top of page

Criminal Justice

Question #1. How does this institution/system (e.g., Mental Health System) contribute to/perpetuate racism and racist violence and other daily atrocities visited upon people of color?

Table Facilitator, Group 1

Human beings are subject to bias

Police demand immediate and absolute obedience and go crazy when they don’t get it.Extreme authoritarian, punitive system.

Systems that aren’t set up to serve all groups equally and lack of opportunity can impact criminal justice system.Lack of awareness of other peoples experience and lack of diversity.

How can one community appropriately support another?

How can we think of criminal justice as one part of the whole?

If it only focuses on punishing and not root causes, it doesn’t solve the problem and reduces legitimacy and relevance of the rule of law.

People are reduced to violence in lieu of following the law.

Punitive system exacerbates, not solves.

System perpetuates inequity and injustice.

DOC went from rehab to lockup/utilization/profit.

Flawed, biased system creates more criminality, not less and perpetuates inequity, doesn’t address underlying causes. (Economics, education mental health. . .)

Impacted individuals are not in the conversation.

You can change the laws and what is being prosecuted and criminalized.

Are we criminalizing addiction and health problems versus real safety issues?Are we criminalizing normal adolescent behaviors? New Jim Crow.

Racial impact statements, “black people commit more crimes…” by people in power.

Policies based on stereotypes and misinformation.

Dissonance between being part of illegitimate system, cognizance and denial.

Waling people up, change management, encouraging evolution and growth. Not typical male behavior, like Barack Obama regarding marriage equality.

Table Facilitator, Group 2

Minorities lacking justice due to them which perpetuate systemic injustice.

Need better representation from minorities throughout criminal justice system.

Particular laws = basis for arrest system plus defense system is geared against African Americans and other minority populations.

We have perceived perceptions, for example, who uses illegal drugs.

School to prison pipeline, more money expended on incarcerating people of color than on education. Need greater attention to African Americans in prison.

Police concentration effects arrest rates but does not reflect illicit use of drugs which occurs across race and economic groups.

The images portrayed by some minorities is a contributing factor to arrest rates because assumptions are made by police and by the public.

Question #2. What should have been done before the massacre in Charleston – what are the signs that we missed/are missing as a community in this area (e.g., Mental Health System)? Why does it take a massacre for so many white allies to recognize everyday racism and stand up to speak against it?

Table Facilitator, Group 1

Elevate stories of people who are evolving so people don’t feel so isolated.

It’s not helping public safety, we should be taking radical immediate action.

Lone wolves exhibit signs of better mental health services needed.

Potential allies are afraid to speak out.

South Carolina Republican legislator who testified to remove flag.

Educate the public, more conversations.

For whites, mental health vs. criminal act.

Address hate groups that we know exist.

Is action driven by hate, address it.

Table Facilitator, Group 2

Until an event such as the massacre occurs, the privileges of white peop0le and the injustices people of color live with are over looked.

Criminal justice and mental health systems don’t assist people to integrate and succeed in communities.

Second half of question makes an assumption where in reality white people don’t want to join in the conversation.