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Posted on June 8th, 2012, by

The ďJusticeĒĚ an Individual Can Expect to Receive at the Hands of the Criminal Justice System Depends on His/Her Position in Society





                                                          All animals are equal but some are more equal than others

George Orwell, ďAnimal FarmĒĚ

Traditionally, justice was one of the key concepts of the social life. Historically, the concept of justice varied depending on the socio-cultural environment but, in actuality, it has never been realized. In fact, the existing ideal of the concept of justice is quite different from what people actually face in their life. In this respect, it should be said that the social position of the individual always played an important role in the system of criminal justice and in the attitude of this system to an individual and, therefore, in the interpretation of the concept of justice. In other words, in spite of the existing legal norms and basic principles justice is supposed to be equal for all people regardless their social position, level of income, race, gender, etc., but, in actuality, an individual can expect a different justice from the part  of the criminal justice system depending on his/her social position.

First of all, it should be said that the criminal justice is far from perfect or ideal. At any rate, it is obvious that justice can hardly be applied equally to all people. Basically, the reasons for such a situation are quite obvious since the inequality in the treatment of people by the criminal justice system is highly dependent on the social position of an individual.

In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the social position of an individual may be a key factor in the justice he/she can expect to receive from the criminal justice system. For instance, it is not a secret that a social background often affects the decisions taken by courts and the attitude of the criminal justice system at large to an individual. It proves beyond a doubt that the attitude to an individual accused in some crime will be different if he/she occupies a high social position or, in contrast, occupies the lowest position in the social hierarchy. As a rule, the attitude to an individual with poor social background, who has low income and lives in a community where the crime rate is very high will be exposed to higher risk of getting a more severe punishment compared to an individual belonging to the social elite. What is meant here is the fact that people, including those working in the criminal justice system, are often biased, especially in relation to people that occupy lower social position. They simply believe in the existing social norms and views, according to which representatives of lower classes are more susceptible to committing crimes. On the other hand, the attitude of the general public and people working in the criminal justice system to representatives of upper classes is absolutely different from the attitude to representatives of lower classes and is basically characterized by respect.

As a result, the view on the representatives of lower classes is extremely biased. Moreover, they are believed to tend to criminal activities that are determined by their social position. This means that the fact that an individual live in a poor social environment, has a low income and some of his neighbours, for instance, are criminals than this individual is viewed as a person that is more likely to commit a crime and a representative of the middle class. In such a way, the social position and social background may determine the court decision in relation to an individual.

Obviously, the court decision as well as the position of the criminal justice system at large will be absolutely different in relation to representatives of upper classes since their social and financial successes are viewed as marks of their virtue. Consequently, it is often believe that a rich person, originating from a good social background is simply unable to commit a crime.

However, the real situation is quite different. In actuality, it is obvious that the social background of an individual cannot be a determining factor in the justice he/she can count for from the criminal justice system. Needless to say, criminals cannot be classified according to their social status since representatives of all classes can commit crimes.

This is why it is extremely important that the existing criminal justice system was free of biases and prejudices based on the social position of an individual. In this respect, it is necessary to remind that the criminal justice system should be highly objective and primarily focus on the real evidences and proofs before the final decision concerning to an individual accused or suspected is made.

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