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Law and Justice in Real Time Social Class and the CJ System

War on Drugs…War on (some) Drugs (possessed by certain individuals)

When I first arrived at this institution, the class sizes and the amount of reading that was assigned did little to concern me. The biggest culture shock was the normalization of drug use. A time before the legalization of cannabis in the state of Washington. I was surrounded by students who spoke of their drug habit with no fear, voicing annoyance that they had to figure out who to get it from, smoking in dorm rooms and right outside of dorm room buildings. Confusion mixed with anger flowed through my mind. I spent all of my youth being conscious of stereotypes and the need to stay clear from the slightest hint of misconduct while still being suspected. Making sure to stay far away from drugs, spending my school years constantly being monitored; banning clothing with too many pockets, limiting backpack and locker usage and being ‘cautioned’ -threatened with sporadic drug dog visits. It felt as if they were sure we would mess up and we always had to prove otherwise.

A constant fear of making a wrong decision that would ruin your life was far from the minds of all these new faces I had encountered in college. In the same months I hear those of a higher social status voice their love of cannabis I hear the tear inducing frustration of a student that spent her youth constantly battling the stigma of her peers. Since she was Mexican and her family had property their success was automatically assumed as having been a result of narcotic involvement.  The stereotype that racial minorities are the root of our drug problem is something that is still being believed as we have noted with uproar of candidate approval to a certain individual. This fear no matter how misinformed is the voice that is being heard creating an enforcement of policies reflective of the misinformed belief.

The early seventies proclaimed drug abuse public enemy number one. Giving birth to the War on Drugs and thus enhancing law enforcement and judicial practices. It has cost one trillion dollars after millions of arrest and has resulted in no changes to illegal drug use. Instead we have 500,000 people incarcerated for nonviolent drug crimes.  This call for action against drugs have resulted in hyperactive policing of poor persons and minorities even though drug usage is similar across the board and  federal studies show more drug use among white youths. Disproportionate arrests that have created horrifying circumstances where white Americans, the majority of this country use crack cocaine more than African Americans but African Americans account for 85% of crack cocaine arrests. A new focus point since the 90s being the arrest of easily targeted poor whites for use of methamphetamine. Not a war on drugs but a war on poverty as displayed by glorified drug arrests.

Early 2000s we have “Pot Princess” Julia Diaco from New York who after multiple drug sales to an undercover narcotics officer facing up to 25 years in prison was sentenced to 5 years on probation. An injustice heightened in this article at the comparison of Ashley O’Donoghue, a black man who was also arrested as a first time nonviolent drug offender who is serving seven to twenty one years. Now nearing the end of  2015 we have Sarah Furay an “adorable drug kingpin” of Texas the daughter of a DEA agent possessing five different narcotics along with packing materials and two digital scales.

After learning about the woman from Texas, her privilege and her narcotic possessions, justice would be that she would get served the life ending consequences that come to racial minorities and those living in poverty. But her arrest does little to the fact that the war on drugs has created a target of brown and black bodies and those who live in poor neighborhoods as the worst and ONLY enemy. These stereotypes have created hyper action to one that grant invisibility to another. So long as we keep drug users and dealers in our minds to a certain stereotype we keep the Sarah Furays of this country profitable in their markets and safe from incarceration and public scrutiny. If this policy were really about protecting our children by confiscating drugs that can hurt them, there would be a lot more drug raids on and around college campuses. Furthermore if the war on drugs is truly about keeping people safe which can be interpreted as keeping people healthy we should address the root of why people are seeking narcotics.







Giordani, E. (2015). Criminal Justice. In Latino stats: American Hispanics by the numbers. New York, New York: The New Press.

Haglage, A. (2015, December 1). When Whtie Girls Deal Drugs, They Walk. Retrieved December 17, 2015, from

Jarecki, E. (Director). (2013). The House I Live In [Motion picture on DVD]. Virgil Films.

Mohamed, A., & Fritsvold, E. (2012). Dorm room dealers: Drugs and the privileges of race and class (Paperback ed.). Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.
Newman, T. (2006, March 22). NYU “Pot Princess” Sentenced to Treatment and Probation Despite Multiple Drug Sales. Retrieved December 17, 2015, from

“Supply Demand” Graphic. Mike Keefe. (2009).The Denver Post.

“War on Drugs Message” Graphic. Kirk.



Women’s Rights and Selective Patriarchy

We no longer live in the crude days of centuries past. This is a new modern era and as such society should change to reflect our positive change in the world. I am talking about Women’s rights and how it clashes with the idea of patriarchy. Is there a place for patriarchy in america? Can it exist alongside Equal rights for women? I say in a way, yes.

All men, women, and children are created equal is what we like to tell each other at all points in our lives. While this may be true, not all jobs are created equal. The jobs in question are any and all manner of manual labor that involves cohesiveness and fluid teamwork. For instance lets have a look at the military. As recently as this year, the army is allowing women to train for combat roles. This is new as before women were restricted from fighting. While some may claim this is a win for women’s rights… it isn’t. Now let me tell you why you Rosie the Riveters out there.We-Can-Do-It-Rosie-the-Riveter-Wallpaper-2-AB

While the army was playing with the idea of female soldiers, which is still currently in trials, the Marine Corps ran a similar test. However the Marines would appear to be more thorough in their needs for a soldier. Their findings were that women were not able to reliably handle the normal gear for duty, women added a different aspect to the war fighting unit that destabilizes and causes combat ineffectiveness, and lastly along with the strength disparity, women aren’t able to carry a battle buddy out from the battlefield in times of need.100220-afghan-hmed-12p.grid-6x2

There are zero problems with the women in this test group, they were all fit and were attempting the same courses as the males. In the end its just not the right place for women to be. And that is NOT a bad thing. Women are equally valuable alongside men in many different professions, specially in non combat roles. Now how about patriarchy, how does this tie you ask? Well by keeping women out of certain male roles, greater efficiency can be achieved. Roles such as a leader of combat troops or a construction manager. Both of these roles require experience and labor to achieve. If women were to achieve there jobs then there would be a lack of a bond between worker and superior. By keeping men in charge of labor intensive fields as well as combat roles, our workforce will work far more efficiently.

I like to call this concept “Selective Patriarchy”. By allowing men to remain in power in certain roles, we benefit as a whole. But only for these professions. Women on average make 78 cents for every dollar a male makes and that is truly an issue worth fighting for. Certain ons may not be for women, but all jobs deserve to pay equally no matter what  gender you are.



Women deserve the right to pursue any and all professions they desire. However at the same time, a respect for what duties men also fulfill is warranted. Some times it is acceptable to allow a strong male presence to lead over a female. In other professions and environments this is entirely unacceptable. By understanding the balance between the genders, i firmly believe we can achieve a more fluid and happy society.

-Aaron Wagner

Works cited

Bordo, S. (2003). Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body.

Univ of California Press.

Clinton, H. R. (2004). Living history. Simon and Schuster. Book.

Gruhl, J., Spohn, C., & Welch, S. (1981). Women as policymakers: The case of

trial judges. American Journal of Political Science, 308-322.

Rice, C. E. (2015). Women in the Infantry: Understanding Issues of Physical Strength,      Economics, and Small-Unit Cohesion. Military Review, 95(2), 48.

Smith, J. E., Gavrilets, S., Mulder, M. B., Hooper, P. L., El Mouden, C., Nettle, D., … & van       Vugt, M. (2015). Leadership in Mammalian Societies: Emergence, Distribution, Power,        and Payoff. Trends in ecology & evolution.

The Complexity of the Planned Parenthood Shooting

Unfortunately, mass shootings seem to be the the main headlines in the news on a regular basis recently. There is mourning and prayers sent to those who lost their lives, then we wait for the next shooting to happen and just repeat the cycle. Last month, on November 27, there was a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that killed three people. One police officer and two civilians lost their lives. This shooting surfaces a plethora of problems, due to the complexity of the intent of the shooter, Robert Dear. The recent shooting at Planned Parenthood forces us to take a closer look at abortion and women’s rights, domestic terrorism, and gun control and violence.

The obvious issue, gun control, is an issue that has been on the mind of many Americans lately. The map below shows the mass shootings since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. There is a need to protect American’s right to the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, but there is an extremely large need to find a way to protect citizens from the overwhelming amount of gun related violence. President Obama has addressed two key focuses to this issue: to expand the background checks needed to obtain a gun and to fund research to recognize the causes of these mass shootings (Mitka, 2013). Robert Dear had a fairly extensive record, including animal abuse and charges of domestic abuse that were dropped, but was still able to be a licensed gun owner. The link between gun control and violence seems to be evident, but there needs to be steps taken to control this violence while permitting Americans to their Second Amendment rights.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.23.19 PM

(Lopez & Oh, 2015)

While mass shootings seem to be the cause of someone who is mentally ill, Robert Dear outspokenly had political motives behind his attack. After his arrest, Dear is quoted to be saying, “Protect the babies,” a clearly anti-abortion and pro-choice expression (Vercammen & Yan, 2015). This raises the issue for many that this attack could qualify as domestic terrorism. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the following is the definition of domestic terrorism:

  1. Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law
  2. Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  3. Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
    (Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code, 2013).

This attack was clearly dangerous to human life, killing three people. It was intended to intimidate the Planned Parenthood population, influence the abortion policies of the government, and affected the government by a mass killing. The attack occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. This attack seemingly falls into the definition of domestic terrorism, however officials are so hesitant to label it as such. Perhaps we are quick to label those who are not the majority in our nation, for example Muslims, as terrorists, but are fearful to label a white Christian man such as Dear as a domestic terrorist because he represents the majority population.

Below the surface of this attack, the morality of abortion and the rights to healthcare women have is brought to debate. De-funding Planned Parenthood has been a heavily debated topic in legislation today. However, de-funding clinics such as Planned Parenthood would leave women and particularly low-income minority women, disadvantaged and without access to affordable healthcare. Concerning the right for a women to choose an abortion, it could be seen as being protected under the First Amendment. Many religions, including Christianity, the predominant religion in the United States, see abortion as immoral. However, the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, meaning that religious beliefs and morals cannot be used to influence laws, such as an anti-abortion law. On top of that, women are autonomous agents, meaning that they have the right to make decisions regarding what happens to their body. These women have the same rights as anyone else to affordable healthcare, which includes access to the choice of abortion, and defunding clinics such as Planned Parenthood would disproportionately effect women, particularly minority women.

Ultimately, these mass shootings, particularly this shooting at Planned Parenthood, surfaces critical issues towards the safety and rights of Americans. Citizens should know what constitutes as domestic terrorism, and evaluate what changes we need to make in response to domestic terrorist attacks. The debate over abortion rights and the funding of Planned Parenthood will continue, but it is important to keep in mind the rights that the Constitution provides. The link between these mass shootings and gun control is apparent, and it is evident to see that there needs to be a change. These mass shootings, particularly one like the Planned Parenthood shooting that have a political motive, bring rise to all of these issues, and make it evident to see that policies need to be changed for the safety of citizens. Mass shooting front page headlines should not be a regular occurrence.



Lopez, G., & Oh, S. (2015). Mass shootings since Sandy Hook, in one map. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from
Mitka, M. (2013). Search for Ways to Reduce Gun Violence Spurred by Toll of Recent Shootings. JAMA, 309(8), 755-755.
Vercammen, P., & Yan, H. (2015, December 10). Planned Parenthood suspect Robert Dear has outbursts – Retrieved December 16, 2015, from

Mental Health Concerns in the Administration of Criminal Justice

mental health img

The issue of mental health in our criminal justice system is severely under-represented. We have individuals both taking advantage of and getting lost in the system which gives neither the help they need. The issue of misdiagnosing is where the problem begins; we lack the research we need to complement the diagnosing methods of physicians. Stigma concerning individuals with intellectual disabilities, especially offenders, is also causing conflict in putting them through the system. Minority standing is, of course, the underlying factor in all of this, considering the majority of individuals with mental disabilities in the criminal justice system are part of a minority group.

The plea of temporary insanity (if successful) can prove little to no consequences from the criminal justice system, yet rarely is it truly insanity that drives these offenders to offend. People that are part of the majority, wealthy and white that have the resources to put together a team of excellent lawyers are more likely to use this defence than those that are obviously actually psychotic. The problem with this is it leaves criminals who only claimed insanity, out of the streets to re-offend. Many legitimate psychotic individuals do not even know what is best for them, yet they still have to decide their own fate and many refuse to allow their lawyer to mount an insanity case for them. As a result, they get stuck in the system without proper services to give them the assistance they need that would be provided in mental health facilities. This is one of the many issues with pleas such as these; the wrong people use them and the right people don’t know how to use them and aren’t receiving aid on their behalf.



The stigma we place upon individuals with mental disorders leads many people to brush them under the rug so to speak, because what can they contribute to society? What will it hurt me to accidently put them in jail instead of a mental health facility? It hurts them, it hurts their families and it hurts the community around them when mentally disabled offenders don’t get the treatment they need to not offend again. Jail is not the equivalent of therapy or medication, which is the only thing proven to keep these offenders from re-offending.


In order to stop this problem we need to conduct more research, continue to make better and more assistance programs available to minority groups and change the way people with mental disabilities are tried. Research will make diagnosing more accurate and valid, programs will prevent minorities from ending up in the criminal justice system to begin with and could also contribute to getting rid of prejudicial bias within the system. Changing the way people with Intellectual disabilities are tried is the most important way to stop them from being improperly put in the general jail population. If they cannot make proper judgements they should not and can not make proper decisions on these judgements and should not be forced to.

To close, here are a few last words about mental illness:

1. So how do we fix this problem besides more research and better methods for diagnosis?

2. How much of a factor is race, sex and/or social status in deciding where/how an offender is sentenced?

3. Do you know someone with a mental disability who has had to go through the criminal justice system? How did it work out for them?




If you could reduce the number of future prisoners, would you?

In the few weeks that we have been in this class I can recall three incidents that have come to my attention involving K-12 students and law enforcement. Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for making a clock, essentially the 14 year old was too intelligent for his own good? After that incident, video of 16 year old Emilio Mayfield  being slammed to the ground by police officers after being struck in the face for jaywalking to catch the bus surfaced. In more recent news we have the student in South Carolina who was flipped out of her desk and thrown across the room by Deputy Ben Fields, who was called in after the student was identified as being disruptive to the class.

I understand that these are all very different circumstances but at the end of the day we have three teenagers having experienced unnecessary trauma of being handcuffed and hauled to a police station with fear and questions of self worth running through their heads. What does it say when you have been conditioned to believe that bad people, criminals, are the ones who get handcuffed and you are the one sitting in the back of a police car after being in a classroom?

These incidents help visualize our far too intimate relationship between institutions of education and institutions of incarceration:

Heightened after fear of school shootings we have 82,000 school resource officers and security guards working in public schools (Brown). Not to say that the safety of students and staff should not be a priority, but what does it say when the students safety is put in jeopardy by the person who is their to protect them? Certain student and law enforcement encounters question the priority:

How do we justify a 5 year old with ADHD getting handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and being charged with battery on a police officer (Snyder)?

In the end the mother of 5 year old Michael Davis points out that rather than an apology she wishes her son had the proper education catering to Michael’s learning disabilities, the school didn’t offer behavioral services to Michael or his mother, because it would cost the district money.



Education vs Prison Costs

Data from 40 states depict how much government money is spent per year to educate an elementary/secondary school student compared to the cost of keeping an inmate imprisoned.
Data from 40 states depict how much government money is spent per year to educate an elementary/secondary school student compared to the cost of keeping an inmate imprisoned.



  1. After learning the mechanics of the school system feeding into the prison system, do you have an issue with more money being spent on prisoners than students?
  2. In this instance if we address the needs of the students, we would diminish the needs for prisoners by keeping them from becoming prisoners, so why don’t we prioritize education?
  3. Living in a time fearful of school shootings it seems as though police officers will not be leaving the classroom anytime soon. Does this leave us with a new field of criminal justice? Intro to policing K-12? Who takes on this responsibility, the college level, individual police departments, the school?





“American Kids & The School-To-Prison Pipeline.” YouTube. Ed. AJ+. YouTube, 18 May 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Brown, Emma. “Police in Schools: Keeping Kids Safe, or Arresting Them for No Good Reason?” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2015. Web.

School to Prison Graphic (I):

School to Prison Illustration (II):

Snyder, Michael. “19 Crazy Things That School Children Are Being Arrested For In America.” End Of The American Dream. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

“Stuck In The School-To-Prison Pipeline.” YouTube. Ed. AJ+. YouTube, 20 May 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

“Taking Back Our Schools: Organizing to Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” YouTube. Ed. Advancement Project. YouTube, 23 July 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Yellin, Tal. Education vs Prison Costs. 2013. CNNMoney, n.p.

The Rich White Man’s Burden: House Arrest In a Mansion

Many people know Oscar Pistorius as the first double leg amputee to perform at the Olympics. However, on February 14, 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the bathroom of his estate in Pretoria, South Africa. There has been some controversy over whether Pistorius knew that Steenkamp was in the bathroom, which determines whether this was pre-meditated murder (after a domestic dispute on Valentine’s Day) or if he truly thought that there was an intruder in the house; the location where Steenkamp was sitting/standing/crouching in the bathroom; and whether he took the time to put his prosthetics on or if he was just on his “stumps.” The entirety of the facts of this case will probably never be known, because this all happened in the privacy of his own home.

(Source: "Paranoid Parrot Oscar Pistorius Meme")
(Source: “Paranoid Parrot Oscar Pistorius Meme”)











During the trial, Oscar Pistorius showed a lot of emotion, including crying, or more like sobbing, as well as puking when he saw a picture of Steenkamp’s remains. However, he also seemed very confident that he would be released and be back on the track shortly.

Q: Were the emotions that Pistorius showed helpful or hurtful in his trial? Was he able to cry because he is an athlete who is confident in his masculinity? Was the perception of his masculinity, or lack thereof, misconstrued by him crying? Did his emotions thwart the outcome of his trial?

This case is very similar to the OJ Simpson case. Both OJ Simpson and Oscar Pistorius were athletes and were both accused of murdering their significant others. Being athletes, they are famous around the world and are also of a higher socioeconomic status. They are also more confident individuals in that they play sports at a highly competitive level. Therefore, they can be seen as dominant to their female significant others, especially with the use of a weapon.

Q: Which social construct is most important in this case: socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, or gender, or do all of them work together?

(Source: Times Live "Pistorius Roses are Red Meme")
(Source: Times Live “Pistorius Roses are Red Meme”)

After 49 days in trial over a course of seven months, Oscar Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is a lesser sentence than pre-meditated murder in South Africa, which is the rough equivalent of involuntary manslaughter in Anglo-American law, or the unlawful negligent killing of a human being.

Q: Do you think that Oscar Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide because of the fact that he was a well-known athlete? If he was an average human being, do you think that he would have received the same punishment?

Although he was sentenced to five years in prison, since both of his legs are amputated, he is expected to be staying in the hospital wing of the prison while he is in prison, away from most of the other prisoners. South Africa also has a law stating that for sentences of five years or less, you only have to be in prison for one-sixth of the time that you are sentenced; in his case, he is required to stay in prison for 10 months out of the five years that he was sentenced and then he can petition for house arrest for the remainder of the sentence. He was sentenced on October 21, 2014 and released on October 19, 2015 after spending just less than one year in prison and will now spend the next four years on house arrest at his uncle’s mansion (pictured below).

(Source: The Telegraph, 2015, "Oscar Pistorius will live in luxury after his release under house arrest")
(Source: The Telegraph, 2015, “Oscar Pistorius will live in luxury after his release under house arrest”)

I chose to discuss Oscar Pistorius’ murder case, because he was just released from prison last week and is now on house arrest. Also, this case encompasses race, class, gender, and privacy. Steenkamp is a victim of homicide as a result of her being in a heterosexual relationship with Pistorius. Regardless of whether the act was purposeful or accidental, Steenkamp would not have died that night if she was not in a relationship with Pistorius. Although Steenkamp was a white victim, Pistorius, as a white man, did not receive as harsh of a sentence, in my opinion, as a black man would have received. However, Pistorius’ fame and social class also contributed to the lenient sentencing. A person living in a poverty also would not have received the same sentencing as Pistorius had. Finally, the fact that Pistorius did this in his own home and that there were no reliable witnesses, also contributed to this being sort of up in the air, not knowing the whole truth about the sequence of events that happened that night.

Q: Do you think that Pistorius’ lessened sentence (culpable homicide vs. murder) as well as the fact that he was released from prison to be sentenced to house arrest in a mansion devalues the life of Reeva Steenkamp? Should Pistorius be required to compensate the Steenkamp family for what he did?



(2015). Q&A: What House Arrest Means For Oscar Pistorius. Sky News. Retrieved from

(2014). Oscar Pistorius Trial: Evidence. BBC News. Retrieved from

Phipps, C. (2014). Oscar Pistorius Trial: The Full Story, Day By Day. The Guardian. Retrieved from


Patriarchy: An Outdated Ideal? Or Necessity for a Thriving World?

We know memes, The patriarchy is here! The argument against being a feminist
We know memes, The patriarchy is here! The argument against being a feminist

For the betterment of our intelligence I challenge you to think critically of the arguments you may or may not have concerning Patriarchy. To go even farther, think what that word means to you. Can you think of an instance where Patriarchy or Matriarchy is a good thing? Do you simply see it as a means of oppression and power? Or as a way of showing love by sacrificing to provide happiness for the ones that matter to you? I want to show you what the mainstream media and various social institutions won’t allow… that Patriarchy, in its truest form, is good for society. That the word Patriarchy has been dragged through the muck and along the way picked up the image of privileged, lazy, and greedy men not wanting women to enjoy the same freedoms.

Patriarchy is not some fabricated oppressive strategy formulated by a conclave of sexist men who made a pact to keep their gender “on top”. In fact Patriarchy stems from basic biological differences in males and females. Men cannot exist without females and females cannot exist without males, that being said however, females have the most vital components for the continuation of life. The carrying of the next generation. Men on the other hand are needed “technically” for only one step in this entire process. And we all know which one that is. Throughout history though we don’t see mass communities based solely on females while the men meander around independently only to show up to fulfill their “one job”. This is because of Patriarchy, the idea of men being the prominent member, the leader, of the family. It is simple biology, women are not as physically strong naturally as men, women are also not as capable of independence (true independence) while pregnant. Men however are perfectly suited to provide and work every day of their lives upon reaching maturity. If you take a step back you can see that this isn’t an issue of preventing one gender from freedom but rather conforming to roles that are the easiest and most natural so that the human race can thrive. The reason this makes sense is because humans are communal creatures. We were not made to be alone in the world. Without social contact we struggle and decline. However in a social setting, a community, we thrive. “In patriarchy, men sacrifice their energy, their time, and sometimes even their lives for the betterment of women and children, and women give themselves to nurturing children and families. Feminists define patriarchy as a system of dominance, in which men oppress women. This redefines men’s sacrifice as an act of control, rather than love.”Link <- disclaimer this website offers some more extreme views, they are not necessarily fact but opinion, you are free to interpret in any way you see fit but an open mind can truly help you evolve as an intellectual!

Why Patriarchy is the greatest social system ever created-Return of Kings
Why Patriarchy is the greatest social system ever created-Return of Kings

So… how does all this tie into criminal justice? What if i said abolishing the patriarchy leads to more crime? Lets look at why we work, more specifically why men used to always choose to work and pursue the highest paying job they can net. What is their drive to do so? if you are living alone do you need to work 50 or even 60 hours a week to survive and be happy? No in fact living alone the average person wouldn’t need to work that hard to get by. For a single adult living in king county the living wage is $11.19 which is barely above minimum. Not hard to achieve after a year or so working a low end job and the plus side is you don’t even need higher education to achieve this… However for 2 adults and lets say 1 kid in an ideal situation where 1 parent is working the living wage jumps to $21.51. No longer can an uneducated, unmotivated individual attain this. Don’t believe me? check out the living wage calculator yourself. An unintentional loss by promoting feminism and the abolishment of the patriarchy is the prevalence of work less and enjoy your time more, don’t sacrifice your time working for a corporation to make more when you don’t need it to survive. This mindset of be independent and live a minimalistic life has taken the motivation for hard work out of the equation. So what do we get with a populace of uneducated individuals with lots of free time on their hands? These statistics are what we get. link

Based on the above graph Income is apparently directly related to crime. To round up this post and get off my soapbox that I am sure is covered in rotten food thrown by the reader by now I will conclude that Patriarchy is a positive social system. That being said however I do believe in equality and feel a different word is needed to level against males exerting dominance and oppression while feeding their superiority complex. These males incorrectly use patriarchy by believing their job is any more important than their partners. That is sexism and that is unjust and should be readily punishable by law. How about we officially call them pricks. All I am putting forth is that males are natural leaders and breadwinners, without that job, s*** tends to hit the fan and we as a society suffer because of it. In my opinion respect for each gender is the key to solving these problems. If a male could come to terms with seeing that females have a rough life as well, there would be far less problems by abolishing the entitlement that all so easily leads to abuse.


  1. How has the patriarchy benefitted you or your family?
  2. Could we still achieve equality within a patriarchy?
  3. Is there a problem with masculinity and strength in todays relationships?
  4. What are your thoughts on a female supporting a stay at home husband and child and vice versa. Would you be happy knowing your other half doesn’t work 8 hours a day mon-fri and relies solely on the money you make?

How race and social class ties into mandatory minimum sentencing

For my blog I wanted to tie race and social class into mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are ultimately a set minimum sentence you have to serve regardless of the circumstances. This sentencing law prohibits any and all leniency from judges. No matter how small the crime is, whether or not you have a family, or even if its your first offense if it falls under the mandatory minimum sentence laws you must serve the time set for it. Majority of the mandatory minimum sentences apply to drug offenses, but some of the other crimes it applies to are possession of certain guns, pornography, and economic offenses in some circumstances. Another popular form of mandatory minimum sentencing comes from the three strikes law. For this law you have three strikes, commit two of them then on the third one you will face a specific minimum sentence for your felony. Similarly to mandatory minimum sentencing, the judge is not allowed to shorten the sentence no matter how small the third crime is.

What is a better method of deterrence compared to mandatory minimum sentencing?
Do you think mandatory minimum sentencing was made to help the society or to hurt it?
Should judges have more input to cases regarding mandatory minimum?
Are mandatory minimum laws effective or ineffective?1035x623-20140102-pot-laws-x1800-1388687052

In regards to race, in 2011 Hispanic accounted for 38.3% of offenders convicted for a mandatory minimum penalty, while African Americans had 31.5%, Whites had 27.4%, and other races composed of 2.7%. When these men and women are sentenced to prison, they often leave behind jobs they had, spouses, and children. When things as such occur due to mandatory minimum sentence, their absence does not go unnoticed. The significant other is stuck raising a family struggling which is where social class comes into play. Anyone could be effected by mandatory minimum sentencing, it hit African Americans and other races much harder due to the circumstances. At the time the crack cocaine disparity was at 1-100 ratio. Meaning you could have this tiny amount of crack and get a high sentence when a person with cocaine could have a higher amount and get less or no charge. This applied to race in the sense that African Americans and people from the low class were purchasing crack because it was cheap and primarily white and upper class were purchasing cocaine which was the same thing but not condensed. This issue continued to spiral out of control and as times got harder and black unemployment rates increased, people looked for quick easy money which usually involved buying and selling drugs. Seeing how many individuals relied on selling drugs and ultimately ended up in the system, as mentioned earlier families truly suffered. Seeing how the head of household role was commonly empty because a mother or father could easily be imprisoned youth felt obligated to take on their role and would often do the same things their parents did for money.

Mandatory minimum sentencing is so strange to me. Like someone could commit all these off the wall crimes like kidnapping, assault, and everything else bad but their sentence could be less than an individual that had the smallest amount of drugs due to mandatory minimum sentencing. What’s really crazy is how marijuana is commonly recreational and legal and for countries and people are serving ridiculous sentences due to the mandatory minimum laws. It would be ideal for offenders to have the opportunity to plea their case to an organization or something and give them the chance to be released especially if it was their first offense. Mandatory minimum isn’t doing anything but over populating prisons honestly. The U.S. prison population has grown by almost 800% since the 1980’s. That being said, there’s no reason to not regulate use of drugs but perhaps give judges their discretion of reasonable sentences that are appropriate for their crime. picture

Picture Source1: “The Nation’s shame: The injustice of mandatory minimums” Source2: “Reducing racial disparities in drug sentencing: an analysis of the fair sentencing act, 2015”

Social Class and the European Migrant Crisis

I wanted to tie my blog post into the international realm and take a look at class, criminal justice systems, and how we are reacting. The current migrant crisis that Europe is facing right now seems like the best place to start with that. This won’t be about just the criminal justice system for the countries involved. We’ll be speaking about what laws are at the forefront of the discussion, yes, but we’ll also be taking a look at topics more broad in scope. To start, here are a couple great articles that can bring you up to speed. I’m sure most readers are fairly up to date on this so feel free to skim the articles but pay attention to the various pictures and infographics throughout.


First, this top notch article from the BBC that does a great job using pictures to help you understand as well as outlining some potential solutions.

Second we have this New York Times article that talks about some hold-ups migrants are facing.


After reading (or skimming) those we should all be on the same page so lets delve into some major points and discuss the first major ‘law’. The BBC article mentions The Dublin Regulation. That’s a complex European Union Law that I’ll simplify here. Among it’s chief goals is to figure out what country is responsible for an asylum claim or in other words what country has to shelter migrants. The way this was working during the current crisis is most often the first EU country migrants reach receive the burden. This has placed enormous strain on countries like Hungary. I use the past tense because the Dublin Regulation has been suspended by countries like Germany and Hungary in direct response to this crisis. The Dublin Regulation is not strictly a Criminal Justice oriented law, however it does allow other member countries to transport migrants back to the country responsible for sheltering them. This crisis is pushing existing regulations to the breaking point.

The fact of the matter is that no existing laws are coping with this influx. The EU is scrambling to figure out a suitable course of action. Ideas range from using member country navies to cut off the sea routes and sealing the borders to taking a much more prominent role in ending the Syrian civil war to reaching out to the Gulf Arab Countries to aid in sheltering migrants. What the EU comes up with will likely have world altering effects. It’s worth staying up to date.

How does class play into this? I’ve got a great image to help answer that question. (Image Credit:


If those people seem familiar that’s because they likely are. If you didn’t recognize them right off the bat the people in that photo are high profile, some are even the leaders of countries. The attire of the people on the raft is in such contrast to the environment it’s comical. For me this really illustrates the class issue occurring. The migrants we are seeing are often in tattered clothes, bloodied, and have facial expression akin to despair. We don’t see the rich or elite fleeing in trucks, rafts, or various other means of transportation. Why? This photo brings me to the two questions (more like five) we should all be thinking about.

  1. Is class playing a role in this crisis? If yes, in what ways? If no, why not? Why don’t we see or hear about the elite dying as they flee?
  2. What are some ways the criminal justice system, and laws as a whole, could help ease the burden facing so many EU countries?

Finally, I’d like to leave you all with an image I think a lot of people have forgotten in the face of this crisis. (Image Credit:–g12atJpSWZ)



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Social Class & The Criminal Justice System

Does social class or status have an effect on whether or not a person is convicted of a crime?

If a person is convicted of a crime, does their social class or status factor into how severe their punishment is?

These are two very big questions that bring up some interesting points. Take for example the trial of O.J Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Simpson was able to talk prosecutors out of potentially giving him the death penalty due to the fact that his “pockets were deeper” than those of the prosecution. Many people who are accused of murder are not able to so easily avoid the death penalty, regardless of their race. Despite Simpson being a minority (African-American), his social status was that of a celebrity, meaning he was very wealthy and had the means to adequately defend himself. Many defendants who are minorities do not have those types of means. This is also an example of social class being of higher priority than minority status. Simpson’s master status was clearly that of a celebrity, rather than an African-American, and therefore allowed him to receive special treatment. Because of the wealth and resources that Simpson and his legal team were able to accumulate, they were able to project reasonable doubt onto the jury, which lead to his acquittal. According to one of these articles, “systems of crime control socially construct selectively enforced and differentially applied norms to social groups, according to relationships of power, status, and authority” (Barak). This can be interpreted as the criminal justice system having the ability to decide the harshness or the form of punishment based on the authority, social class, status, or power of an individual, regardless of the crime committed.

Does this make for a “just” criminal justice system? Why or why not?

Here are two articles that discuss more about social class in the criminal justice system:

Also, here is a picture to illustrate wealthy social class privilege:

Social Class