Roadmaps - Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Justice System (pdf)

    Roadmaps - Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Justice System (pdf)

    Roadmaps - Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Justice System (pdf)

    Bias can be found throughout society, but nowhere does it carry more serious consequences than within our system of justice. Likewise, no aspect of society should be more concerned with assuring fairness and equal treatment of everyone served than its judges, courts, lawyers and others who deliver the system of justice to the people. Unfortunately, there are numerous ways that our system fails many of those it purports to serve.

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    Every citizen of this nation, young and old, regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnic background, must be concerned with this matter and strive to improve the manner in which all of our citizens are treated by the justice system. A nation which pledges itself to assure "liberty and justice for all" can do no less. Inequities in treatment and numerous publicly reported instances of racial and ethnic bias have caused many citizens of color in this country to not trust that the system of justice will treat them fairly or in the same manner as their majority counterparts are treated.

    The continuation of this situation can only lead to an increasingly disgruntled and disenfranchised population. Every state in the nation has recognized that numerous inequities exist regarding the manner in which its courts serve its minority constituents. Most have conducted surveys and studies and concluded that examples of bias can be discovered throughout all levels of the system and in every courthouse. Many states, as well as the federal court system, have undertaken steps to find the sources of such bias and develop ways to correct the problems which pervade the system.

    The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts (formerly the National Consortium of Task Forces & Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts) identified nine key justice system issues relating to bias. These were culled from recurring themes recognized by various states. They include judicial education, employee education, criminal justice, juvenile and family issues, jury issues, court functions and services, complaint mechanisms, court interpreters, and judicial system diversification. Additional information about the Consortium and its work can be found later in this publication. Neither all the problems nor all the solutions can be explored fully in the pages of this Roadmap. However, several aspects of the issue will be highlighted, and examples of approaches in jurisdictions which have found ways to address these problems will be presented.

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    Publication Date

    7/1/2008 12:00:00 AM

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