While the fight against segregation was supposedly settled years ago, researchers are finding that there is still evidence of racial separation. Scientists at UCLA began a research project 60 years after the famous Brown v Board of Education ruling to discern whether or not the United States has become truly equal for all races.
A police chief in a neighboring state was accused of promoting racial profiling tactics after an email he wrote surfaced publicly. The email stated that racial profiling serves a purpose in law enforcement when carried out correctly.
The head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police issued an apology this week to the minorities across the nation for their mistreatment at the hands of police departments during the last century. He spoke of how trust has been undermined and how police action has exacerbated tension between officers and the communities they are supposed to "protect and serve."
Earlier this summer, President Obama's administration made it illegal for juveniles within the federal prison system to be placed in solitary confinement. New York State and New York City jails ban the practice as well. Yet just last month, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office, in Syracuse, came under fire for subjecting 16- and 17-year olds to "extended and arbitrary" solitary confinement, sometimes for periods that last several consecutive months.
Late last week, the Legal Aid Society of New York filed a federal civil rights suit that seeks to repeal a 40-year old statute in the state's penal code, which grants the police broad authority to arrest individuals for suspected prostitution. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the law is so broad that individuals can "be arrested while talking to two men on a corner; while talking to someone through a car window; while walking down the street with a bottle of Korbel; for going to your job selling sofas; if it happens that you have worked as a prostitute before; just for wearing something an officer decides is too provocative."
There are many problems with America's criminal justice system. One significant area that receives little attention is the prosecutor's office. It is one of the most powerful elements of the criminal justice system, yet it is subject to very little real oversight. Sure, most district attorneys and state's attorneys are elected, but that may be as much part of the problem as is the tremendous power they exercise.