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August 24, 2022

"The Fallacy of Systemic Racism in the American Criminal Justice System"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Paul Larkin and GianCarlo Canaparo now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract:

Critics of the criminal justice system have repeatedly charged it with systemic racism.  It is a tenet of the “war” on the “War on Drugs,” it is a justification used by the so-called progressive prosecutors to reject the “Broken Windows” theory of law enforcement, and it is an article of faith of the “Defund the Police!” movement.  Yet, few people have defined what they mean by that term.  This Article examines what it could mean and tests the truth of the systemic racism claim under each possible definition.  None stands up to scrutiny.

One argument is that the American citizens who run our many institutions are motivated by racial animus.  But the evidence is that racial animus is no longer tolerated in society, and what is more, the criminal justice system strives to identify it when it does occur and to remedy it.  Another argument says that the overtly racist beliefs and practices of the past have created lingering racist effects, but this argument cherry-picks historical facts (when it does not ignore them altogether) and fails to grapple with the country’s historic and ongoing efforts to eliminate racial discrimination. It also assumes a causal relationship between past discrimination and present disparities that is unsupported and often contradicted by the evidence.  Yet another argument relies psychological research to claim that white Americans are animated by a subconscious racial animus.  That research, however, has been debunked.  Still another argument says that the criminal justice system is systemically racist because it has disparate effects across racial groups, but this argument looks only at the offenders’ side of the criminal justice system and fails to consider the effect of the criminal justice system on victims.

Proponents of the systemic racism theory often proffer “solutions” to it.  This Article, and its companion, which will be published in the same Volume, examines those too and finds that many would, in fact, harm the very people they aim to help.

This Article is part one of two and focuses on the claim of systemic racism in criminal justice system generally.  The second Article focuses on the War on Drugs in particular.  The bottom line of both is this: the claim of systemic racism in the criminal justice system and in the War on Drugs is unjustified and should be rejected.

August 24, 2022 at 07:54 AM | Permalink


wow, way to go and publish the work of two of the most well known phrenologists. and why didn’t you disclose that the authors are virulent racists who work for a virulent racist organization?

Posted by: dino | Aug 24, 2022 10:38:29 AM


How to spot a small mind whose quiver is bereft of arrows for $100, Alex.

“What is disregarding ideas of someone you disagree with on unfounded claims of “virulent racism?”

Is there any bigger of a cliche these days? At least you didn’t go with “Hitler.”

I don’t know these two, but The Heritage Foundation? 😂 Maybe it’s worse. Perhaps they are also members of the militant wing of The Salvation Army.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 24, 2022 3:02:01 PM

dino --

"...why didn’t you disclose that the authors are virulent racists who work for a virulent racist organization?"

Ummmmmmmmmm, because your accusation is not true? Indeed it's pure bunk -- just more reflexive hate from the Crime-Is-Wonderful crowd.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 24, 2022 6:59:35 PM

The system is racist there’s no question about it. Look at the crack laws. Recently it’s been exposed that the United States and Colombia have been extraditing Colombian citizens for prosecution in fact the treaty between the two countries was nullified in 1986. If they were white, this would never happen.

Posted by: Paul Tallini | Aug 25, 2022 1:07:58 AM


The crack laws were pushed by African-American pastors, community stakeholders, etc.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 25, 2022 8:36:20 AM

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