Friday, December 26, 2008

The Criminal Justice System and Mandated Sentences Part 1

This is part 1 of an interview series about injustices in the US criminal justice system. After viewing it and reading the transcript you should then see part 2, part 3 and finally part 4.

Important Notes from part 1 of the Interview of Dr. Deborah Burris-Kitchen (hereinafter DBK) by Dr. James Haney (hereinafter JH)

JH: Let's look at the Criminal Justice System from Dr. Burris-Kitchen's perspective

DBK: Three Aspects of the Criminal Justice System

1. Policing (Looking for People who are committing violations against our legal code)
2. The Courts (Those who prosecute those who are accused)
3. Corrections (The people who are responsible of taking care of the people who are sentenced under the criminal justice system)

Where the disparities lie is from the Courts into the sentencing aspect, then into incarceration. We've also got probation and parole. Parole is where they come out of the system. Probation is where they are basically at the front end. They are given probation as opposed to being sentenced to a prison system when they're convicted on an offense.

Our legal system came basically from the English Common Laws. So we're still a system that looks a lot like what was brought over by the English when they came to the United States.

JH: And so the whole aspect of the Criminal Justice System in the United States is really an extension, almost, of the English System?

DBK: Right! And when we get to that part of the discussion, that's going to play a big role, and why the system looks like it does, as far as it being somewhat discriminatory against different racial groups in our society.

JH: ...We've heard quite a number of people complain, quite recently about what they call Police Brutality. I don't think that it is as prevalent really today as it had been, I think in the past but is that a real issue today, in the criminal justice system

DBK: There's a lot more control over what goes on with Law Enforcement Officers, because they have cameras in their car now and they are constantly being watched. There's a lot more surveillance now than there ever used to be for police officers. But I still think that there is some police brutality that goes on. And one of the projects that I worked on out in Southern California was related to police brutality and they actually had a book that was published, it's called October 22, where they published all the different people who were actually killed by the police.

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