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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83302 Find in a Library
Title: Leadership Skills Development Institute - Module 4 - Session 3 Justice and the Poor
Author(s): A Christian
Corporate Author: US Dept of Justice
LEAA Television Branch
United States of America
Project Director: T Gavey
Date Published: Unknown
Sponsoring Agency: Ctr for Community Change
Washington, DC 20007
US Dept of Justice

US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Format: Film
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Community Crime Prevention Services Project director discusses inequities in the criminal justice system (particularly regarding blacks) and strategies local community groups can use to address criminal justice issues that affect poor and minority communities.
Abstract: She suggests that incidences of police brutality in minority communities, sentence disparities between white and black defendants (or rich and poor), and inhumane prison conditions contribute to high rates of crime, arrest, conviction, and recidivism rates in minority (particularly black) communities. Of the over 400,000 inmates recorded in 1977, 80 percent are poor and 44 percent are black. Although blacks constitute 15 percent of the total population, less than 3.5 percent of police officers in the country are black. Moreover, police response time in minority communities is much slower than in white or middle-class communities. She suggests that police receive more training in community relations since 80 percent of police work involves social regulation and that citizens monitor police activities by obtaining information on police work force distribution, use of civilian manpower, internal investigative structure, etc. Citizens can mount media campaigns to exert pressure on the police, initiate class action suits, or establish court monitoring programs they can act to divert certain nonoffenders from the courts before trail, end plea-bargaining, gain a knowledge of criminal justice system functions, have judges selected by special nominating processes, and eliminate indeterminate sentences. Because prisons are expensive to maintain, nonviolent offenders should be diverted to community-based corrections, which should receive more funding. Community groups should build coalitions with other groups (the elderly, inmates, etc.) who are also concerned with community problems since government funding is unreliable and single-issue causes are impractical. They should remember that social and economic justice is necessary before 'criminal justice' can be attained.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Citizen associations; Community crime prevention programs; Community involvement; Correctional reform; Judicial discretion; Law reform; Police Brutality; Police discretion; Police reform; Police response time; Program coordination; Racial discrimination
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Videotape, 56 minutes, color, 1 inch - The Institute was held in Berkeley Springs, W. Va., May 4-10, 1980. For complete set of tapes for this event, see NCJ-83281-83304.
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