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Illustration by John Hiller/ Staff Illustrator

 

Opinion: Our justice system is rigged against black men

 

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Jordan Smith
Contributing Reporter
smithj16@uab.edu

The wrongful convictions of black men are becoming a trend that we witness against black men who exonerated for crimes they did not commit. Whether the men are victims, perpetrators, or minding their own business they do not have fair treatment in the United States legal system. 

 

When They See Us, a four-part miniseries based on the wrongful convictions of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise broadcast the wrongful convictions, discrimination, and being disproportionately criminalized at every stage of the criminal justice system. 

 

The New York Times reported that “nearly 1 in 12 black men age 25-54 are incarcerated compared to 1 in 60 nonblack men.” 

 

Featured in the four-part miniseries the five black and Latino youth were made guilty to a crime without giving them a fair chance to voice their innocence. They were wrongfully convicted despite inconsistent confessions and lack of other evidence connecting them to the crime scene. 

 

Black men in the United States have never have never been given the presumption of innocence. Black men trust in a justice system that continuously fails them constantly proving how they are guilty. 

 

According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, “black youth referred to juvenile court are likelier to be incarcerated or wind up in adult court or prison than white youth.” 

 

The justice system is paving a way for our black men to wind up in prison through the school to prison pipeline, police mistreatment, and the drug use that is easier to access in black communities. 

Our black men are experiencing discrimination at every stage of the criminal justice system and saddled with a lifelong criminal record that leaves them with a lifetime of punishments. 

When They See Us tells are accurate story based on months of trail, grand jury testimony, sworn statements from prosecutors, police officers, and witnesses. When They See Us is not only about the Central Park Five who changed history, the movie is about the United States justice system. 

 

Our systematic racism must change. The primary function of a justice system should be accurate identification, fair adjudication, retribution, rehabilitation, and restoration. It should not be to help preserve racial order.

 

We must end our colorblind justice system and fight for the equal rights of all men.

 

 

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