To The Editor:
When one thinks of justice, the first thing that comes to mind is fairness. Justice is in fact derived from the root word “just,” which means deserving, valid, and most importantly, fair. The validity of the United States’ criminal justice system is certainly in question regarding the unfair sentencing of African American males in comparison to Caucasian males. The history of unjust treatment based on racial identity is baffling and simply absurd. One might say that this all conjectures from the mouths of the oppressed. Well, here are the facts:
“Black men who commit the same crimes as white men receive federal prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20% longer, according to a new report on sentencing disparities from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC)” (Ingraham).
An article published in The Washington Post asserts that Black men who commit crimes that are literally identical are handed sentences that are 20% longer. Multiple scientific studies tried to attribute this to background and income levels, but the irrefutable recurring trait was darker skin. Black men were given more time for the exact same crimes. This is a fact. One might ask, “How is this even possible?”
Due to a Supreme Court decision in 2005, judges were granted discretion over sentencing. Since then, racial disparities have been at a constant increase.
“The Black/white sentencing disparities have been increasing in recent years, the report found, particularly following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker in 2005. Booker gave federal judges significantly more discretion on sentencing by making it easier to impose harsher or more lenient sentences than the USSC’s sentencing guidelines called for” (Ingraham).
The article also touches on the court case and the aftermath of it. This gives even more credence to the unjustness of it all. Sentencing restrictions were put in place for a reason. No individual should have complete discretion over another man’s life, especially when the system has been proven to be unfair and corrupt. One party is constantly getting mistreated while the latter enjoys the spoils of privilege, even when proven as a criminal. It has also been found that judges are less likely to revise the sentencing of Black inmates as opposed to giving white men shorter sentences and parole over time.
What is the point of having a system in place if it is not for the justice of the people? And
not the people of Anglo-Saxon descent, but all people. A criminal is a criminal. No one should get a more harsh treatment or a pass.
Rodney F. Green
Criminal Justice Major