Judge Lubbie Harper Jr. expounded on the significance and implications of considering cultural diversity in the principles and practice of criminal justice at the Division of Criminal Justice’s Multicultural Luncheon. The event where the discussion took place was to not only commemorate the Black History Month but provide relevant insights and information about how cultural diversity influences criminal justice as an entire system of knowledge and application processes. Cultural diversity is founded on two moral principles of respecting human dignity and endowing all citizens with the right and privilege for equal justice.
The struggle for the ideal state of human affairs, such as respecting the people’s human dignity and acquiring equal justice as rights and privileges, was highly palpable in the history experienced by the African-American population. During that time, constitutional laws that protect the rights and privileges of all citizens neglected the pleas of the African-American population. Harper perceives that history and constitutional laws framed in the past denied the African-American population’s significant role in the progress and development of America as a nation, and the black population experienced injustice and disrespect from the rest of the nation. Against this backdrop Harper establishes the role of the criminal justice system in ensuring that everyone is provided with the right to equal justice and respect for human dignity despite one’s racial and ethnic background, religion, and such.
Awareness and acceptance of cultural differences, according to Harper, is a source of national strength. It fosters our points of view as a people in stirring our lives to become an inspiration in improving the quality of life. To realize this aim, the criminal justice system should do all means possible to improve the legal system incorporating concepts and principles of cultural diversity and awareness. In addition, the criminal justice system should be a primary institution, strong and unwavering, in upholding the virtues or fairness and equality. This, the criminal justice system will achieve by arming themselves with the laws embodied within the constitution in order to abolish inequality and injustice.
The criminal justice system is an institution of high authority and power. This authority and power awards this institution the opportunity and capability not only to practice fairness and equality, but also to influence other institutions and citizens to do the same. Moreover, the criminal justice system is in a high and influential position to declare what is good and desirable in cultural diversity and enunciate on the bearing of cultural differences on the strong foundation it contributes to society and the nation.
Harper considers the criminal justice system as a beacon or an agent of change that is instrumental in keeping the people together and breaking down cultural barriers that divide the population into hostile groups. The criminal justice system is not only a position of authority that carry out laws and decisions, but also a ground of practicing moral fiber that represents the people of all cultures. Furthermore, the criminal justice system is not only a firm institution, ruling the nation with iron fists to implement the laws. It should also learn to be consistent in considering to serve the people fairly and equally by looking deeper on what makes each culture different and unifying it with the dimensions of fairness and justice.
Harper ended his discussion about cultural diversity and the criminal justice system by urging it to become a role model putting into action the concepts of cultural diversity and awareness. This ultimate purpose, he directly stated, may be accomplished by educating other people, especially the younger generations, of the value and significance of cultural diversity, fairness, and equality. Moreover, the criminal justice system becomes an institution of morality and goodness by looking at crimes as offenses done by people, and not by people from a particular race or ethnic background. Harper call on every individual to realize the role of cultural diversity and believe in the system of criminal justice to award the people with equality and fairness by helping the institution realize their roles and responsibilities.
Harper, L. H. (2007). Diversity in the Criminal Justice System – Its Value and Its Implications.
Retrieved October 18, 2008, from JUD. Website: http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/news/Speech/Harper_Diversity_0207.pdf