To have a justice system that is fair, the judges in our courts cannot be made solely of old, white men that have the same implicit biases and do not reflect our country’s population.
In order to combat against this, the United States Judicial Conference Committee is holding a diversity symposium in 19 cities across the country today, in hopes to recruit potential U.S. federal judges of various backgrounds. As you can see in the map below, the 19 chosen cities are spread out in an attempt to reach a multitude of diverse candidates that could help represent their population from the bench.
Women and racial minorities are underrepresented and hold disproportionate shares of the court system compared to their prevalence in the community. This often creates an unfair advantage for white men within the court system, as human beings, even judges who are supposed to be impartial, are wired to be more likely to favor those that they can identify with.
The NAACP website shared, “If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.”
This is an alarming statistic that shows the racial imbalance within the justice system, leading to unfair incarceration rates.
By expanding diversity within the court system, the criminal justice system will likely improve and become more fair and equal for people of all backgrounds, as judges will be able to make better informed decisions which will better reflect the whole population rather than only having one collective viewpoint on the issues before them.
Considering the fact that racial disparities are a large factor of America’s mass incarceration issue, diversity in the court system may also very well help to fix this problem that needs addressed.
Furthermore, diversity on the bench includes more than demographics; it also includes professional background. Public Interest attorneys, public defenders and those in private practice must have a voice also, as they are typically the ones that have the most experience in advocating for everyday people.
Overall, if today’s diversity panel serves its purpose and does successfully recruit diverse future judges, the criminal justice system, and therefore the prison system, will become more equal to Americans of all backgrounds.