The Impact of Marginalization on Relations With Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System

The Impact of Marginalization on Relations With Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3615-8.ch005
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This chapter provides an overview of how critical race theory (CRT) has provided an important context for the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. CRT has promoted teaching the history of the criminal justice system in the United States of America (USA) and abroad from a racial perceptive. CRT scholars emphasize race because of how race and racism have shaped and impacted our society and institutions. CRT has been used to understand issues from police violence, sentencing disparities, school-to-prison pipeline, prison abolitionism, and much more. The CRT framework is especially important when it comes to understanding the disparities and history of the American criminal justice and legal system which was based on racist beliefs, institutions, and laws.
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Since the establishment of the United States (US), the government and European settlers before have put the indigenous people and those of African descent into marginalized societal categories. Whites throughout history have benefited from race-based laws at the expense of minority groups especially African American and Indigenous peoples (Chandler, 2010). Without this education, people are more likely to blame the problems within these communities on individual factors and not on societal and governmental factors that limited certain groups from achieving success. The policies and practices of colonial governments including the US government led to many atrocities. This chapter will mostly focus on the US and the impact of racism on the justice system from African Americans being enslaved and later segregated, to the Native Americans being killed, raped, and put into reservations, and the Japanese Americans being sent to concentration camps (Okihiro, 1973).

Many native Americans resisted the government from taking their children, which ended up with various acts of violence, and parents being sent to federal maximum-security prisons when they refused to send their children to boarding schools where they would be beaten, molested, and told their culture was wrong and savage (Lin, 2017). They were seen as lesser than those of European descent because of their culture and race. This has created a lot of trauma that impacts Native American communities to this day which are plagued with high levels of poverty, violence, substance abuse, and other societal issues. Native Americans have been killed by police at significantly higher rates than most other groups in the country (Edwards et al., 2019).

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