Classism in Criminal Justice

Topics: Criminology, Crime, Criminal justice Pages: 12 (5121 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Justice is a word that many of us hear every single day and accept although a lot of us possess skepticism in regards to what it really means. Generally speaking, justice is the concept of righteousness and equality. When it comes to society’s thoughts about how “just” the criminal justice system is, we usually include the “ism’s”: sexism, classism, and racism, to illustrate a number of the stumbling blocks that this program possesses (Brewer & Heitzeg, 2008). Although it is evident that most of these societal distinctions play a significant role within the criminal justice process, my goal is to give attention to classism. Classism would be the discrimination towards a group or individual based upon social and economic standing (Webster, 2008). Classism is certainly one of those “ism’s” that occurs a lot more than all of us realize and quite often, we might mistake it with things like racism or sexism. Classism, from my opinion, takes on a greater role within the criminal justice system rather than the other types of discriminatory practices. Specifically, class mainly comes into play throughout the sentencing process. Numerous authors believe elements beyond class play a far more crucial part, however I think that there must be far more focus paid to the role that class plays within the targeting and the sentencing procedure within the criminal justice system. So that you can be aware of the part that class plays within the sentencing process, we have to, first, consider the role that it plays prior to when the criminal gets to the day of sentencing. There is a variety of periodicals that speak on profiling and actuarial techniques which get individuals into the system. Although these are generally two huge proponents of the discriminatory acts which exist within the bounds of the criminal justice system, it does not start with these institutionalized techniques (Brewer & Heitzeg, 2008). The initial examples regarding discrimination, leading to all of the other types inside the system, are often the laws and crime management policies which are integrated that, in most cases, are placed in favor of the wealthy and in opposition to the poor (Brewer & Heitzeg, 2008). In Marxist criminology, one of many essential concepts would be that the “ruling class” places every one of the other classes at a disadvantage. This is often accomplished by means of labeling specific acts as deviant and, in laymen’s term, these types of deviant acts come to be referred to as “crimes” (Barak, G. P. 2007). Clearly, the individuals that happen to be labeling these kinds of alleged deviant acts are not likely to mandate them in opposition of their pursuits, so they are created in a manner that provides the individuals with high class as well as power certain flexibility, whereas the individuals whose interests are not taken into consideration are placed at an unjust disadvantage. Authors of Class, Race & Gender Crime, Barak, Leighton and Flavin stated “The rich and powerful use their influence to keep acts from becoming crimes, even though these acts may be more socially injurious than those labeled criminal” (Barak, Leighton and Flavin 2007, 124). These types of deviant acts are generally managed by laws and regulations that happen to be integrated to enhance the interest of the state, which happens to be run by way of the upper-class. Again and again we come across instances of this particular disadvantage in play. This is often displayed by means of favoritism displayed towards individuals of the upper class by giving them a slap on the wrist for criminal offenses that would be regarded as significant whenever committed by way of a person in the lower class. One more type of this favoritism might be profiling the lower class for particular criminal offenses that the elite might be carrying out for the reason that in the event the lower class commits these types of crimes, they are simply “more threatening”. Barak, Leighton and Flavin provide a...

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