Communication and Humanities



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Marisa Marinelli, English and Philosophy
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jason Grinnell, Philosophy

The disparity of sentencing between black and white Americans in jail is the result of an unjust institution with racially unjust policies and the racially biased application of these policies. Thus, the American criminal justice system needs fundamental changes. The type of institution we currently have in the United States cannot be reasonably justified on utilitarian grounds, as it is the type of system which disproportionately affects certain members for reasons that are not under their control. There is no way to justify a system full of injustice in terms of overall utility for all persons. Not only, though, do fundamental aspects of the US criminal justice system need to change, but the application of these rules must also be monitored more closely to ensure that they are not applied in an unjust manner. John Rawls’ view is applicable here, because it allows us to hold persons accountable for their actions on retributive grounds, but also allows us to look at the bigger picture and determine the goals of our institutions.

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Arts and Humanities

Rawls & Racial Injustice
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