Unarguably, as the statistics available from all concerned government agencies demonstrate, there is a racial dimension in the prison enrolment in the US. The bulk of the incarcerated in the country so far belongs to the African American population. This trend has been going on since the Black emancipation in the late nineteenth century and way past the success of the civil rights movement.The hypothesis for this is that despite all the developments in the racial equality in American society, there are still traces of discrimination and social stratification present today. This is true in almost all aspects of American life – from wages, job opportunities, health and mortality statistics and, in the case of this research, prison enrolment.There are various, specific and significant cases that demonstrate the race hypothesis in the American legal system, particularly in the way justice is dispensed with. For instance, a study conducted by Velez, which examined the cases of 755 defendants from the Southwest (Tucson, Arizona and El, Paso Texas), it was found that racial inequality characterized several criminal justice outcomes. To quote:Hispanic was the single best predictor of an unfavorable pretrial release decision… Being Black also was significantly related to an unfavorable pretrial release decision… Moreover, regardless of jurisdiction, blacks were significantly more likely to go to trial than other racial groups, while being Hispanic… was a significant predictor of a guilty verdict. (p. 95)This pattern, for some, can readily be attributed to at least two reasons: the disproportionate representation of minority judges in the American legal system and the often-white constitution of juries in criminal trials of Black defendants. In California, for example, where members of the minority groups make up 56 percent of the population, the minority judges onlycomprises 15 percent in the state judiciary.
Racial Inequalities in the Judicial System Against Minorities