The abject cruelty and racism within the criminal justice system in the United States has been well documented. But a new report from the United Nation’s foremost human rights experts is shedding new light on the atrocities within our justice system for all of the world to see.
The report found that racism and the legacy of slavery persist within our modern criminal justice system. Experts who met with 133 “affected individuals” in cities throughout the country — noted that Black children were subjected to life imprisonment, pregnant women were chained during childbirth, and people were subjected to forced labor in “plantation-style” prisons.
“We reject the “bad apple” theory. There is strong evidence suggesting that the abusive behavior of some individual police officers is part of a broader and menacing pattern,” said Juan Mendez, one of the UN experts. “Law enforcement and criminal justice institutions in the United States share and reproduce values, attitudes, and stereotypes of US society and institutions. These must be reformed.”
Mendez and other experts stressed the need for reforms. “The testimonies and figures we received represent the worst part of a racist criminal justice system that erodes all efforts towards addressing systemic racism,” Mendez said. “Our findings point to the critical need for comprehensive reform.”
Among those 30 recommended reforms, Mendez and his colleagues argued that armed police officers should not be the “default” response to issues like mental health crises, homelessness, traffic, or school discipline.
This isn’t the first time the United Nations has called out the US about its criminal justice system. But perhaps this time, someone in power is paying attention.
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