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The Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice System, a system the British government set up to deal with the treatment of law-breakers, has three main goals to achieve social order, these are, (1) enforcing criminal law, (2) maintaining law and order in the society, and (3) helping victims. This may seem to be a well thought of system, but like any other organisation, there are flaws, and one of the major flaws is discrimination, and the bias that stems from discrimination.

Discrimination on the basis of class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity operates at the level of attitude, on the street, in the home, at the workplace or at social venues. In regards to the Criminal Justice System, race and gender are always accounted for in court proceedings. As Smith in 1997 said, “the apparent ‘fairness’ of the criminal justice system does not mean that the outcomes will necessarily be unbiased”. Tonry in 1997 found that even though certain ethnic groups are far more often caught in the net of criminal justice than others, they have elevated rates of official offending which differ from one country to another. The major ethnic group in Britain and Wales being black people whose families originated from the Caribbean in the 1940’s. (cited in the Oxford Handbook). Black people find themselves subject to rules made for them by white people, it is also the same for other groups living in the same culture, e.g. it seems to be men that make the rules for the women in society, even though this seems to be changing in the United States. Foreign-born people often have their rules made for them by the Protestant Anglo-Saxon minority. The middle-class seem to make all the rules which must be obeyed by the vast majority - in the schools, the courts, etc.

There are many models proposed within the criminology field that focus on the issue of discrimination. The first is the conflict theory. Conflict theory sees societies comprised of...

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