Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice system.


Unknown-1As a person of color, a women of color at that, this hits home for me. I am not a person to talk about my experiences a lot of the time, but I feel as though this is an appropriate time to do so. Racial Disparity, “the proportion of a racial or ethnic group within the control of the system is greater than the proportion of such groups in the general population (Sentencing Project).” Is a big problem that I myself, and many others face on a day to day basis. When we look at color and position in society, white men are at the top, then Black men, then White women, and then lastly Black Women. Black people, or minorities for that matter are not valued like those of our peers.

images-1We can see examples of this with police officers and racial bias and profiling. The picture on the left of Justin Bieber and Richard Sherman is a good example of this. As a society we are so quick to think that an African American is a “Thug”, uneducated, not a law abiding citizen hampered to his white counter parts. in this photo we can clearly see that is not the case. This is not a rare picture either, this is a reality. Because of the disproportionate representation of African Americans, especially African American males incarcerated it makes it hard to believe that there are quote on quote “good” African Americans out there. I myself as well as many of my uncles have been racially profiled. It infuriates me more than anything else.

In the video right below this, she talks about many of the disparities that we can see in the criminal justice system. many being that of the crack cocaine and powder cocaine disparity, as well as the incarceration disparity, and jury selection bias. She goes on to tell explain more of the disparities that many African Americans face on a daily basis. We can also see this with traffic violation bias. A police officer might pull someone over for a minor traffic violation but then go on to abuse his power and search the car for weapons or drugs because of the color of the person they pulled overs skin.

What the women in this video is talking about like i said is the truth for many African Americans in this country today. It breaks my heart that many of my brothers and sisters are pressed and have a harder time living in a society that doesn’t even want them here in the first place.



1. Should/would cultural competency trainings be of help to law enforcement including those of lawyers, judges, etc. when dealing with minorities in the criminal justice system?

2. If the Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine disparity dropped, how would we get racial disparity to not be a problem in this country at the level it is today?

3. What systematic change would it take for minorities to not be presses, as well as face a disparity when in the criminal justice system?


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.

Final Blog Post: LGBT, and the Laws that Protect Them

As some of you may know, there are many individuals discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The courts and the United States in whole have come along way to try to provide fundamental rights to the LGBT community. As seen in the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, ruling in a  6-4 vote to allow same sex marriage nationwide (Obergefell). What some deem a historic day for gay rights advocates as it established a new civil right.

To me, this is just scratching the surface. The 14th amendment grants all citizens born or naturalized in the United States from being denied “life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law.” The United States is founded on ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of association, religion, liberty, equal treatment, the list goes on. And yet, the LGBT community is marginalized. Members of this group are subject to discrimination in mainstream society due to prejudices rooted in beliefs and traditions about sexuality and gender. LGBT people are suffering from various forms of socioeconomic and cultural injustices. That deprive them their rights as citizens of the United States of America. Lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are more likely to experience intolerance, discrimination, harassment and the threat of violence due to their sexual orientation.

Some policy makers refuse to see that there is an actual problem, that there is in fact a need to pass laws that protect gay and transgender workers from things such as workplace discrimination. Its very much so the case of, “You dont realize what you have, until its gone,” and what they have is mainstream hetero-normative ideas the notion that nothings really wrong, they are just another social minority group wanting recognition.


Sure the Constitutions, Equal Protection Clause does not protect a citizen on the bases of sexual discrimination, but it should be implemented or addressed nationwide. LGBT rights struggles to find universal acceptance, the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human rights, drafted in 1948, does not specifically include sexual orientation allows some people to consider LGBT rights debatable (Universal). That should never be the case everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration established by our founders.

The revisions to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a proud acknowledgement that protection is needed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As this act prohibits discrimination of the basis of race, religion, national origin, and sex in both the state and private level. However, EEOC rulings are not binding on private employers and federal courts may rule differently, but its a start non the less.


Bendery, J. (n.d.). It Is Now Illegal For A Federal Contractor To Fire Someone For

Being LGBT. Retrieved December 13, 2015, from

Calfas, J. (2015, August 1). Employment discrimination: The next frontier for LGBT  community. Retrieved December 13, 2015, from

37 Shocking LGBT Discrimination Statistics – (n.d.). Retrieved December  16, 2015, from

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2015, from
Obergefell v. Hodges. (n.d.). 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?




FINAL POST: Defining, Categorizing, and Understanding Mass Shootings In America


Sadly, the above picture is completely accurate. Mass shootings have never been more prominent in America’s history than they are today. In this year alone, there have been more mass shootings than total number of days (381 so far, to be exact). Even now, in 2015, after years of recurring mass shootings, there is still no set definition of what exactly a mass shooting is. No one has yet to define exactly what aspects make up  mass shootings. All that is really set in stone when it comes to the definition of the subject is that someone needs to shoot and kill at least three other people, which does not include the shooter even if they get killed or commit suicide during the act, with a gun. Apparently the number of victims who are injured during an act but not killed is irrelevant to what defines a mass shooting. Therefore 100 people can get shot and injured in a shooting, but if no one dies it’s not a mass shooting. What? That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

There are many aspects of a mass shooting that add up to make its definition, the most important aspect being that the crime was committed with a gun (obviously). Another important, yet somewhat bizarre quality that defines a mass shooting is the number of deceased, but not injured individuals in the crime. According to the federal government in 2013, “three or more people must die, excluding the shooter” for the crime to be considered a mass murder (Ingraham, 2015). The area in which the shooting takes place also plays a big part in defining a mass shooting. The crime has to take place in a public area in order for it to qualify as a mass shooting. It’s really not that hard to believe that America cannot define what a mass shooting with all these ridiculous qualifications.

What is most difficult about defining a mass shooting is that there are different kinds of them. David Hemenway, a professor at Harvard University, came up with the idea that there are actually three subcategories of mass shootings (Ingraham, 2015). The first of the three categories is gang violence, but we never really see anything on the news or internet about multiple homicide shootouts happening in the ghetto, except for blue guys shooting black guys. Another one of the subcategories is domestic violence, which is basically when a family member goes of their rocker and starts shooting other relatives, usually over substances. The last category is public shootings, which is pretty much self-explanatory. Hemenway’s three category theory seems to be focused around the idea that there is a sort of hierarchy or tier list-like structure when it comes to this specific type of crime.

The main problem with Hemenway’s theory is that he doesn’t take into account the most important aspect of what should define a mass shooting: the motive of the shooter. I almost feel that gang violence and domestic violence aren’t even in the same league as a public shooting due to the motives of each criminal group that commits these acts. You never see or hear of a bunch of gangsters meeting up in some public place to randomly kill people because they’re psychotic or have some radical ideology they’re trying to spread because that is ridiculous. Historically, almost all mass shooters in recent years have committed their acts alone, unless they are committing an act of terrorism but that’s a whole other discussion. These lone gunmen carefully plan out their acts, picking out specific locations and times of day to avoid detection and for max casualties (Frances, 2014). This is why it’s hard to even consider putting domestic and gang violence with public shootings as subcategories of mass shootings, the motives are too different. Another reason why Hemenway’s subcategorization theory (as I call it) is a hard sell is because domestic and gang violence can be predicted and deterred to an extent, unlike psychopaths like James Holmes and Dylann Roof. After being arrested, James Holmes (Aurora shooter) was asked why he chose the theater of all places, he replied saying he thought about choosing an airport. When the officer asked Holmes why he didn’t pick the airport, Holmes responded “because that would be an act of terrorism. Terrorism isn’t the message. The message is, there is no message” (O’Neill, 2015).

In conclusion, we need to better our understanding of what exactly a mass shooting is and what defines them in order to be thinking about any possible solutions. Something that could help people grasp a better understanding of the subject is an implementation of something like Hemenway’s subcategorization idea. The criminal justice system could use the “mass shooting hierarchy” to determine how harsh of a punishment to give shooters of different categories. For example, the category of mass shooting that would receive the harshest punishment would be a premeditated one that the shooter is using to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature. This is essentially an act of terrorism and should receive the harshest punishment. The mass shooting hierarchy is a pretty confusing concept to wrap your head around, but could if implemented correctly.


  1. PLEASE, what defines the term “Mass Shooting”?
  2. Should there really be subcategories of mass shootings? Does it work?
  3. What are some plausible solutions for deterring mass shootings and stopping the exponential growth rate of them WITHOUT mentioning the 2nd Amendment?


Frances, A. (2014, May 30). The Mind Of The Mass Murderer. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Ingraham, C. (2015, December 3). What makes a ‘mass shooting’ in America. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from

Lafraniere, S., Cohen, S., & Oppel, R. (2015, December 2). How Often Do Mass Shootings Occur? On Average, Every Day, Records Show. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Mass Shooting Tracker. (2015, December 7). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

O’Neill, A. (2015, August 27). James Holmes formally sentenced to life plus 3,318 years – Retrieved December 15, 2015, from

Palazzolo, J., & Flynn, A. (2015, October 3). U.S. Leads World in Mass Shootings. Retrieved December 15, 2015, from

Final Blog: Examining the Death Penalty’s Effectiveness, Morality, and Constitutionality


The death penalty is an extremely controversial issue all over the world, but especially in the United States. Though more than half of Americans surveyed said that they supported the death penalty in 2013, support for it is continuing to decline over the years (Saad, 2013). The Supreme Court has continuously ruled that the death penalty is constitutional and should continue to be in use (Mott, 2015), despite the large amount of research showing it’s ineffectiveness. Aside from the death penalty simply not being an effective method to deter crime, it’s immoral for our own justice system to purposefully take human lives. Unfortunately, until society’s interpretation of the constitution changes or enough people stop supporting the death penalty, it will continue to be used as a way to deter crime and punish capital criminals, even if it doesn’t work well at all.

You’d think with the large amount of support that the death penalty has, it would also significantly help in stopping capital crimes. Clearly, however, the general public is uninformed and is basing their decisions on the death penalty off of false perceptions and facts. One study surveyed many top criminologists on whether or not they believed the evidence around the death penalty showed that it deterred capital crime, and they all agreed that it did not (Radelet, 2010). If the experts’ opinion isn’t enough for you, then maybe statistics can show this. For more than 20 years, states that use the death penalty have actually had a higher rate of murder than states that do not use the death penalty (Deterrence, 2015). In 2013, the murder rate for states that used the death penalty was 4.72%, and the murder rate for states that did not use the death penalty was 3.88% (Deterrence, 2015). So, not only does the death penalty not have a significant effect in deterring capital crime, it seems that it may have a reverse effect and make capital crime worse (Deterrence, 2015). Here’s a graph showing the murder rates in states with and without the death penalty over the last few years:


Unfortunately, for the death penalty to really deter criminals from committing murder, offenders would need to really think through the crime they were going to commit and carefully weigh all of the costs and benefits (Donohue, 2009). Another study showed that offenders typically think a lot more about the rewards of committing crime than the costs, and even when they do think about the costs, they think more short term (getting arrested) than they do long term (getting the death penalty) (Donohue, 2009). Aside from the death penalty being simply ineffective, it’s also immoral.


This picture makes a great point. How does it make sense to try and stop murder by murdering someone who murders? If we can all agree that murder is wrong and immoral, than we should all be able to agree that it is equally wrong and immoral to take another human being’s life as punishment. Some people argue that the death penalty is the only punishment that’s proportional to capital crime, but life long prison sentences without parole may be enough (Kohlberg, 2010). This way, the offender can think about what they’ve done their whole life (Kohlberg, 2010). Giving them the death penalty would simply end their suffering and punishment, and would really only punish their loved ones and society who got to see the state kill another human being (Kohlberg, 2010). And think about this: what if, in the off chance, the person getting the death penalty was innocent? A recent study found that 4% of people on death row are innocent (Gross, 2014). Some of these people are proven innocent and released, but some are not, and it’s not like the death penalty is reversible (Gross, 2014). Even if our justice system is 99% sure that a person is guilty of a capital crime, they can never be entirely sure (Gross, 2014). Is the death penalty really worth it with that small possibility of innocence? I don’t think so. Nobody should have to die at the hands of the state, regardless of their actions. Even with the death penalty’s ineffectiveness and immorality, the Supreme Court has ruled it constitutional time and time again, and this is why it still continues today.


The Eighth Amendment states that no punishment for crime can be too “cruel” or “unusual,” and the death penalty has never been deemed either of these things (Mott, 2015). Some people have questioned whether or not it is somewhat unusual in the way that it’s administered since a disproportionate number of minorities are given the death penalty (Kohlberg, 2010). However, since the death penalty is technically a proportional punishment for capital crime, the majority of people don’t seem to think that it’s too “cruel” or “unusual.” Additionally, the Fifth Amendment says that we all have the right to life (and a few other things), but there is a statement that specifically addresses capital crime, saying that nobody can be deprived of life by the state without due process of the law (Richardson, 2013). Some people argue that if the Founding Fathers were against the death penalty, why would they need to include a clause that implies that a person could be deprived of life by the state, as long as there was due process of the law (Richardson, 2013)? As it stands today, our society is interpreting the constitution in a way that says that the death penalty is okay (Mott, 2015). If we were to change our views on what is “cruel” and “unusual,” or interpret the Fifth Amendment in a different way, the death penalty may not be allowed anymore (Mott, 2015).

Overall, the death penalty is extremely ineffective and may actually have a reverse effect on deterring capital crime. It’s also immoral for the state to take another human being’s life, but unfortunately the death penalty is constitutional and will continue to be seen this way unless society changes the way we interpret and understand the constitution.


Deterrence: States without the death penalty have had consistently lower murder rates. (2015). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Donohue, J. (2009). The impact of the death penalty on murder. Criminology & Public Policy, 8(4), 795-801. Retrieved December 10, 2015, from EBSCO.

Gross, S., O’brien, B., Hu, C., & Kennedy, E. (2014). Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7230-7235. Retrieved December 10, 2015, from

Kohlberg, L., & Elfenbein, D. (2010). The development of moral judgements concerning capital punishment. American Journal of Orthopychiatry, 45(4); 614-640. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from Wiley Online Library.

Mott, J. (2015). Is the death penalty constitutional? Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Radelet, M., & Lacock, T. (2009). Do executions lower homicide rates?: The views of leading criminologists. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 99(2). Retrieved December 10, 2015, from ProQuest.

Richardson, W. (2013). Is the death penalty unconstitutional? Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Saad, L. (2013, January 9). U.S. death penalty support stable at 63%. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from




FINAL POST: Security Implications of the Refugee Crisis


As some of you may know, there is a refugee crisis going in Europe. A majority of the refugees are coming from Syria and Iraq, fleeing the barbaric violence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS. These violent religious extremists are trying to expand their control over the region between both Syria and Iraq to install what their name implies, an Islamic State. The problem is that while they expand, they are killing those who do not adhere or adopt their extremely harsh version of the Islamic faith. On top of this, the Syrian government is also killing those they deem as rebels, and those who support them. The combination of violence from both parties has left many cities in ruin, with the dead in mass graves to demonstrate what happens to those who oppose them. Those who do not want to fight against either party take their families, and run. They move from one city to the next, trying to find safety, anticipating when ISIS soldiers will come to their city next. After months of doing this, many families find themselves at the border of another country.

Several governments throughout Europe have made an effort to house the refugee population. Turkey has been able to house a majority of the refugees, but are seeking financial assistance from the countries who refuse to give the refugees asylum. A massive amount of money is needed in order to give the new population the social services they need. Since over half of the refugee population are children under the age of 18, who need to continue their education. Turkey recognizes that the majority of refugees are educated individuals who also need jobs, which Turkey is happy to oblige with. Given the wave of recent attacks in Paris and Beirut, countries accepting refugees are increasingly concerned with the prospect of having ISIS operatives concealing themselves within the refugee population, waiting to stage an attack.

Ever since the war in Syria has begun, there have been people leaving their home countries to fight. A current estimate is that 20,000 fighters from western countries have gone to the either Syria or Iraq for these purposes. Since the sides of the conflict are so blurred together, it is easy for ISIS recruiters to convince foreign fighters to fight on their side, convincing them that they are the “good guys”. Once a member of their organization, they are sent to various battle grounds and fed increasingly intense propaganda to brainwash them into accepting their extreme ideologies. As we saw in the Paris attack, a majority of the attackers were French or European citizens who returned from Syria and launched the type of attack world governments were afraid of. It is understandable for the citizens of the governments accepting refugees to be concerned over this particular security threat. This is has been especially evident in our own country with our recent political debates being over the 10,000 additional refugees coming into our country. However, this fear is being inflated considering that after 2009, the security screening of refugees has made it so only 1% of global asylum seekers get admitted into the United States. Then only after one year do they get to apply for citizenship, which subjects them to even more security screening. All of which is conducted by a host of three and four letter agencies with the greatest amount of intelligence assets in the world.


This video is heavily biased against refugees, relying on heavy fear mongering, but it does portrays very real security concerns -however inflated they may be-.

Since the war on terrorism began, the US has chosen a new target for racism. Although we hate to admit it, this is completely normal; unacceptable, but normal. During each and every conflict the US had partaken in, we demonize the ethnic group that we are at war with. In this current war, it happens to be the Muslim population, and anybody that looks like them. Things have gotten so out of hand that Mosques an US citizens have been attacked on the streets simply because of their religious beliefs. Additionally, there is an increased demand for security from all aspects of society. People want to be protected from the next boogey-man. After 9/11, the US gave up a huge amount rights in order to feel more secure. The implementation of the Patriot Act, made it so the government can surveil a majority of the population in the hopes of preventing another attack. But as information gets leaked out about how much spying the government actually does on us, the more uneasy we get about how much power we granted to them. Given the current climate of fear after the San Bernardino shooting, we then have to ask ourselves how much more freedom we are willing to give up. Are we willing to arm the police with so much weaponry in the name of national security that we have armed patrols walking down the streets, giving the 2nd Amendment advocates something legitimate to worry about; after all, the difference between an offensive and defensive weapon is the direction the muzzle is pointed. How far will we allow our fear of a terrorist attack to go if it means giving up more rights of our fellow citizens, and preventing a suffering population to wait out in the cold as we decide whether they can be trusted? If we allow ourselves to succumb to the fear of the unknown, we are giving up what it means in this country to be an American. What will the land of the free and the home of the brave do in the face of adversity? Close its’ doors, or open them?



Doocy, S., Lyles, E., Delbiso, T. D., & Robinson, C. W. (2015). Internal Displacement and the Syrian Crisis: and analysis of trends from 2011-2014. Health And Conflict, 9(33), 1-11.

Jenkins, B. M. (2015). The Implications of the Paris Terrorist Attack for American Strategy in Syria and Homeland Security. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs United States Senate. Washington D.C.: The Rand Corporation.

Jones, S. G. (2015). The Syrian Refugee Crisis and U.S. National Security. Committee on Judiciary Subcomittee on Immigration and Border Security United States House of Representatives. Washington D.C.: The Rand Corporation.

Kazem, H., & Dart, T. (2015, October 9). US Muslim leaders brace for protests with potentially armed demonstrators. Retrieved from The Guardian:

Moodliar, S. (2014). Militarism, Mass Surveillance and Mass Incarceration. Socialism and Democracy, 28(3), 77-83.

Pierini, M., & Hackenbroich, J. (2015, July 15). A Bolder EU Strategy for Syrian Refugees. Retrieved from Carnegie Europe:

Piggott, M. (2015, November 14). Paris Attacks: Anti-Islam protesters disrupt peaceful demonstration in Lille, France. Retrieved from International Business Times:

Pope, A. (2015, November 17). How We’re Welcoming Welcoming Syrian Refugees While Ensuring Our Safety. Retrieved from

Roussell, A., & Neuilly, M.-A. (2015). Lecture. Washington State University. Pullman.

Sedgwick, R. (2015, October/November). Primer on the Islamic State. CIAO Focus.

Taras, R. (2013). ‘Islamophobia never stands still’: race, religion, and culture. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(3), 417-433.


Final Blog: Race and Social class in the Criminal Justice System


The debate of whether or not race and class plays a significant role in the criminal justice system still remains a big question. You will get different answers from different people.  For example, if you talk to people who have been to prison or has been  part of the criminal justice system you will get a different answer than someone who just relies on the media and what they see. I am one of those who has experience in the criminal justice system. Not only because I am majoring in it, but because I have actually worked at a prosecutor’s office.  I would say yes. This is simply based on the patterns that I saw with in my time with the prosecutor’s office and some research. As for the question of whether or not class place a role in criminal justice system, I think the answer to that is it depends. I don’t think that the social class matters too much, but I think if you are a celebrity or a famous person you will get out of anything. . This question  is harder to answer, but at the end of the day, I think that it does not matter at all.

It is kind of unfortunate that this is even a subject that we have to study. It really kills me to say this, but the answer to this question is yes. Yes, race does play a huge role in the criminal justice system. The first time that the question arose for me was when I found out about few of my colleagues. Long story short, my white American colleagues got less time in prison for the same crime that was committed by my African-American colleagues. After doing some research, I found out that This occurs outside of the courtroom too. According to statistics. “Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. To be more specific, 1 in every 12 African Americans in their 20’s are in the criminal justice system as prisoners (Morris, 1). The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to get arrested than their white counterparts. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make up two-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today. to be sentenced to prison.” the main argument here is that people of color get longer sentences than their white counterparts.


Social class plays a role in the criminal justice system. A  key reason why whether or not the social class in the criminal justice system is so hard is because it seems like the only rich people that get away crimes are the celebrities. This includes Wall street CEOs, Professional athletes, politicians and even Actors/Actresses. There are a lot of celebrities that get away with crimes. One example is the Donte Stallworth incident. Donte Stallworth was an ex-nfl player who played for Cleveland Browns. On March 14, 2009 Donte Stallworth got in a car accident which ended up killing a pedestrian. Mr. Stallworth did admit that he was drinking the night before. Three weeks later, Mr. Stallworth was charged with DUI manslaughter.His sentence was that he got 30 days in jail and 2 years of probation. This basically means that he cannot leave his residence without permission. That is a really short sentence as is, but what was even stranger was that Mr. Stallworth was supposed to pay the Reyes’ (Mario Reyes’ family) $2,500. The Reyes’ did not want the money. Instead, they wanted him to donated the $2,500 to the charity group Mother Against Drunk Driving (Philips,  A lot of people argue that on the other we have Aaron Hernandez’s case which is literally resulted in the exact opposite of how Donte Stallworth’s did. Mr. Hernandez got life in prison.

One issue that is probably not that important, but still kind of important enough is the body structure. Study shows that wealthier people tend to be slimmer because they tend to like running more than lifting weights and playing sports.  According to Lisa McIntyre’s book The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology, she describes 3 different body types. the first one is ectomorphs which is basically when someone is thin and fragile. The second body type is endomorphs which is when someone is short and fat. The final type of body type is mesomorphs which is muscular and athletic (McIntyre, 172). Normally people of higher social classes are ectomorphs and look pretty innocent while people who are poorer are either endomorphs or mesomorphs and look like they committed a crime.


Donte Stallworth at his trial

The question about whether or not the race plays a key role in the criminal justice system is still a debatable topic. This will always be one of the most debatable topics ever. There is really no one answer to this question. You can ask anyone you want, but you will get different answers from people. I maybe a little biased because as a  colored individual has who had their fair share of run ins with the criminal justice system. Not only that, but I have had experience in observing the criminal justice system. After doing a little research, I found that it is very common for race to play a key role in the criminal justice system. This also includes in the “criminal justice system” for schools. Meaning that colored students tend to get suspended or even expelled more than their white counterparts, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. It is obvious these numbers differ by state, county and even cities, but even working within the criminal justice system I saw similar numbers. I did notice the pattern at my place of work.

Another issue that should be addressed is whether or not social class plays a key role in the criminal justice system. After doing some research, I found a common theme. That theme was that the only time social class plays a role in the criminal justice system is if they are a celebrity/ famous person. Other than that. people who are wealthier do have a slight advantage because they can pay themselves out, but other than that, it does not play a big  role in the criminal justice system. Even on occasions, their celebrity status does not matter. An example of this is the Aaron Hernandez case. He was a former NFL receiver who got life in prison. Although, like i said earlier, most celebrities get off pretty easy.



  • Cole, D. (1999). No Equal Justice. New York, New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
  • Mauer, M. (2007). Uneven justice:states rates by incarceration by race and ethnicity. The Sentencing Project.
  • Stallworth Charged in man’s Death. (2009, April 1). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from
  • McIntyre, L. (2006). The practical skeptic: Core concepts in sociology (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Donald Trump’s Ban on Muslims: Unconstitutional


Donald Trump was publicizing his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.- and he was standing on stage at an event honoring Pearl Harbor.  Trump and his supporters came together this week on the deck of the USS Yorktown, and the occasion was the 74th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy.”  On December 7, 1941, the air and naval forces of Japan struck the U.S. naval base in Hawaii, killing more than 2,400 U.S. service personnel and sinking eight battleships.  The post-Pearl panic in America prompted the White House decision to remove Japanese-American families from their homes and detain them in makeshift camps for years (a decision the U.S. has been apologizing for ever since).

Now, I know that trump was born after World War II, but he knows the basic story of this period.  He even referred to it with APPROVAL this week in his speech about barring Muslims, saying that Franklin D. Roosevelt had done the right thing at the time.  Trump used The Supreme Court’s decision NOT to interfere when reviewing Roosevelt’s for his internment policy as good precedent for his ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

This lashing out on Trump’s end has created a raw edge for the debate over immigration and terrorism in our time and for his followers, it was another instance of “common sense”  and Trump playing on people’s fears than concerns of about being “politically correct.”  Trump, had previously called for surveillance against mosques and said that he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S. (  His message comes in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers and the day after President Barack Obama asked the country not to “turn against one another” out of fear.

But isn’t that EXACTLY what Trump is telling us to do?  Well it is working, and it showed at his rally on Monday night where you will see in this video below many of his supporters being enthusiastic about his proposal.

The Muslim travel ban will most likely do a small dent to Trump’s popularity amongst Republican primary voters.  Despite repeated controversies, the billionaire businessman has dominated the GOP contest for months.  What does this say about the American people?

“Without looking at various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension.  Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” – Donald Trump




Obama’s administration condemned Trump’s proposal as being completely contrary to our values as Americans.  Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, pointed to the Bill of Rights’ protection of freedom of religion and emphasized the “extraordinary contributions” Muslim Americans have made to the U.S.  Trump’s proposal contradicts U.S. security. Rhodes stated that, “ISIL wants to frame this as a war between the United States and Islam, and if we look like we’re applying religious tests to who comes into this country, we’re sending a message that essentially we’re embracing that frame and that is going to make it very difficult to partner with Muslim communities here in the United States and around the world to prevent the scourge of radicalization that we should be focused on” (

In London, there is a petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK and has attracted more than a quarter of a million signatures (which is more than enough for a committee to consider sending the motion for a parliamentary debate).  To ban Trump from the UK would allow British residents the opportunity to stand up against hate speech.

Donald Trump’s proposal is unhinged and offensive, but the worst part is that there is a way for it to be legal.  Trump has yet to release many details regarding his policy, but if elected president, President Trump would have to persuade Congress to take up his cause and Congress could pass a law barring foreign Muslims from entering the country and it would be constitutional.  This may be true, however barring Muslims who are American citizens from re-entering the country would violate the Constitution.   Scholar and constitutional expert, Michael C. Dorf states that “Odious discrimination in immigration law is unconstitutional, as the House of Representatives itself tacitly recognized when just three years ago passed a resolution expressing regret for Chinese exclusion laws, which were based on ethnic prejudice.  Immigration policy based on religious prejudice would be equally odious, and thus unconstitutional.” Almost all of what Trump is saying is stupid, and a majority of it is un-American, but some of it is constitutional, which is a very scary thing.



  1. How does Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. further militarization in the U.S.?
  2. Is Donald Trump’s call for a ban appropriate?
  3. Is Trump playing on peoples fears or is Obama administration acting out of fear?
  4. Would you vote for a Muslim President?
  5. Will Trump remove himself from the presidential race?
  6. What do you think will happen to America if Trump is elected?
  7. How would you compare the U.S. and U.K. reactions to Trump’s proposal?


Diamond, Jeremy (2015).  Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S. Retrieved December 8,2015.

Elving, Ron (2015).  Trump’s Call to Bar Muslims Echoes Crisis From The Past.  Retrieved December 7,2015.

Mazza, Ed (2015).  Petition Seeks To Ban Donald Trump From U.K. Over Hate Speech. Retrieved December 8,2015.

Peralta, Eyder (2015). Trump’s Muslims Plan. Retrieved December 9, 2015.

Militarization of Law Enforcement and Use of Force

It is to no surprise that there has been a change to the way Police Officers are perceived based on their change to their uniforms, wUnknowneapons, and increased power they have in society. We can see that the transformation of not only the uniform, but forms of protection and weapons from police officers is starting to mere that of the United States Military. It is no coincidence that they look like that, it is intentional.

imagesOn, “Last week tonight” with John Oliver he talks about some of the reasoning behind this transition and how it is effecting society. A eye opening photo of about twenty officers dressed and equipped like a soldier all pointing M-16 rifles at an unarmed black male with his hands up. This is no coincidence because Melissa Harris-Perry quoted that, “Defense department 1033 program spent $4.3 billion dollars in military equipment transferred to local police.” So when we look at photos from Ferguson, Chicago, New York, California, we see a uniformity of the militarization of police officers. Why? because this is not a problem isola-
ted in one geographical region, it is a nation wide problem. Yes, some places experience it harsher than others. Like Oklahoma for example, their chief of police allowed military personnel to come and train their officers brining in military tanks, and firing off loud military grade weapons, scaring their surrounding neighborhoods. We are aware of this, it come down to how much it affects you to make you want to speak up. But why when we google search images of militarization of police officers, or watch stories about it on the news, it involves people of color?

Lets take Ferguson for example. In ferguson 63% of their population is black. 84% of police stops are of blacks, 93% of police searches are of blacks, and 93% of arrests are from blacks, which is obvious racial profiling. But if most of Ferguson’s police officers are white, and wear and have military grade weapons and uniforms it is safe to say that their law enforcement departments use their power to depict and police others of color within the criminal justice system in a militeristic way. A radio interview with representative Hank Johnson, discussing militarization of law enforcement. It reads:

“I believe it’s a culture that enables or says it’s okay for law enforcement officers to shoot to kill blacks, be they male or female, Hispanics … to use excessive force. Yes, I do think it’s a cultural issue within certain departments. Certain departments have a documented history of using excessive force.” — Rep. Hank Johnson, on the perceived culture in some police departments

This also ties back to race and the criminal justice system, because of the fact that the police officers that have militarized are still profiling and having bias toward those people of color, that are as well being killed. The culture that we live in today is scary, we have become so complaisant with what is going on around us that it has become the norm to hear about the problems with Police officers and their departments and not even be phased anymore. Making a hashtag is how we deal with our problems now. But what about the contrary and the benefit of PPU’s and SWAT being used for crowd control? Or is that just an excuse?

It is really fascinating to see how ex military personnel is being hired to become police officers. There is such a disconnect and change between a soldier coming from a military background, especially straight from war and being put not only in a police officer position but a high ranking police officer, being able to dictate training and policies of lower ranking officers. Soldiers, whether we want to believe it or not come back looking at the world differently. when we send our soldiers to war, were not sending them to white countries, were sending them to countries to kill enemies of a different race. Very similar to when police officers deal with civilians here in America, most officers are white having to deal with people of color. So when we get trained by military personnel and then allow soldiers to be police officers we begin to adopt their way of thinking.

Because of the increased police officer trainings, we can also look at the other side of them, a side people think is okay. The use of military equipment for crowd control. But in my opinion it is the same thing there are just using it as a crutch to do the same thing. Take San Bernardino, Ferguson, New York, etc. should our local law enforcement be able to have the weapons that they do for local ride arounds or even crowd control. I maybe totally off here, but i do think there is a huge correlation between militarization of law enforcement and use of force as well as race tying into it.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


  1. Do you think the increased military trainings within police departments effects police brutality?
  2. Has social media effected the way police officers can do their jobs effectively, if so how?
  3. If this is a cultural problem, how do we begin to change our culture?
  4. Should we only have special task teams do deal with domestic terrorism, active shootings, etc. or does it help if local law enforcement can be trained in the same way so that a situation can be under control by the time SWAAT is assembled?
  5. Is there reverse prejudice from civilians to police officers? and does it make their job harder


    Huffington Post, 2015.

    Ryan, Reily, huffingtonpost, 2015

    John Oliver, 2014 Last week tonight with john oliver