Research Proposal: Causes of the Disproportionate Arrest Rate ofAfrican American Males
African American males have been victims of differential treatmentin employment, education, access to health care and housing amongother social injustices. However, social injustices towards thepopulation are more apparent in the disproportionate arrest rate ofAfrican American men. According to the Bureau of JusticeStatistics (1), it is approximated that in America “558,700African American adults were incarcerated under state and federaljurisdiction.” Notably, the bureau explains that the imprisonmentrates for African American men are 3,059 for every 100,000 yet thatof white males is 456 for every 100,000. The statistics indicate thatAfrican American men have a seven times higher possibility of arrestas compared to whites. African American children born in America havea 1 in 3 likelihood of being apprehended later in life despite thefact that they comprise of just 13% of America’s population(Shelden 182).
The statistics demonstrate that there is an overrepresentation ofAfrican American males in the American criminal justice system,specifically the arrest rate. Hence, it is important to conductresearch on the arrest rates of African American males. Many studieshave made significant contributions to the area of study by showinghow African Americans are overrepresented. This research takes adifferent approach by exploring the causes of the disproportionatearrest rate of African American males in the United States.
Why is there an unequal arrest rate of African American males inAmerica?
Weatherspoon (439) explains that African American men aredisproportionately stopped, searched and targeted by law enforcementofficials due to their race and gender. This is because many lawenforcers view the population as criminals. The author furtherexclaims that the United States criminal justice structure hasupheld, overlooked and in some cases endorsed “such actions by lawenforcement officials to stop, arrest, prosecute and incarcerateAfrican American males (Weatherspoon 440).” In regards to race andgender, government officials have come up with a profile of theemblematic offender, usually black and male. Hence, the literaturesuggests that racial profiling is one of the causes of the unequalapprehension rates of black men. Racial profiling refers to apredisposition by law enforcement officers that black men areinvolved in wrongdoing hence they are highly arrested with noreasonable cause but on the basis of suspicion. As a result, blackmen are more targeted during arrest of criminals as compared to otherraces such as whites.
Another cause for the high arrest rates of black men than whites ispolice corruption. In most cases patrol police officers have quotasthat are set by their supervisors. In order to meet the arrestquotas, police often plant drugs on individuals that are innocent, aprocess known as flaking. According to an ex- New York PoliceDepartment detective, “it was common practice to fabricate drugcharges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas. The practiceof planting cocaine on innocent people is called flaking (Shan 1).”It is a practice that happens across the country and in most casesAfrican American men are the victims of flaking arrests. Thisexplains why many blacks have expressed a great lack of trust in lawenforcers. Police corruption has resulted in the arrest of moreAfrican Americans as compared to whites as the method used toapprehend criminals is flawed and targets black males (Shan 1).
Description of the Proposed Research Essay
The literature review supports the fact that there are unequalarrest rates of black males across all police departments in America.As a result, it is important to conduct research on the area andrespond to the research question, which aims at determining thecauses for such disproportionate rates. In doing so, the study usesthe classical oration argument structure. The reason for choosingthis type of argument is because the paper intends to inform readersabout the area of study and uses evidence to support claims. Thepaper begins with an introduction about the social injustice aimed atcapturing the attention of the reader. This is followed by a summaryof the issue and background study. The background study appeals toreaders by use of evidence to support the subject matter. Itcomprises of a literature review on findings and illustrations of howAfrican Americans are arrested that makes it possible to understandthe causes for their unequal arrest rates. The paper concludes theresearch by highlighting the main points and appropriaterecommendations.
The target audience is the police commissioners in the differentAmerican states. Police commissioners are the highest ranking lawenforcers and are in charge of police departments. Hence, they havecontrol over arrest actions taken by their juniors. The targetaudience has been selected with the objective of first informing themthat black males are unfairly arrested. The paper also aims atinforming police commissioners that the causes for the uneven arrestrates derives from actions taken by their officers. As the highestranking officers, they are better placed to enforce reforms withintheir departments that will change the way police officers conductarrests. In addition, they will also be on the look out to monitorpolice activities and ensure that their departments promote fairnesswhen apprehending criminals. Notably, the topic covers an area ofstudy that has affected America’s criminal justice system foryears. In order for change to occur it has to begin with the highestranking officers and progress to the junior officers. Targetingpolice commissioners emphasizes the need for reforms and workingtowards a step by step solution to solve the issue.
To accomplish the objective of the argument, the research conductedincludes a literature review of already available research on thearea. The paper will compare the arrest rates of black males to thatof whites in the different police departments across America. Inaddition, the paper will use research from different authors to sumup the main causes for uneven arrest rates towards black men. This isachieved by comparing different authors’ views and noting thecauses that are common.
African American men are unequally arrested by police officers. Alot of research has been conducted to demonstrate this through theuse of statistics comparing the arrest rates of black men to that ofwhites. The research is important as it uses already conductedresearch to explain the causes of disproportionate imprisonment amongblack males. If the project reaches its target audience, it willresult in reforms in the criminal justice system, specifically in howarrests are conducted. It is anticipated that the target audiencewill implement changes within their police departments intended atpromoting equal treatment for people of all races, mainly AfricanAmericans.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. Prisoners in 2010 U.S.Department of Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government PrintingOffice, 2011.
Shan, Janet. Former NYPD Detective Stephen Anderson Says Drug ChargesOften Fabricated by Flaking of Innocent People to Meet Arrest Quotas.Hinterland Gazette, 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 May 2016.http://hinterlandgazette.com/2011/10/former-nypd-detective-stephen-anderson.html
Shelden, Randall. Controlling the Dangerous Classes. AHistory of Criminal Justice in America. Boston: Allyn and Bacon,2008.
Weatherspoon, Floyd D. Racial Profiling of African America Males:Stopped, Searched and Stripped of Constitutional Protection. TheJohn Marshall Law Review 38.2(2004): 439-468.