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Contemporary Cultural Diversity

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The criminal justice system’s response to the public’s perception of ethnic and gender bias

a) Final report of Pennsylvania Supreme court committee on racial and gender bias in the justice system

In the month of October 15 1999, the Pennsylvanian Supreme Court had an appointment of a committee with a mandate of undertaking a study across the state court system in order to determine on whether racial or the gender bias played a role especially in the justice system. The committee, upon the completion of the study, it was to present its findings together with recommendation to the court. In order to be able to discharge its mission in the right manner, the committee had to identify on some of the key issues in the study which it was supposed to address adequately. Some of these issues concerned the racial as well as ethnic composition of the juries, the process of employment as well as appointment in the court, the court treatment of the survivors especially of the domestic violence, sexual assault, and racial as well as ethnic practices in the judicial system. Also it looked at the racial and ethnic disparities involved in sentencing and especially in the imposition of death sentences (Pennsylania Supreme Court Committee on Racial & Gender Bias, 1999).

The committee used a series of groups comprising of a number of representatives across all the states. Each group was assigned with the task of having to examine a particular topic which was selected by the committee and had to follow the methodology stipulated by the committee. Some of the methods employed included; public hearings, surveys, statistical studies, focus groups, personal interviews and use of other state task force reports. The main task of the committee was to establish on whether the racial as well as the gender bias permeated the court system. Therefore the committee focused on the data that addressed raced and the gender explicitly (Pennsylania Supreme Court Committee on Racial & Gender Bias, 1999).

The committee came up with some positive reports on the functions as well as the operations of Pennsylvania justice system. The committee findings indicated that racial, ethnic as well as gender bias existed and had some major impacts on the justice system. Even in the control of a number of factors including the economic, familial status as well as the geographic diversity, the committee established that gender had a great influence especially on the way an individual who might be a witness, lawyer, court employee or even a potential juror, receives his treatment (Pennsylania Supreme Court Committee on Racial & Gender Bias, 1999).

b) Race, Ethnicity, and the Criminal Justice System

This is a research which has been conducted with an aim of highlighting on the data together with a number of judicial findings regarding the racial as well as ethnic disparities in the matters of crime together with the criminal justice system in the United States. This article focuses specifically on the issues which have a direct connection with race or ethnicity in different stages of the criminal justice. In the 20th century the punishment of the crimes committed have indicated some powerful symbols which are seen as a clear indication of racial divide in America. In the judicial systems in the United States, the racial minorities were seen to be tried by the white juries which indicated a potential factor for racial biasness  (American Sociological Association , 2007).

Over a period of the past fifty years, the Supreme Court with an inspiration by the civil right movements have been able to come out clearly and declared any form of discrimination either based on gender or race is unconstitutional.  In the recent times the judiciary has declared that the minority defendants are no longer being denied any form of bail or even being charged in an indiscriminate way without any form of legal representation or even receive punishment in an indiscriminate way. Currently the law enforcement is being emphasized specifically on the basis of the laid down policies professionalism and accountability  (American Sociological Association , 2007).

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