Criminal Acts and Justice in the United States


Criminal acts are actions that under the United States law cause a threat to injure persons even if the offender is considered unable to commit the crime. Race does not significantly affect the probability of committing criminal acts. Socio-economic factors are majorly responsible for crime prevalence in certain communities. Inadequate Law enforcement can also be the reason for increased criminal acts in a particular area. In this essay, the evidence is provided to show neutrality of race, and the morality of law enforcement is shown to influence the criminal justice system and citizen responsibility to report criminal acts.

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Criminal Acts

According to the United States law, criminal acts are actions that under the United States law cause a threat to injure persons even if the offender is considered unable to commit the crime. Criminal acts are not influenced by race, such that persons of a particular race are prone to commit crime more than those of another race. Criminal acts are influenced by socio-economic factors that put minority groups in improvised conditions promoting delinquency.

How the law is enforced will affect the extent of the prevalence of criminal acts. In this essay; race is shown to be insignificant, law enforcement is shown to be a moral question, and self-reporting policies are seen as a social solution to managing criminal acts.

Research findings of Sampson and Lauritsen (1997) conclude that race there is no significant disparity in crime and criminal justice in the U.S. among blacks and whites that are as a result of the race. More blacks than whites are arrested and this is attributed to the crime-conducive neighborhoods that many blacks live in. Blacks are also less likely to self-report crimes they commit because of their prejudice against law enforcement.

Whites offend the law less than blacks’ arguably because they enjoy better economic opportunities and success. If the tables were turned, blacks would be fewer law offenders than whites. The criminal justice system serves as the main source of research on racial differences. These sources are subject to the question of moral concepts that were held at the time of implementation.

The view that order should be achieved at all costs does not consider social justice. It emphasizes stiff penalties regardless of the social factors of the crime. On the other hand factoring in the realities of social injustices, law enforcement is viewed as a moral obligation, where people believe it because it is justified. Such diverse views have affected how law enforcement is carried out (Bazelon, 1975-1976).

The first view of restoring order at all costs by the criminal justice system is to blame for the majority of blacks’ prejudice against law enforcers. Therefore we can argue rightfully that the system is to blame for the biases in criminal records that show prevalence to be high among blacks.

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Embracing the second view of law enforcement as a moral obligation results in better management of criminal acts in society. Self-reporting by offenders who understand their moral obligation reduces costs associated with investigations, promotes better relationships among citizens and law enforcers, and reduces incidences of mistaken identities and generalizations (Kaplow & Shavell, 1994). It is important to view all criminal acts neutrally without racial bias. Socio-economic factors that affect blacks and other minority communities should be factored in while formulating policies to encourage self-reporting in the management of criminal acts.


Bazelon D. L. (1975-1976) The morality of the criminal law. Southern California Law Review, 49:385.

Kaplow, L. and Shavell S. (1994). Optimal law enforcement with self-reporting of behaviour. Journal of Political Economy, 102(3):583-606. Web.

Sampson J. R. and Lauritsen J. L. (1997). Racial and ethnic disparities in crime and criminal justice in the United States. Crime and Justice, 21, Ethnicity, Crime and Immigration: Comparative and Cross-National Perspective (1997), 311-374.

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