Dicussion 5 week
Reply to this post:The systematic structure of the United States criminal justice system is an unfair one, to say the least. There is a substantial amount of racial disparities within the application, as well as the enforcement of drug laws in the United States. It is both evident and unfortunate how minorities and people of color are given unethical sentences for drug offenses, especially when in comparison to white Americans. It is my belief, is that these disparities exists due to past and present racism. Ninety-five percent of the United States Court cases are handled at the state level; which of that amount, white males account for 58% of the state judges (Jawando & Anderson, 2016). That percentage increases significantly for state trial court and federal court judges. There is a negative stigma associated with African-Americans, typically in the eyes of white Americans. It is, therefore, safe to assume that this is also the reason why these racial disparities persist. Prior to Congress passing the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, individuals faced longer sentences for crack cocaine offenses than they did for powder cocaine offenses that involved the same amount of drugs, with whom the vast majority of the crack cocaine offenses given were to African Americans (Fair Sentencing Act, 2019 ). This is a prime example of how racial disparities work, for the mere fact that crack cocaine and powder cocaine are essentially the same narcotic, just in two separate forms. And while the Fair Sentencing Act lowered the sentencing ratio from 100:1 to 18:1, as it pertains to crack cocaine and powder cocaine drug offenses, the true ratio should be 1:1, due to the nature and origin of the drug. Essentially, in the midst of taking small step forward, the United States still have a ways to go before we see fair and just sentencing for all drug offenses, regardless of race and ethnicity. It must be two paragraphs, and Whether you agree or disagree explain why with supporting evidence and concepts from the readings or a related experience. Include a reference, link, or citation (s). Be organized in your thoughts and ideas. Incorporate correlations with the assigned readings or topics. Stay on topic. Provide evidence of critical, college-level thinking and thoughtfulness in your responses or interactions. Avoid summarizing. Contribute to the learning community by being creative in your approaches to topics, being relevant in the presented viewpoints, and attempting to motivate the discussion. Be aware of grammar and sentence mechanics. Use proper etiquette. Remember that being respectful is critical. reply to this second post: The drug laws in the United States help to create a platform for racial disparities to exist in the United States. During the early 20th century, drug addiction was common and opiate drugs were prescribed to addicts. In 1915, the number of drug addicts increased from 200,000 to 275,000 in the south and among people of the middle and upper classes. When the state and local government made efforts to regulate the non-medical use of drugs, it was not aimed at the south or middle and upper classes; it was aimed at the Chinese Immigrants (Mallicoat & Gardiner, 2014). Racism is not a new topic; it has occurred for decades. The huge crisis that was established by drugs and racism was the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs was declared in June of 1971 by former president, Richard Nixon. The racial disparities began after crack became a social problem in the 1980s (Mallicoat & Gardiner, 2014). There was a sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine (100:1) that allowed certain people to be arrested more for one form of cocaine than the other. “Nearly 80% of people in federal prison and almost 60% of people in state prison for drug offenses are black or Latino” ("Race and the Drug War", 2019). After the War on Drugs was declared, the incarceration rate for nonviolent drug law offenses rose from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997 ("A Brief History", 2019). This war set in motion mandatory minimum sentencing laws that made it difficult for offenders to get out of jail or prison for those drug charges. Theresa McIntyre Smith was one of those people. She became a flight attendant that exchanged boarding passes to in return get her and her daughters’ hair done by their hair dresser. Eventually, her hair dresser used her employment at the airline to help his drug distribution. Smith never had a record until she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a suitcase she did not know had eleven kilograms of cocaine in it. Her hair dresser told her it was his niece’s clothing ("Theresa McIntyre Smith", 2019). These racial disparities persist because of all the damage that the War on Drugs has left behind. It was only 9 years ago that Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which “reduced the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1” ("Fair Sentencing Act", 2019). It persists because now Congress and everyone who is fighting for a change in the criminal justice system has to figure out, what now? They have to figure out how to fix this mess and how people who are serving the same sentences as murderers, rapists, etc will get the chance to walk free. It persists because there are things we might never understand, like how hundreds of thousands of minorities ended up in jails and prisons for the color of their skin, rather than the crime they committed. It must be two paragraphs, and Whether you agree or disagree explain why with supporting evidence and concepts from the readings or a related experience. Include a reference, link, or citation (s). Be organized in your thoughts and ideas. Incorporate correlations with the assigned readings or topics. Stay on topic. Provide evidence of critical, college-level thinking and thoughtfulness in your responses or interactions. Avoid summarizing. Contribute to the learning community by being creative in your approaches to topics, being relevant in the presented viewpoints, and attempting to motivate the discussion. Be aware of grammar and sentence mechanics. Use proper etiquette. Remember that being respectful is critical.