Criminal Justice Policy Making

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In the criminal justice system there are many issues that are controversial. Every individual that makes up a society is entitled to having their own opinion based off of their aspect of justice issues and based off of these opinions/concerns, the need for change in these policies is created. One of the criminal justice issues that is controversial and effects many individuals are crime myths on race and crime, which basically is a belief by an individual about certain aspects of crime that isn’t necessarily true. Crime myths that are associated with Race are especially controversial. The policy community framework would lay out the influences on policy making that the participants, networks, and relationships associated with crime myths about race would have.

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Crime myths about race often include the belief that White individuals don’t commit the most crimes, but the minorities are the ones who commit the most crimes. Minorities are most often considered to be individuals who are of color. An example of the myth that individuals of color commit the most crimes is, “Even the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader, founder of the Rainbow Coalition, and soldier in the fight for equality for all, subscribes to this myth. Jackson once said, “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then to look around and see if it’s somebody White and feel relieved” (Robinson, 3) From Jesse Jackson’s example, it is shown that individuals look at the color of an individual’s skin when thinking of criminality. People of color are not the only ones included in this myth, other minorities are as well. But most often it is shown that individuals associate African Americans with crime. These myths don’t have to necessarily do with the fact that a person is racist or because they are prejudice against a certain type of group, but because the media and institutions present these beliefs about race and crime that these individuals pick up on it and keep the belief going by sharing what has been shared with them, whether they know if it is true or not. Crime myths such as these can influence the policy making process because it isolates certain types of groups and based off of these isolations policy makers create policies that are unconsciously biased towards that group. Which basically makes it so that the myths on crime and race is created from the beginning at the policy making stage.

“Myths of race and crime start at the law-making stage. Such myths are reinforced through the interactions of each institution represented in Figure 1. As the police, courts, and corrections personnel enforce and carry out criminal laws, and as these activities are broadcast by the media, myths rooted in criminal law are reinforced or strengthened.” (Robinson, 3) As referenced above, the interactions of institutions such as the police, courts, and corrections, in a way legitimize the myths created from the beginning. The media just intensifies the reinforcement of these myths because they tend to jump to the conclusion that when a crime occurs, there is a African American suspect, and if there are other suspects, they tend to show the African American suspect first. The news media could be doing this unconsciously as an attempt to gain views instead of losing views, because people in the community tend to have an increased interest on violent crimes.

Using the policy community frame-work, the participants in the race and crime issues are the attentive public, which includes the media, members of the public who are interested in what happens in their communities, academic consultants, and also those individuals who are manipulated by the media. The government and institutions such as the police, courts, etc. are also participants in the race and crime issue present in the criminal justice system. Academics relates to the race and crime issues because you learn one thing about the criminal justice system while at school but then when seeing it being applied in the outside world, you see how different individuals attach their own perspective and beliefs, shifting to a change in the way things are taught to be. The network and relationship between the news media and the attentive public forms when the media broadcasts the new laws or policies being enforced or when they broadcast the mainly violent crimes and forget to include the remaining portion of petty street crimes. From these broadcasts the public forms their beliefs on crime based off of what is presented to them on the television or newspaper.

The relationship between the institutions and the government is one that is a give to give relationship, which means that the governments need the support of the institutions in order for their policies to be successful and the institutions need the government for their voices on issues to be heard and addressed. The reading stated, “Governments, for example, call ill afford to develop policy that will be met with criticism from professionals. Close ties with professional groups are cultivated to preclude such occurrences.” (Ismaili, 12) To gain the support from institutions, the governments seek to gain close ties before introducing policies in an attempt to avoid the negative criticism that could either make or break the success of the policy. There is a relationship and networking between the sub-government institutions and participants, who create the laws that these race and crime myths are attached to, then there is the private institutions and less central government agencies, such as the police, courts, etc. who enforce the myths, through enforcing the laws passed on to them, and the news media broadcasts the end result after a crime is committed or when a new law is created. These participants and their community relationship influence the policy making process because they are each dependent on each other for information on what is going on in the community, and the feedback they give either promotes the success of the policy or it suggests for changes. These participants can also either contribute and enforce the myths on race and crime or they can form beliefs based on the statistics that are also available to them. But they tend to influence the criminal justice policy making process when they enforce race and crime myths because they push for changes that make it harder on individuals of color or of a minority group, if they are arrested. Finally, the public gets their view on everything through the media and the cycle begins again based off of their concerns for what they view or perceive is happening.

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Criminal Justice Policy Making. (2019, Feb 20). Retrieved January 27, 2023 , from

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