RefAnnBib #2-Criminal Injustice

Part 1- Bibliographic Entry

Balko, Radley. “Opinion | There’s Overwhelming Evidence That the Criminal Justice System Is Racist. Here’s the Proof.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 10 June 2020,

Part 2- Background

Radley Balko is an American journalist. He is specifically a writer for The Washington Post. Balko graduated from Indiana University where he received his BA in journalism and political science. He focuses his works on criminal justice, the drug war, and civil liberties.  He used to be a senior writer and reporter for The Huffington Post.

The Washington Post is a credible American newspaper.  It is politically left-centered.

I chose this article because of its reliability and Balko’s heavy use of statistics from various studies. It seemed widely cited and contained the information I was seeking for.

Part 3- Precis

Radley Balko focuses on the extreme issues of the criminal justice system in the United States.  Balko historically introduces the topic by stating that the criminal justice system was built during the era of Jim Crow, therefore, it is embedded with racism.  Jim Crow focused on segregating the country and limiting the Black race from the same opportunities as white Americans. Balko argues that without reforms, systemic racism will continue to be an issue that Black Americans will be forced to face.  In doing so, he provides instances where reform has provided positive outcomes to convey the need for change in the criminal justice system. In other words, this article focuses on the idea that the modern criminal justice system has the same aim as Jim Crow– dehumanizing Black Americans and preventing them from living equal lives to white Americans. Through the use of statistical reasoning, Balko is insisting that the American criminal justice system is outdated and problematic.

Part 4-Reflection

This article provides the use of statistical information which presents the urgency of systemic racism and criminal injustice. My previous article was not only outdated, but it also failed to provide evidence of criminal injustice being a current issue. However, this article provides a good understanding of criminal injustice and the issues it will continue to bring to the country if there aren’t any reforms made.  By providing many occurrences of criminal injustice through different sources, Balko’s argument does not appear as bias, nor in favor of one particular race. Although my essay will focus only on the effects the current system has on Black Americans, Balko also focuses on the effects criminal injustice has on Latinos and women in his article.  I agree with Balko on his argument that there needs to be a reform because the current system is causing more harm than good to the country. It has become a modern-day Jim Crow that focuses on abusing and restricting a group of innocent Americans. This article builds on my last source on the idea that there is a racial division in the country. It also aligns nicely with my previous source because it shows how despite the progression in time, the issue of systemic racism continues to become a deeper problem. It is interesting to see how the issue has become more extreme in modern-day America.


” The modern criminal justice system helped preserve racial order — it kept black people in their place.”

“Stop-and-frisk data, for example, consistently show that about 3 percent of these encounters produce any evidence of a crime. So 97 percent-plus of these people are getting punished solely because they belong to a group that statistically commits some crimes at a higher rate.”

A New York Times examination after the death of George Floyd found that while black people make up 19 percent of the Minneapolis population and 9 percent of its police, they were on the receiving end of 58 percent of the city’s police use-of-force incidents.”

An August 2019 study published by the National Academy of Sciences based on police-shooting databases found that between 2013 and 2018, black men were about 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police, and that black men have a 1-in-1,000 chance of dying at the hands of police. Black women were 1.4 more times likely to be killed than white women.”

A 2019 study of 11,000 police stops over about four weeks in the District found that while black people make up 46 percent of the city’s population, they accounted for 70 percent of police stops, and 86 percent of stops that didn’t involve traffic enforcement.”

Between 2003 and 2012, prosecutors in Caddo Parish, La. — one of the most aggressive death penalty counties in the country — struck 46 percent of prospective black jurors with preemptory challenges, vs. 15 percent of nonblacks.”

Innocent black people are also 3.5 times more likely than white people to be wrongly convicted of sexual assault and 12 times more likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes.”

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2 thoughts on “RefAnnBib #2-Criminal Injustice

  1. hey igballe—this is a great source to use throughout your research paper, especially because despite often being politically left-centered, the Washington Post ultimately maintains credibility; this author specifically also attempts to stray away from bias, compiling statistics from peer-reviewed studies and reviews of data. As I skimmed through the article myself, I couldn’t help but wonder about specific instances in which wrongful discrimination in the justice system had taken place, whether that be by the police force, in criminal prosecutions, trials, or even imprisonment. It reminds me of The Innocence Project, an organization that’s been committed to exonerating individuals who have wrongly been convicted, especially those that are people of color. The author does provide many statistics regarding overwhelming racial bias, with each study further emphasizing the urgency in a need for change in our systems, though it would also be interesting to develop a stronger argument utilizing personal first-hand accounts that experienced this discrimination. Systemic racism has been rooted in the Jim Crow era like you mentioned, so it would also be beneficial to explain how and why this actually occurred—in other words, the exigence if you would like to take that approach. I believe the first quote you mentioned—”it kept black people in their place”—is a very powerful line that centers your argument: although we are “progressing in time”, our systems and institutions are “regressing in social values”.

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