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The Injustice in the Justice System

Why our court system is biased

Lizzie Lipscomb, Op-Ed Writer

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The justice system is far from just. Since the beginning of lawmaking, prejudice has stood in the way of what is supposed to be a fair legal system. Whether that be prejudice based on gender, race or sexuality; it’s all considered discrimination.
This injustice has put thousands of innocent people behind bars for years, and has put people in jail for way longer than could ever be validated considering their offense.
Judges and juries are designed to have completely unbiased backgrounds, to not have any relation to the offender in order to have a completely impartial opinion and hear the information with an open mind.
However, this is not necessarily always what happens. The fair-minded jury that we hope for often has unconscious bias towards a case. Many times people are improperly convicted and face a prison sentence far beyond what is fair.
This unfortunate situation was shown in the recently popular case of Alice Johnson, a first time, nonviolent drug offender. Johnson was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of federal drug and money laundering. During her trial, she pleaded not guilty, but still received a life sentence with no chance of parole.
Johnson was in prison for 22 years, until reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, heard about her story and felt passionate about making a change.
Kardashian got the attention of President Trump and set up a meeting in which she told him why Johnson should receive clemency. Soon, the president agreed and granted Johnson freedom.
This, however, is just one story of a lucky subject. Most people convicted of drug offences and granted lengthy prison sentences don’t have the same opportunities of getting help from one of the most influential people in society today.
Most people would end up having to serve the sentence they did not deserve.
Johnson was only one of thousands of first time, nonviolent drug offenders to receive a life prison sentence, and according to the Pacific Standard, over a quarter of Americans believe their justice system is unfair.
No matter the reasoning for the discrimination (race, gender etc.), there’s nothing to can condone ruining a person’s life if they don’t deserve it.
There are certain limits that are crossed often, ones that are obviously deserving of a life prison sentence.
However, if a person has made a mistake, one that doesn’t physically or mentally harm someone else, they deserve a second chance.
The court system needs to change.
The court system needs to realize that people’s lives are being ruined often, and people need to start caring about this even if it doesn’t affect them directly. The justice system needs to return to what it was founded on, open-mindedness and honesty.

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The Injustice in the Justice System