Flaws Within the United States Criminal Justice System
Ja'Kaylah Spearman
April 3, 2017








For years, statistics have shown that the United States criminal justice system has many flaws that are need of fixing. These flaws include but are not limited to; false imprisonment, imprisonment for non-violent crimes, a drastic increase in drug offenders being incarcerated from 1980 to 2008, how the system is failing to rehabilitate the youth , and over 7 million people being in prison or on parole. These problems provide enough evidence as to why the United States justice system needs to be overhauled.
Adults are not the only ones effected by the unjust criminal justice system that is in place in the United States. "This injustice is reflected most starkly in the lifetime incarceration of youth without the possibility of parole. While our juvenile justice system was founded on the belief that young people have the potential to grow and change, almost 2,500 young people have been denied any opportunity in their lifetime to prove they have been rehabilitated and are safe to return to our communities." ("Our Broken Justice System") . By allowing these youths the opportunity to be rehabilitated reflects the failing criminal justice system. "This practice is an extreme example of other large-scale problems throughout our juvenile and criminal justice systems. Specifically, the sentencing of youth to life without parole highlights many systemic failures of our justice system, which include: 1) overly punitive treatment of youth; 2) disproportionate minority contact and racial disparities in sentencing and incarceration; 3) mandatory minimum sentences and lack of judicial discretion; and 4) inadequate assistance of counsel." ("Our Broken Justice System") .
By putting the youth into this off-balance system, the not fully developed minds of the youth are molded by the corrupted system . " Young people do not have adult levels of judgment, impulse control , or ability to assess risks. The areas of the brain affecting judgment and decision-making typically are not fully developed until a person reaches his or her early 20's. " ("Our Broken Justice System") . The system also takes away the youth of the juveniles from them since they are never rehabilitated. "There are severe consequences for youth who are transferred to the adult criminal justice system. Young people become eligible for mandatory sentencing and life without the possibility of parole when they are tried in adult courts." ("Our Broken Justice System") . This punishment is unjust and causes more problems for juveniles instead of rehabilitating them like the system was meant to do.
Another problem with the system is the unjust racial issue within the system. " The arrest rate of African American youth is nearly two times that of white youth. African American youth are 1.4 times more likely to be detained than white youth arrested for the same crimes, and are twice as likely to be transferred to adult court. " ("Our Broken Justice System") . The system was not intended to be based off the color of one's skin but there are many examples of this being the case. The system seems to favor white Americans in terms of loose punishments. " African American youth are 10 times more likely than their white peers to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. " ("Our Broken Justice System") . The criminal justice system is so unjust that, " Although African Americans comprise only 12% of the overall population, they make up more than half (56.1%) of youth sentenced to life without parole. " ("Our Broken Justice System") .
A certain flaw with the system allows juveniles to be tried as adults. This decision is made based off various factors. " According to the Campaign for Youth Justice, 15 states allow prosecutors the discretion to have a youth's case tried in the adult criminal court, 15 states require juvenile court judges to automatically transfer a youth's case to adult criminal court for certain offenses or because of the age or prior record of the offender, and 29 states automatically require a youth's case to be tried in the adult court based on the age of the youth or the alle ged crim e or both. " ("Our Broken