The number of people in prison at the end of 2017 was 1,486,000 and out of those 436,500, were white. This means that around 75% of all people in prison are races other than white. Racism in America started when the first people came to America and is still happening today after almost 200 years. White people in the past have had a need to be the most powerful and bring people who pose a threat or seem useful down. White people have done this to African-Americans, slavery and segregation, they have also put people in camps; they did this to Japanese people during World War II. Most of segregation has been dealt with but not in the courts. The racial discrimination that is happening is caused by the biases of the juries, judges and, the lack of information given to the defendants. Over the last few decades, we have made improvements in the court systems but we still have racism in the courts.
Others may believe that because of the jury system we have in place, racism is not experienced in the courts. Throughout a hundred years of trial cases, the jury has been perfected, the jurors have to swear that they disregarded any of their prejudices so they can come to a fair conclusion based on the facts. The jurors during the trial can’t say any incriminating things about the defendant before making their decision. Also, the jury is used to make sure the judge doesn’t convict someone who is innocent, guilty. However, people are always going to be biased and not everyone is going to abide by the rules. In 2010 there was a court case where a Hispanic man was accused of sexual harassment and was sentenced to two years of probation based on a bias decision made by the jury. After the trial was finished the man’s lawyer was told that “two jurors said another juror had said derogatory things about Hispanic men and their sexual proclivities during the deliberations” (Asim 2). This goes against the rules that are set in place for the jury. Even though the jury systems help again the biases of the judge, the people in the jury still will have their own bias.
Judges, who are supposed to be the peacekeeper of the court, will let their biases get in the way of making the right decisions and acting the right way in the courtroom. Judges can decide who is in the jury and who is the defendant's lawyer on the case if they can not afford them even though the jury is used to stop bias opinions made by the judge. (dddd). A study has shown that “judges also remove black jurors “for cause” about 20 percent more often than they remove available white jurors” (Wright), but judges get to decide the defendant's lawyer too. In 1969 there was a court case, Illinois v. Allen, where a man named Allen stood up and demanded to be his own lawyer because he was presented with two layers that were not helping him win the case, the lawyers were given to him by the judge because he couldn’t afford his own (Bell). Not only have judges been disrespectful verbally, but they have also made more harsh sentences for black people than white people. 'African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 [...] exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations” (nnnn). In 2007 a black male named Bobby Johnson was convicted of two murders and was sentenced to 38 years in prison, two years later he was released from prison because of a reexamination of the evidence and the judge realized that he was wrongly convicted. People who are not white have a larger chance to be wrongly convicted and have more harsh sentences because of the judge they have for their case.
The criminal justice system is a system put in place to help people involved with the law to get information but is very confusing and hard to use. The criminal justice system is used to help people who don’t know the court systems very well. During the lifetime of the criminal justice system, there have been 7 million people who have been in dire need of education and assistance, most of these 7 million people, have been blacks. Black people are more likely to need information about the court system, but the criminal justice system is very confusing. The system was made in 1970 and is outdate of today’s day and age. Also, people with more money can get lawyers who understand the system a lot better and win their cases more frequently. The criminal justice system is one of the things we have put in place to make courtrooms more equal yet it is very confusing for someone who doesn’t understand the court system.
Racial discrimination in the courts is affecting many people. Many of the people who are exonerated have been in jail for a long time and will never get their lives back. The jury can be very helpful in some cases but not for cases with a person who is another race other than white. Judges have been, over the years, wrongly convicting people of color more than white people and have not had any consequences. The criminal justice system has been used by people who were convicted of a crime and don’t know anything about the law but it is confusing to understand what it means. The road to equality in the courts has been on an uphill climb, but we still have not reached the top and is still a subsequent amount of racial discrimination.