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Jeffrey H. Reiman's The Rich Get Richer While The Poor Get Prison

Reiman (2003) argues this ideology continues to reinforce the unequal division of wealth in American society while justifying the control of social institutions by a minority of wealthy individuals. As Reiman (2003) explains this ideology, "For the vast majority, the many millions struggling hard to satisfy basic needs, to acquiesce to the vast wealth of a small minority, it is necessary that the majority come to believe that these disparities are justified, that the present order is the best that human beings can accomplish, and that they are not being exploited by the have-plenties" (p. 8).

In essence, criminal justice fails to correct the inequality in arrests, trials, and sentencing between the very rich and the poor because it is a social institution that is embedded in a social system that promotes inequality. The wealthy control the criminal justice system, which works in their favor, and they are perceived to be fighting the real criminals so the order of the day is more arrests and more prisons for the poor. There is a process of "weeding out the wealthy" in the U.S. criminal justice system for this reason, claims Reiman (2003, p. 109). Reiman (2003) provides a great deal of data that shows racial disparities in average sentencing, something Reiman claims represents the division between rich and poor because minorities, particularly African Americans, are disproportionately poor.

Reiman (2003) is not claiming there is some conspiracy going on among the wealthy to corrupt the criminal justice system and bias it against the poor. Rather, he argues that capitalism promotes both poverty and greed and power that permits a minority of individuals to shape the broad outcomes of a social institution like the criminal justice system. As Reiman (2003) notes, "it is not my view that the poor are all innocent victims persecuted by the evil rich" (p. 130). Rather, Reiman (2003) claims "the poor are arrested and punished by t...

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Jeffrey H. Reiman's The Rich Get Richer While The Poor Get Prison. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 17:43, December 19, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303872512.html
 
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