Incarceration is one of the correction measures that persons guilty of felony and other offences are subjected to. According to the statistics, the United States incarceration system documents the highest number of casualties in the world. For instance, 7% of the United States adult population was jailed in federal, state or county prisons. In addition, 3.1% of the same population was under correctional supervision, parole or probation. Besides, a total of 89,000 persons between the age of 18 and 21 served their terms in juvenile detentions during the same period. According to the literature, persons incarcerated for felony often serve their jail terms in state or federal prisons. However, minor offenders like persons convicted of misdemeanor offences usually serve their terms in county jails. Essentially, the United States’ prisons operate at various levels of national security. These range from minimum security prisons to super-max security prisons that basically serve hardcore and dangerous criminals. At the federal level, Federal Bureau of Prisons operates under the U.S. Department of Justice to administer prison services. Essentially, the system deals with individuals charged with acts of felony as defined in the District of Columbia’s law. This body was formed in 1930 with a view to ensuring that prisoners are accorded humane care and professionalize the prison system in order to administer consistent services to the United States’ citizens. According to the literature available, the Bureau has the judicial mandate to carry out federal executions under the federal law (Condie, 2003).
At the level of the states, different cities operate small independent jail facilities for purposes of short-time incarceration which can range from 72 hours to five days. In some instances, states may have a unified prison system whereby all correctional facilities are operated by the state. However, these work complementary to federal states that are often located around federal courthouses to hold defendants who are appearing before the federal courts. Basically, the length of time served in jails depends on several factors, including the nature of the crime, sentencing guidelines, and the criminal record of the convict. This is always determined by the judge or the jury that heard and determined the case at the trial stage. In fact, some prisoners are sentenced for life without possibility of obtaining a parole (Langeluttig, 1927).
Due to the existence of juvenile courts in the United States, the country incarcerates young people more than other countries in the world. Although, this has been a source of controversy, especially considering that incarceration at childhood significantly affects people’s success in adulthood. However, the system has since created conducive environment that enables the youth develop to become responsible adults even after serving in juvenile prisons. Understandably, each correctional facility in the United States has different divisions to take care of security levels associated with different inmates. For instance, super-max prison facilities operate under the highest level of prison security as they handle dangerous criminals. These include criminals convicted of murder, assaults, and other serious violations of the law. As such, all prisoners are held in individual cells, where doors are controlled from a point of safety using remote control systems. Although their risk of escape is quite high, these prisoners are allowed out of their prison cells for at least one hour in every 24 hours. However, they are still required to remain in an exterior cage as the facilities tightly restrict movements outside the cell block. Nonetheless, the cells are quite conducive, with each having its own sink and toilet to enhance hygienic standards. The medium and minimum security group does not have such strict rules regarding prisoner’s movement. In fact, they sleep in dormitories that have bunk beds and lockers where they can keep their possessions. However, statistics from the U.S. Prisons System indicates that 40% of criminals serving their terms in jail at any given time belong to the minority groups in America. This is despite the fact that the minority groups combined only account for 10% of the U.S. population. Ideally, this has been the reason behind constant civil activism with respect to the legal system. The intended research will seek to verify these claims and propose relevant reforms that would ensure that such claims of social bias are eliminated. Besides, the civil society will be able to make informed decisions based on the findings of this research, rather than act on hearsays (Neal, 2006).
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In conclusion, the hierarchy of the United States legal system is quite complex. This is due to the fact that they all operate independently at different units of administration. For example, the judicial system has certainly tried to live by the American Dream that all men are, before the Lord, equal. Besides, they have a police system that is very professional and acts without bias to ensure that law and order prevails, at least most of the time. However, this legal system has been said to promote racial prejudice as it convicts more of the minority groups than the mainstream Americans. My research will seek to reveal some of the biases that exist within the structure and functions of the American legal system. In particular, I will try to verify the claims by minority groups that the American legal system has historically favored the mainstream Americans. For instance, the popular claim that most criminal cases are usually associated with blacks has been a major issue of popular concern. In light of this, I will collect and analyze all the data related to judicial cases in the last three years and determine if there exists any correlation regarding the claims of biasness. This will certainly help give proper advice to the civil society concerning their pursuit of justice and equity in America.
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