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The Effects of Multiculturalism in the Criminal Justice System in the US

Abstract

The United States population undergoes a continuous change. In order to ensure cultural competence, the country has established a law enforcement system that includes multicultural practices from different parts of the world. Achieving cultural competence demands elaboration of knowledge of various global cultural practices and beliefs, which is presented in the current paper. Additionally, the pattern of change in individual behavior is analyzed to understand the best way to maintain justice, peace, and reconciliation in law enforcement institutions (Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Isaacs, 1989). The USA judicial system has developed a platform for equality and justice in the legal environment by introducing a set of policies, principles, and structures. The aforementioned are observed in law enforcement by every state and institution in the country. The USA has created the capacity to apply multicultural knowledge and skills in the justice framework. The state judicial system has also incorporated the context of efficient communication and response to the different cultural peculiarities. The core goal of the country’s justice system is to treat all humans with respect, despite their ethnicity, race, or culture. Moreover, it aims to ensure peace, justice, and reconciliation among the people of America. The current paper evaluates the level of success in achieving the aforementioned goal.

The Effects of Multiculturalism in the Criminal Justice System

Introduction

The population in the United States of America comprises of individuals from different parts of the world. They have attained their citizenship through various means. The methods for becoming US citizens include birth, naturalization, marriage, or joining the US military. Moreover, other immigrants in the US are pursuing the goal of work or pleasure. Despite the difference in reasons or purposes of living in the states, everyone is governed by the common law. The law doctrines of the United States have incorporated different national cultures. Thus, people can coexist equally and peacefully notwithstanding their diversity in color, culture, or ethnicity (Trojanowicz & Carter, 2012).

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The umbrella of common law provides a platform for equality, as the decree of America is implemented by the people of the country. Law enforcement requires comfort and satisfaction in the interaction between the bodies, whether they are individuals, communities or organizations. Mutual understanding is crucial for the involved entities, despite their diversity in their cultural background. The agreement is necessary to build trust among co-officials, victims or suspects in the judicial branch. The current research paper will discuss the different implications caused by the enactment of the law in the multicultural country of the USA. The research is aimed to understand how the diverse communities in the country should be handled by law enforcement representatives. The research will be based on the Judicial Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (CRT), the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The detailed evaluation of the performance of the departments will help to analyze the criminal justice system comprehensively.

Background

The USA is faced with different challenges in law enforcement with consideration of the diverse cultures’ representatives living in the country. Thus, the goal to create equality amongst people who have different practices and beliefs becomes a challenging task. The possible solution to the inequality is to cooperate with the humanitarian charter that campaigns human equality. Thus, the law enforcement officers, including the police, judges, and lawyers, should strive to understand the diverse communities they interact within their line of duties. The criminal justice system of the USA has been associated with several challenges related to the discrimination of the people of color, which has been the most pronounced in the media. Moreover, the judicial system is associated with injustice in its practices. In fact, it has embraced racism by observing black inferiority and white supremacy. Other factors, such as socioeconomic status and political preferences, have lessened the chances of every individual to entitle to the just trial in the current criminal law system. Persons, who have earned high profiles in the country, have a significant influence on the rulings in the courts. Many of the influential individuals are either politicians or established tycoons with power from their wealth status.

Racism has been inherited from one generation to the other in a multinational country like the US. The young people learn by observing how the older generation perceives the skin color disparity. Typically, the blacks are undermined, discriminated and considered inferior by the public. The younger generations tend to integrate the same perception causing a resistive racism environment in the justice system. The researchers have proved that it has been difficult for most of Americans to adopt diversity in the communities (Miller, professor of history, Trinity College, personal communication, July 2015). The bias and prejudice are transferred to the legal system as well.

Literature Review

Americans have always had resistance to multiculturalism since the citizens prefer immigrants to assimilate into the American way of life and adopt their practices. Additionally, since the US is a superpower, it has always considered its culture the best and expects all the other nations to accept the uniqueness of the melting pot blend. Multiculturalism is defined as a plurality of beliefs and traditions. Hence, the United States is not a homogeneous community of people. On the contrary, America has attracted people from all corners of the world for its economic benefits, open culture and liberties. The population of the country comprises of many nationalities, which bring their piece of diversity into the United States. Some researchers show that initially some of the non-Americans came to the country either as slaves, trade merchants or explorers. However, Rawlins (1992) disagreed with the claim by recording that most non-Americans landed in the country freely in troops for socio-economic activities. Then, the population began increasing with the influence of other factors like industrialization and slavery (Rawlins, 1992). The immigrants were the minority in the country; hence their opinion and rights were neglected.

The USA developed as a civil society earlier than most of the countries in the world. The fact gave the country an advantage over the rest of the nations. In fact, it was viewed as the role model for the undeveloped countries. People imitated most of the American civil practices for they believed to be better and advanced. However, with time, humanitarian forums enlightened people on their rights and freedom, which caused minorities in the US to fight for independence. The first Americans resisted the liberal changes in the country as they were used to the oppressive methods (Zangwill, 2005).

Despite the initial challenges in building a multicultural nation, the immigrants viewed the USA as a land of opportunity and hope. In order to gain some independence in a foreign land, they faced diverse challenges. The immigrants started to suffer from discrimination, oppression, and negligence due to their ethnicity and race. The defaults have existed, spread around the country since and exist even to date. Some of the people were made miserable by the legal restrictions and they had to struggle to earn a living and save their lives (Kennedy, 1986). Others collaborated for the fear of being deported. Many minority groups, such as Italians, Europeans, and Russians, stayed in the country, refused to cooperate with the American rules for they were stronger, and managed to co-exist with the Americans. However, the American communities considered white immigrants equal due to their skin color and financial position. The opposite case was applicable to African Americans.

The biased perception towards minorities has been passed from generation to generation and has affected the social lives of different communities in the country. Racism and ethnicity issues have been extended to judicial practices as well. A black plaintiff may not achieve justice in a court due to racism, cultural, and misconceptions about ethnicity. The Americans have not been able to accept the multi-culture communities in their country yet. At the same time, social groups take the initiative to mitigate the issue. The opposition exists, and the American Presidential Advisory board in 1998 recommended the following steps:

· Strengthen and support civil rights enforcement;

· Enhance the enforcement of laws against hate crimes;

· Pay better attention to research on discrimination, ethnicity, and racism.

The studies of the project have been based on the Judicial Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (CRT), the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The review of the judicial branches and their current work will help to acquire knowledge of the criminal judicial system.

The Effects

Diversity in the American communities has created a multicultural environment in the country. The legal Constitution provides equality and justice for all the residents of America. Despite the fact that American citizens have different cultural backgrounds, they are governed by a common legal structure to bring peace and unity to the country. Moreover, the American population is entitled to fair and just recruitment to the officers of the judicial branch. For example, the police department should hire people from all the communities. Moreover, lawyers and judges should be appointed fairly without discrimination on race, culture or ethnicity.

The communities in American have influenced the understanding of different cultures in the world. As a multicultural nation and a superpower, the United States has recognition and respect for the different cultures. The United States strives to become a symbol of unity for the people around the world. Therefore, recruiting African Americans or Latinos in the police department increase the representation. Moreover, it decreases the chances of institutional discrimination. The minority representatives in the departments increase the departmental responsibility, and the community feels recognized and a part of the judicial system (Ruhly, 2014).

Currently, the legal system of America is open to all citizens and is easily accessible. Therefore, citizens of the country enjoy equal opportunities. For example, an average person in the country can access the judicial services that the wealthy people do. Constitutionally, there is no segregation in the legal system but equality for everyone. However, the officers in the judicial branch have breached the aspect of equality through corruption and injustice. The entertainment of corruption and unfair ruling of cases to favor the powerful individuals has made people lose trust in the system. The corruption involved in the legal process has caused disunity among the people of America due to distrust in the protection of their rights.

The acceptance of the diverse cultures in the USA has helped the country to tap into wealth in different ways. The USA is a well-developed country that provides people with a chance to grow due to the availability of excellent resources. However, the protection of human rights in the legal system, as more people move into the country and deserve to have the sense of security the judicial system.

Poor communication has been a problem for protecting cooperation amongst the different societies. Lack of recognition of some community’s cultural practices has caused them to disrespect and disregard the judicial system in the country. However, with the ethical and race equality efforts in recruitments of official and practice of justice, the civil liberties will effectively improve. The police officers should be trained on the diverse practices of the community, which can strengthen the communication efficiently.

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Findings

According to the research, the judicial system of the USA is effectively planned but has been corrupted in practice by the misperceptions of races and cultural diversity. The Constitution protects the rights and welfare of each community in the country. However, law enforcement officers on different levels and authority departments do not observe the law.

In the courts, the judicial verdicts are mostly influenced by the wealthy powers or popularity factor. Consider a court case involving a person from an average income against a rich politician. The politician has the lobbying power to change the ruling in his or her favor. The unfair practices have led people to term the Criminal Justice System in the USA as the Criminal Injustice system in some cases (Wasserman, 2010).

The findings suggest that in the recruitment and training of the officers in the different communities, racism, ethnicity, and monoculture issues exist. The officers hired in the judicial branch have been favored based not on the merit, but on appearance. Discrimination and segregation of some communities in the United States survived civil rights, causing the inferiority of some minorities. However, the issues have been addressed by the provision of a standard umbrella that covers all the residents equally. The social policy has been enacted to fight discrimination and deliver the promises of the Constitution that outlines the equal rights of every citizen. The observation of the rules has provided a platform for more peace and unity in the country (US Department of Justice, 2010).

Finally, with the election of an African American president, the United States has changed the legal approach to embracing the multicultural diversity in their countries. Thus, the acceptance of the different cultures has enabled many people to learn about various practices that prove the judiciary system unbiased.

Recommendations

In order to improve law enforcement in multicultural communities, the officers and ruling bodies should interact with the citizens not only in times of problems. The communication and cross-cultural diversity will help to relate more easily to the people. Moreover, the public should be able to associate the officers in the judicial department with non-enforcement responsibilities and roles. The attachment will help them understand that the officers are human and related to humanity’s features, and practices. The law enforcement teams should make it their responsibility to treat all the residents in the country with equality and justice. Criminal behavior should not be attributed to a particular race. In fact, some people possess good and bad qualities. It is not right to let the minority groups in society be ignored or neglected.

The discussion of racial and ethnicity issues with the people in the criminal justice system increases law enforcement quality. Through the comprehensive campaigns against the racially-prejudiced criminal justice, its rate will eventually decrease. Everyone should be responsible to educate people on the negative repercussions of the lack of acceptance of multiculturalism in a country. Legal institutions should be the role models in fighting ethnicity bias, racism, and cultural negligence in society. Recruitment, hiring, and promotion issues in the judicial system branches should endorse equal opportunities for all officers in the sector. Relevant qualifications and selection practices should be undertaken in the criminal system. Highlighting of the departments, where diversity has proved successful, should be done to encourage the adoption of the right practices. The above are strategies and practices that can help improve the cultural diversity in the legal system (Peak & Glensor, 1997).

Why the Topic is Suitable in Criminology?

Diversity is crucial for establishing and progressively building trust between the community and law enforcement bodies. Therefore, the study of multicultural communities’ effects on the legal system is essential to criminology. The need for diversity in the legal departments is expressed through this study. Thus, it is important to ensure a balance of the staff in the police departments and law enforcement officers to appreciate other cultures in the United States of America. The minority people should not be viewed as a lesser group, everyone in the society are equal before the law. The study of multicultural communities in the USA helps to understand the need for corporation amongst the people living in the country. Ensuring diversity in the legal workforce helps fight ethnicity and race biases in society (David, 2006). The current study provides a foundation for researching more into diversity values and building more unity and peace in the country. The USA, as the world’s superpower, has a significant effect on the rest of the world, and their view of multiculturalism can be extended to the rest of the world bringing a positive global effect. Criminology demands an understanding of the causes of events and seeking long-term solutions to the problem. The disparity in the legal practices in the American multi-cultural environment provides an example of the ways that people can use to understand each other. The acceptance of the multi-cultural practices in the United States to the extent of choosing an African American president is a symbol of love and respect for humanity. The world learns from the same aspect and understands the importance of accepting the different cultures in their countries.

Conclusion

In summary, the effects of multiculturalism in the USA have both positive and negative impacts. The existing failures in the legal system have possible solutions that can reduce their negative repercussions. The judicial system campaigns for equality and justice for all the American people. The fair treatment from the law system can only be achieved through learning about the different cultures in the country. The American government has helped to achieve equality, justice, and fairness from the judicial system by training the officers on multiculturalism. The training has helped the law to understand the different people in the line of duty. Additionally, the officers are also able to enlighten the citizens on the importance of multiculturalism acceptance in the country.

Unity and harmony in a multicultural community are enhanced when people understand and cooperate with each other. The countries can communicate with each other to unite in the activities to improve the quality of life. The American criminal justice system has recently improved in protecting human rights, justice, and welfare. The efforts have increased the social security of the country. A well-established criminal justice system is a great advantage to the country, which ultimately has great positive influence on the global level.

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