Abstract In this paper, we will discuss the cultural differences faced within the criminal justice system. The differences include cultural beliefs, practices, race, gender, and etc. The criminal justice system in the United States does not have an exact solution on how to proceed and embed our country with the cultures beliefs and practices performed by now citizens of the United States. Within this paper, the cultural concerns will be addressed along with possible solutions on how to involve other cultural practices within our own western society.Lastly, Affirmative Action, the Employment Opportunity Act , and other nondiscrimination practices will be examined on how they have impacted the minority population along with the criminal justice system. Cultures & Criminal Law There are many cultures that reside within the United States. Within these cultures come different religious practices and cultural beliefs about their lives, in which some people may disagree about. So, if we do disagree about their beliefs, does it give us the right in the United States to imply we cannot perform those practices here because it’s against our laws?
Actions that are illegal here may not be illegal in the country from where the individual is from, are to step aside and allow them to practice the belief anyways? The answer to both questions is “No”. We must not ignore both situations; this will only cause conflict and heartache for those involved. Criminal law with its emphasis on formal values such as legality and legal certainty faces problems when encountering social issues and social questions that relate to cultural conflicts and different perceptions of substantial principles of justice and morality (Nuotio, 2008).
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Due to the flexibility of criminal law, cultural issues may be taken into the account in various ways, should this turn out to be necessary. Criminal law is also a cultural phenomenon itself, representing the values of the community. Western criminal justice is surely individualistic in many ways, as it aims at allocating blame and responsibility to individuals for their wrongful actions. At the same time, it is the part of law through which the political community largely defines itself be deciding about issues of right and wrong.
In a modern context, cultural diversity causes extra pressure on political and legal systems, but it does actually render modern law even more important than before, and the substantial disagreements cannot be handled otherwise. One problem that we also must consider is that, even taking cultural context into account in criminal law might itself become a denunciatory practice, a denial of recognition. This view indicates that culture is like nature in that it influences and even determines the actions of the individual, thus limiting individual responsibility on factual grounds.
Culture would then be regarded as a kind of force that actually diminishes responsibility for one’s actions in declaring it traditional and customary instead of highlighting its individuality. It is therefore, crucially important to think carefully about how and why culture matters. It might be that both culture and law have the potential to work towards non-recognition or misrecognition. Culture itself is not innocent in this respect. Cultural conflicts often have to do with the fact that different meanings are associated with actions and events by their various participants.
The key question is then whether we must guarantee that the legal imputations always respect such cultural sensitivities. Are we generally entitled to have our own personal world-view respected by the courts when they decide cases in which we are involved? Would other solutions mean that some aspects that are constitutive of our identity will be publicly rejected? The conflict may often between the two expressions: that of the action itself, and that of its legal interpretation. Criminal law aims at replacing the meaning and evaluation of the act given by the actor himself or herself, or the community, by a legal assessment of it.
This might turn into a conflict of interpretation. Criminal law is a sort of institutionalized denial, taking standpoints and presenting them over the heads of the individuals in question as it communicates and allocates blame. For example, (Nuotio, 2008), suggests we could, more, generally, expect to see clashes over rights at every level (freedom rights, political rights, welfare rights), and we could also presume that at least some cultural conflicts will arise in the context in which defenders of a tradition are enforcing a traditional morality that clashes with the rights of the individual.
There are incidents of honor offences concerning forced marriages in which the father or brothers have violently forced an unwilling bride to marry or even killed her when she has insisted on marrying someone of her own choice. It is not rather contradictory if a person who herself fully enjoys all the rights and protection granted to her in a modern society strives to defend a cultural practice that is not compatible with such rights? We live in an iron cage, prisoners of our legal framework which has developed over many centuries. Against the Law?
Actions may be wrong, no persons. The legal imputation should never, however, appear as fully accidental and surprising. Legal imputation requires a sociological back-up. People need to understand what has happened and why the legal system intervened. The criminal law provisions defining various offences are deemed to refer to actions in an understandable way, all of which takes place under the fundamental challenge of legitimacy and justice. Criminal laws do not speak directly about identities, as this field of law limits itself to issues concerning actions.
But certain actions that are prohibited as criminally wrong might be relevant for the identity of particular persons. Issues related to sexual crimes produce quite strong images of sexual manners and sexual identities. Such issues are being dealt with in modern criminal justice by a more fine-tuned approach than before. The protected interest is sexual autonomy, not public morals. However, while it seem reasonable to direct efforts toward recognizing cultural identity, respecting diversity to the point of justifying acts that threaten society’s values seems a dubious, even dangerous, policy.
It would be difficult for a society to accept that certain acts to be tolerated and even justified solely on the basis of respecting the customs of other cultures; one need only think of the conflicts resulting from the justification of domestic abuse or violence. Communitarian policies of this nature could give rise to social instability, counterproductive to the goal of crime prevention (Carnevali, 2009). Police, EEO, & Affirmative Action Cultural differences in America will affect not only our laws, but the law enforcer whom enforce the laws to start.
It is important for police to understand the cultural experiences and dynamics of the communities they serve, these concerns go further. One of the reasons for focusing on cultural and other differences is that different people can have profoundly different experiences of the same event. There is no single, monolithic truth, but rather widely varying perceptions of reality. These perceptions are influenced by a number of factors; cultural background is one of them (Texas Highway Patrol Association Magazine, 2001).
Along with cultural differences comes “cultural laws” to help protect those from discrimination from jobs, schools, disability, race, gender, and genetics. One of those laws include the Equal Employment Opportunity Act; applicants to and employees of most private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions, employment agencies and labor organizations are protected under federal law from discrimination on the following basis: race, color religion, sex, national origin; disability; age; sex (wages); genetics; and retaliation ( www. eeoc. gov.)
Another law to mention that helped many minorities especially African Americans is Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action is a set of procedures designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination between applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future. Applicants may be seeking admission to an education program or looking for professional employment (Legal Information Institute, 2014). Within these laws no person shall be turned down or turn away due to the color of their skin, gender, religious background, and etc.
These laws have provided different races to choose our country to reside in maybe because of these laws, but many people have gotten better employment, able to attend colleges, and etc. Conclusion As long as we are the United States, there will be many different cultures and people in this country. This is what makes our country unique because we accept and enjoy people from different countries making the United States their home for the time being or permanent. However, with opening our doors to different people, also brings their culture with them.
Now are we suppose to let them do whatever they want because their past country was acceptance of the practice, “No”, but this also does not mean we will not try to compromise with the practice by suggesting other methods or working out a solution to assist in resolving the issue. Last but not least, our country needs to make laws to embrace other cultural beliefs by exploring other options if not acceptance by our law in this country. Until then, cultural difference, practice, or religious belief will need to be taken into court, where the courts can make decision on what is acceptable by our law.
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