Jeffrey Bumgarner, "Profiling and Criminal Justice in America"
Publisher: ABC-CLIO | 2004-09-08 | ISBN 1851094695 | PDF | 299 pages | 1.0 MB
Profiling and Criminal Justice in America: A Reference Handbook serves as an introduction to the issue of profiling within the criminal justice system in the United States. The term profiling means different things to different people. When the term is mentioned, many people who are consumers of popular cinema and television crime drama productions think immediately of the process of drawing up psychological omposite sketches of unknown offenders who have invariably left “calling cards” at crime scenes. Although this type of profiling does exist as an investigative tool and is addressed in some portions of this book, this is not the bulk of what this publication is about. Rather, this
book is primarily concerned with the use of race and other dubious identifiers by criminal justice officials in making decisions about nforcement, prosecution, guilt, and punishment. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it is not sufficient simply to say that profiling along racial or ethnic lines is always immoral or ill advised. Such a position may be a legitimate one to hold; in these dangerous times, however, positions must be informed ones. The traveling public, for example, has little patience for the random screening of elderly white women at airports while Middle Eastern men board unmolested. The public, by and large, would prefer to be more safe than fair. Likewise, it is not a foregone conclusion even after 9–11 that profiling along racial, ethnic, or religious lines is appropriate.
There is no question that considerable opportunity for error and abuse exists when criminal justice officials rely on such criteria, and history seems to bear this out. What’s more, the public, when queried, does not think for the most part that a person’s race or religion should doom that individual to a lifetime of chronic suspicion and inconvenience.
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