The Effect of Racial Criminal Profiling on Justice System

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Criminal Profiling   

When we hear the term ‘criminal profiling’ we often think that it is the police, stereotyping, and generalizing a whole minority community to fit the criteria associated with a criminal description. There are more things that we should bring into factor when analyzing and describing the characterization of a criminal. If you put a thuggish looking black male, next to a white male who is dressed in a business suit, people are more likely to assume that the Black male is the criminal. The first assumption that would come to mind when asked who’s the criminal is, would be the black male. In another example where a white male who commits a sexual offence versus a Black male and the difference of how it is played out in the justice system gives us an idea of how criminals are type-casted. There isn’t an official checklist that law enforcement professionals can use to determine who is or is not a criminal. However, I do believe that based on how someone was raised, the community they grew up in, as well as other social influences such as the media can negatively impact how we judge someone’s appearance. There is no exact model that we can or should apply to an individual or groups to determine whether they will or have engaged in criminal activity. By basing ones physical appearance (clothing, skin color etc.) or socio economic status (low income family) to determine whether people are engaging in illegal activity is racial profiling which stems from criminal profiling. When we profile someone to fit a criminal description, this can greatly affect how police officer carriers out their duties to serve and protect. They will treat people who fit their mental modes as suspect, instead of equally respecting their human rights. This paper will highlight three main points about racial profiling, how racial profiling affects psychology and the justice system, and how racial profiling has affected visible minority communities.

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Ethical Profiling

The interactions that police have between a person of color and a person of white skin are two very different experiences. In October 2002, the Toronto Star began a series of articles “Race and Crime”, making a claims that “Justice is different for ‘Blacks’ and ‘Whites’. (Melchers, 2003). ‘Blacks arrested by Toronto police are treated more harshly than whites’ (Melchers, 2003). News stories began circulating that the Toronto Police Service, began in racial profiling, or defined by the Toronto Star as “the practice of stopping people for little reason other than their skin colour” (Melchers, 2003). We don’t just see this practice with the Toronto Police Service, its happening all over the world. Law enforcement professionals are hiring members who have a “white collar, clean lifestyle” and when they go into a neighborhood that is typically stereotyped as “the hood”, they see a young Black male, who is walking down the street with his gold chain, nice shoes, and dark clothing and assume that he is up to no good. Racial profiling doesn’t just affect people of Black skin. It also affects people of a visible minority. Looking at a male who believes in the Islamic religion, they get profiled that everyone who is Muslim are a terrorist. Racial profiling limits the right of young Muslim men to be free from discrimination in order to promote the security and well-being of others (Harcourt, 2006). We also have racial profiling as a non- appearance aspect.

How Racial Profiling Affects Psychology And The Justice System

Using race as a profile for offenders that are in the justice system puts a heavy strain on their mental health and the psychology actions by those who are incarcerated. A member of a black community sees that a fellow friend, neighbor, or someone who also identifies as someone from that community, getting profiled by the police members could put a strain on the way they interpret actions moving forward by police. Discussion of race, ethnicity, and culture in the courtroom is complex and controversial for a variety of reasons. However the discussion becomes increasingly complex if the philosophy of the courts does not allow the consideration of race, ethnicity, and culture as identifying or contextual variables in cases involving minority clients (Barrett, 2003). “In the eyes of the government, we are just one race here” (Barrett, 2003). Lately in the news we have stories of police officers, shooting and killing members of the Black community. Now there are 3 sides of a story, the two sides and the truth. There are lots of cases that white police officers are racially profiling Black males, and shooting them in the eyes of the public. As recently this has started protests and lots of injustice in the Black community. The members of these communities are scared for what image society already has in their heads about them.

Canadian police failing to be as diverse as the communities they are policing. Only one major city in Canada — Halifax — staffs a police force that is as racially diverse as its community, CBC News has found. All other major law enforcement agencies across the country fail to reflect their communities’ diversity among their ranks, leaving large swaths of visible minorities and Indigenous populations without representation. (Marcoux, 2016) All other major law enforcement agencies across the country fail to reflect their communities’ diversity among their ranks, leaving large swaths of visible minorities and Indigenous populations without representation.

  • While 57 per cent of Peel region, outside Toronto, is diverse, its police force has only 19 per cent non-white officers.
  • 54 per cent of Vancouverites are from minority groups, whereas 22 per cent of its police force matches that profile.
  • In Québec City and Gatineau, just over one per cent of officers are are diverse, whereas the diversity within their communities are multiple time more diverse at five and 12.7 per cent respectively.
  • For York region, also neighboring Toronto, that ratio is 44 per cent for the population, but 17 per cent for the police force.
  • In Edmonton, 35 per cent of its citizens are visible minorities or Indigenous, yet those groups are represented in less than 10 per cent of its police force.
  • In Nunavut, 12 per cent of the police force is Aboriginal, but the territory is almost 90 per cent Indigenous.

These findings come as minority groups across North America are shining the spotlight on allegations of abuse of authority and discrimination among polices forces. (Marcoux, 2016). In May, CBC News surveyed all major police forces in Canada in order to establish a national snapshot of the racial diversity of key law enforcement agencies. These figures were then compared to the demographic makeup of the public for each community using the results of the 2011 National Household Survey to calculate the disparity between the racial profiles of police and general populations.

A big part of criminal profiling, leads into police professionals, racially profiling people from a non- white community. Studies show that crime rate tends to be higher in areas that more people of colour live. Police officers use personal biases to serve justice, but often get themselves caught up in a race war. With more and more activity between white police officers and members of the Black community there are a lot of demonstrations that occur in city cores. A lot more people tend to let their voices be heard, however sometimes these protests lead into violence. Stories in the news headlights “Black male shot to death by white cop” or “Another unarmed Black male dead due to white police”. Of course this type of situation would cause a scene of ciaos. However police officers around the world, have to look into working better with communities of minorities, and start gaining their trust that yes they are there to protect and serve, but there also there to deter crime. Racial profiling happens everywhere you go. It’s up to our society in today’s day and age, to move on from these stereotypes.

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