinced to accept an increased police force and severe penalties for non-violent, victimless crimes.  These strategies have proven ineffective in reducing crime.  A better-trained police force that emphasizes community policing programs would be of greater value than an increased police force.

Tax dollars that could fund community programs, reduce idle time for at risk youth, and decrease their exposure to negativity are instead used to provide economic opportunities for rural communities thru “mass incarceration.” (Michelle Alexander) When people from inner-cities supported tough on crime legislation, the objective was not to declare war on young people. The belief was that communities would be made safer. Instead, it was like pulling weeds and leaving the (root causes of the problems – poverty, broken families, and idle time for youth).

Elected officials have prioritized providing economic opportunities for lawyers, prosecutors, and police unions over making communities safer. The strategy used to justify this agenda is the stereotyping of young Black/Brown males as gangbangers, drug dealers, or dangerous criminals.  The current President constantly promotes this strategy with his mantra of “law and order” is the solution.

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