Criminal Justice Opinion Portfolio

Much hype has been created about weather media is increasing violence or not. Media violence is what is shown in the movies as action, is what is being broadcasted by news channel as news about murders, kidnapping etc. Violence illustrated by media can lead to aggressive behavior and can be dangerous. There are people supporting that media is creating violence and then there are those who blame the government for not being able to control crime in society (Media-awareness. com). My opinion belongs to the first group; media in some way is causing violence and crime.

Crime has prevailed in our society for decades but the rise in juvenile crimes is astonishing. According to a report by United States Department of Justice “law enforcement agencies arrested approx 2. 8 million juveniles in 1997. Of that number, 2,500 were arrested for murder and 121,000 for other violent crimes. Juveniles accounted for 19% of all arrests, 14% of murder arrests, and 17% of all violent crime arrests. ” It further states that “By age 18 an American child will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence” (judiciary. senate. gov).

If media is not affecting the adults, it is definitely affecting children. People who do not agree with this statement should think about the horrifying Columbine High School massacre. The media if not completely but partially did lead to school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, Taber, Alberta and Erfurt, Germany (Media-awareness. com). The youth is far more violent than before. A study showed that “5. 9% of the American high school students, 30 days before the survey, carried a gun and 18% carried a knife, razor, etc on regular basis and 9% of them take a weapon to school” (judiciary.senate. gov).

The media is reporting what is true in form of news but what it shows as captured images is triggering violence in our society. Do Offender Deterrence, Victimization Reduction, And Citizen Participation Programs Work? Is Excessive Use Of Force A Systematic Problem? Excessive use of force is not a present problem. Is has existed forever and it can be said that it will exist even after correctable measures have been taken. Excessive use of force by police is a serious issue and many cases have been reported that depict brutality by men in uniforms.

There has been a very famous case of Rodney King. In 1991 a video televised nationwide showed Los Angeles three police officers kicking and beating a man lying on the ground with their nightsticks (ACLU, 1997). In another incident in December 1996 48 people died of “asphyxia in a cloud of pepper spray while handcuffed behind the back in a prone position” (1997). According to me excessive use of force is inappropriate. It violates civil rights and if matters can be settled by talks then why apply force? A report published by Amnesty International in October 1999 states that Chicago paid $3.

7million to settle 134 lawsuits against Chicago Police Officers. Those cases included being beaten by flashlights, choked and handcuffed while being hit. These acts led to serious injuries and at times even death (Amnesty International, 1999). A survey of police-public interaction showed that about 500,000 people were either hit, held, pushed, choked or threatened by flashlights. They were also restrained by police dogs and threatened or actually sprayed by pepper spray or chemical, there were other forms of force also used.

Of these 500,000 people 400,000 were handcuffed while police used force illegitimately (Greenfield, Langan & Smith 1998). Weather excessive use of force is used by police or by the government it is creating serious issues and is being condemned by many people. No matter what the form is use of force to make the other party submit to your wishes is something that should be avoided and not supported. Those who are victims of this assault and brutality will tell you how this experience is. So instead of supporting this act we should take a step forward and prevent it from becoming an ongoing problem.

Is Death Penalty An Effective Deterrent Against Crime? Death penalty is also known as Capital Punishment and it is given to those convicted of capital crimes or capital offences (Capital Punishment, 2007). The issue of capital punishment is highly debatable. Its supporters argue that it prevents crime, repeated undesired behavior, and is appropriate for a person convicted of murder. The opponents have a complete opposite argument. According to them it does not prevent crime, infringe human rights. They also argue that in some cases innocent people, poor and minorities are put to death.

According to them life imprisonment is a better substitute (2007). Every person has a right to life and liberty. But this right is taken away when criminals are given death penalty. “The 2004 FBI Uniform Crime Report showed that the South had the highest murder rate. The South accounts for over 80% of executions. The Northeast, which has less than 1% of all executions, again had the lowest murder rate” (www. deathpenaltyinfo. org/). According to this crime is not declining where death penalty is high. There are no facts about death penalty deterring crime.

In many studies it shows that it does not deter crime. As an opponent of capital punishment I agree that life imprisonment is a better option to prevent crime. Psychologically a person who is in jail for 14 years tends to be more effected than those who are sentenced to death. “The murder rate in the U. S. dropped from 24,562 in 1993 to 18,209 in 1997, during a period of increased use of the death penalty. The number of murders in 2003 was about 15,600…It is dangerously simplistic to say that the rise in executions is the only factor in the reduction of homicides in America.

There has been a general trend to a more punitive society, over this period and cities such as New York claim great success in reducing crime rates through the use of "zero tolerance" policies… Improvements in medical techniques have also saved many potential deaths” (http://www. richard. clark32. btinternet. co. uk/thoughts. html). These facts establish that death penalty is not the only way to decrease crime. Countries where death penalty is used extensively have higher crime rates than those who do not. It is a controversial topic and needs more consideration and analysis by the government and the people.

Does Criminal Justice System Discriminate Against Minorities? Minorities include the coloured skin, and people of other race and religion in USA. The debate about the criminal justice system discriminating against minorities has prevailed for a long time now. Sheila A. Bedi says that this discrimination in the criminal justice system is originated from the same hatred that initiated slavery (2003). This inequality increased considerably after 9/11, when Arabs and Muslims became the target of harassment by security officials and government.

The beating of Rodney King a black man served as evidence for discrimination against coloured skin people. Facts show that the treatment Asian-African Americans get is completely different from what is received by fair skinned convicts. “Statistics show that more than one-fourth of all black males and 16 percent of Latinos can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime, while only 4 percent of white males ever go to prison. ” (http://www. crf-usa. org/brown50th/color_of_justice. htm). According to Death Penalty Information Centre, a study in Carolina found that chances of getting a death sentence increased by 3.

5times if the victim was white. Another study conducted in California found that those people were 3 times more likely to be sentenced to death who killed white then those who killed blacks (Facts about death penalty, 2007). Racial Profiling has been on a rise and is now widely accepted. This profiling has led to investigations and detentions of Middle East, South Asian and North African people. A study in Maryland showed that 79. 2% of drivers who were stopped and searched were blacks where as only 17% blacks were over speeding (RDJA, 2004).

Discrimination is present in many forms; it can be seen in death penalties, arrests, jury verdicts and sentencing. Last but not the least; in Alabama there is severe racial inequality. “Alabama's death row is 47% black, whereas the state population is 25% black. Although only 6% of all murders in Alabama are black-on-white, 60% of the black inmates on Alabama's death row are there for killing whites. Sixty-five percent of those executed in Alabama in the modern era have been black” (http://academic. udayton. edu/race/03justice/death01. htm). Are Current Drug Control Strategies Effective?

Drug Control Strategies have been improved considerably sine the last few years. Drug control strategies were a problem in 1999 when these policies were not working properly. The drug control strategies were devised to decrease the demand for and supply of illegal drugs. Drug control policies suggested arrests for drug offenders. As the number of arrests and imprisonment rose the death rate due to drug overdose also rose. The current drug control strategy focuses on three issues: stopping drug use before it starts, healing drug users, and disrupting the market for illicit drugs.

A survey by University of Michigan reveals that drug use by teenagers had declined significantly. The percentage drop is 19% since 2001 (National Drug Control Strategy, 2006). Moreover, the use of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, Steroids, marijuana etc has also declined since 2001. Though these results are appreciated there are other issues that still remain to be resolved. The cocaine and heroine use has remained stable and other prescription drugs abuse is still troubling (National Drug Control Strategy, 2006).

There have been positive signs of improvement since these drug control strategies were implemented. I believe these strategies have been effective, if not 100% than at least to some extent they have been. My trust is based on the findings and report of 2006. There will be those who will not agree to this and will argue that there has been no decline in drug use especially among the youth. But I want them to know that everything starts from a small percentage and then grows to be big. If we will argue and will not let these controls work properly they will not give us the desired results.

The drug control strategies have been somewhat successful in decreasing illegal drug use and if we keep supporting it this percentage will soon increase and the drug use will decline considerably. Does The USA Patriot Act Infringe On Civil Liberties? “USA Patriot Act or Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, was introduced by George W. Bush in October 2001. this Act was passes after September 11 terrorist attack on WTC and gave authority to fight terrorism in USA and abroad.

Though this Act was passed with great majority supporting it, it remains a controversial issue till date . The Patriot Act has its controversial sections inspired by the RICO Act. 47% of the people wanted the government to stop terrorism even if it infringes the civil liberties in 2002, but by 2005 the ratio was half against the Act and half in favor of it” (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/USA_PATRIOT_Act) Jennifer Van Bergen I her article Repeal the USA Patriot Act bluntly states “This law is dangerous”. She goes on to say that not many Americans know what this Law is about.

If they think that it only applies to terrorist than they are wrong. There are provisions in this Act that can apply to Americans and that completely violate human rights. In one provision the word significant has been added, which has given FBI the authority to evade warrant for investigation. Meaning they can investigate, search and look around your house without you even knowing about it (Truth out, 2002). Under Patriot Act the government can go way beyond the limits to investigate a situation. This will be infringing human rights and liberty to great extent.

Further according to sections 351 and 358 of Patriot Act financial organizations are required to track the financial transactions of their clients and then share it with other organizations. Further our computers and telephones are being tapped as well. This violates privacy of citizens weather Americans or non-Americans. This secret use of evidence has triggered the abuse of civil rights. Under Patriot Act an “alien” can be held his entire life with evidence that cannot be proved false (2002). USA Patriot Act is violating the civil rights and it should be amended.

Those who support this Act but they should go any study it carefully. The amendments made in it and the liberty given to FBI and CIA has clearly taken away the liberty from the civilians. Is The U. S. Prepared For Acts Of Terror Or National Emergencies? The U. S has worked on many different policies and Acts in order to be safe from terrorist attacks and to be prepared for national emergencies. If there will be any terrorist attack or any emergency the first thing that will be needed will be medicines. Since everybody cannot create stock piles of medicines that they will be needing the government has done that.

It has created a National Stockpile that has large quantities of medicine and other medical supplies that could be required when an emergency hits (Strategic National Stockpile, 2005). These medicines include antibiotics, life support medication etc. SNS also includes 12 hour push packages delivery. When orders will be passed about the delivery of these medicines they will be delivered within 12 hours to the particular area. Since September 11 2001 about $8 million have been provided to State and local governments for preparedness (IWS, 2004).

The President has given $348 million to Health and Human Services in 2002 for anti-bioterrorism program. Bio-terrorism is something far more hazardous then other weapon therefore planning for this in advance is very important. Adequate training and education is also being provided to fight this act of terrorism and be prepared in future (HHS, 2001). If my opinion is asked I would say that U. S is definitely prepared for terrorist attacks and natural emergencies. It has been prepared before as well but these preparations have drastically increased after September 11 incident.

The policies and the planning that the U. S is doing have proved enough to make the rest of the world realize that they are prepared for anything at anytime. All the information being provided by the President is sufficient to believe that in case of an emergency the public would be looked after properly. References Bedi, Sheila A. Asian and African American and the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved http://academic. udayton. edu/race/03justice/crime11. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) r u t h o u t - ISSUES - Jennifer Van Bergen | Repeal the USA Patriot Act

http://www. truthout. org/docs_02/04. 02A. JVB. Patriot. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Capital punishment. (2007, February 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Capital_punishment&oldid=106139222 (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Children, Violence, and the Media. (September 14, 1999). In Senate Committee on the Judiciary. http://judiciary. senate. gov/oldsite/mediavio. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Greenfield, Lawrence A, Patrick A. Langan, Steven K. Smith, Ph. D. Police Use of Force Collection of National Data.

(Accessed on February 7, 2007) Facts About Death Penalty. (February 1, 2007). In Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved http://www. deathpenaltyinfo. org/FactSheet. pdf (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual. (1997, January 12). In ACLU (American civil liberty union). http://www. aclu. org/police/gen/14614pub19971201. html (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Friedman, Ruth E. Decisions and Death. http://academic. udayton. edu/race/03justice/death01. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Media Violence Debates.

In Media Awareness Network. http://www. media-awareness. ca/english/issues/violence/violence_debates. cfm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Summary of Amnesty International's Concerns on Police Abuse in Chicago. (21 October 1999). In Amnesty International. http://www. amnestyusa. org/us/document. do? id=DBB6E033DF0FF1188025690000692F48 (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Thoughts on the death penalty http://www. richard. clark32. btinternet. co. uk/thoughts. html (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Criminal justice system, minorities, black, fair treatment, http://www. crf-usa.

org/brown50th/color_of_justice. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) Hearing on How to Best Prepare for Acts of Terror: National Preparedness and First Responder Funding http://www. iwar. org. uk/homesec/resources/national-preparedness/05-13-2004-hearing. htm (Accessed on February 7, 2007) CDC | Strategic National Stockpile http://www. bt. cdc. gov/stockpile/ (Accessed on February 7, 2007) 2001. 0710: National Governors Association, National Policy Summit on Domestic Terrorism, Washington, D. C. http://www. hhs. gov/news/speech/2001/010710. html (Accessed on February 7, 2007)