Archive for the ‘Discrimination’ Category

Arrest Rates in U.S.

December 9th, 2014 at 11:04 am

racial profiling, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinios defense attorney, According to a recent article published by a national news source, there is a significant difference in races represented when considering arrest rates in the United States. USA Today reportedly analyzed arrest rates of police departments across the country and found that many law enforcement agencies arrest and charge African Americans with crimes at significantly higher rates than other races. In fact, in many locations, the rates were at least three times higher and up to 10 times for African Americans. These statistics were not isolated to small towns or suburban areas, but included larger, more diverse cities as well, including Chicago.

Why the Disparity?

While the numbers may be relatively easy to measure and report on, the more difficult and more relevant concern is why they are so. Experts say the mere fact the the racial disparities in arrests exist does not address what causes them. The reasons could range from anything to police bias to being a result of the socioeconomic gaps that exist between people in many areas of the country. Regardless of the source, the mere fact that such a significant disparity exists in the high number of black people that are arrested, stopped, searched, and imprisoned compared to individuals of other races suggests a problem that deserves attention, especially in current times.

Some, including black citizens in certain towns across the country, are convinced the police are targeting their race over others. In those same communities, police and other law enforcement agencies have denied that allegation. They point to the fact that many criminal suspects who are arrested do not even live within the city, and some are even detained before police arrive on the scene of an alleged crime, which is evidence that police would have no hand in targeting the individual in question.

No Easy Explanation

The review conducted by USA Today reported seemingly telling statistics regarding police contact and corresponding racial disparity. It should be noted that their review did not include certain areas with only a small black population, or police agencies in certain states that had not reported complete arrest data to the FBI. The review did tend to show several other pieces of information, including that blacks are more likely to be arrested in almost every community for any crime, from serious to minor offenses. In addition, arrest rates show a more significant disparity in certain identifiable areas of the country, but the rates are uneven almost everywhere.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter. We serve clients in the Chicago area.

“Ban the Box” Fight and Related Recidivism Risk

April 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am

ban the box, criminal history, job application, felony, felon, discrimination, Chicago criminal defense lawyerIn filling out numerous types of documents and applications required for everyday things, many of us have likely noticed questions related to prior felony convictions. It may not be applicable to everyone, but for those who have to indicate a prior conviction, it could mean they are denied a job or a home and, as a result, a new start. A recent article discussed the discrimination associated with those who have a criminal record, as well as a campaign started by a prisoners’ rights organization aimed at removing the question from public employee forms.

Ban the Box

Ten years ago, the organization All of Us or None began the “Ban the Box” campaign, which 10 states and dozens of local jurisdictions have joined, in an effort to get any questions about prior felony convictions removed from public employee forms. They have had some success recently, which has propelled a movement at the national level to improve hiring opportunities for mostly non-violent criminal offenders.

States and Local Jurisdictions are Responding

In San Francisco, the mayor signed the Fair Chance Ordinance into law, which not only addressed the question appearing on public employee forms, but also on paperwork related to affordable housing and private employers with more than 20 employees. The idea is that punishing someone twice for the same past mistake is not a worthwhile goal.

The state of Illinois has implemented similar state laws regarding the removal of conviction history questions on public employment applications, and Chicago is among the jurisdictions mentioned above that have implemented ban the box policies.

Limits of Ban the Box

Although many states and jurisdictions may be taking actions in preventing initial disclosure of criminal history to avoid employers automatically disqualifying prior convicts for a given position, it will not prevent the information from being shared at all. Rather, many laws (like the one passed in California last year) will specify that the job applicant does not have to disclose criminal convictions until after a potential employer determines that the applicant otherwise meets the minimum qualifications required for the job.

Some States Hesitant to Follow Suit

While some jurisdictions in the south have implemented ban the box, no southern states have taken the step to pass or propose such a law going into effect. In order for the movement as a whole to be successful, the idea needs to be implemented in different places across the country, and also needs to include private employment practices, housing, and loan applications. The overarching theme of the movement is not only equal treatment, but also a shift in society’s thinking so that all people can hope for a better life.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There have been numerous issues involving criminal justice and improvements to the system in the United States that have developed lately. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you not only in protecting your rights in court, but in giving you the best chance of improving your life going forward. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation if you have been charged with a crime in Chicago or the surrounding area.