Children who often grew up in such a poor family background, lock of education, and low-income family over time has been an evolving political climate on criminal justice reform, with key leaders in both major political parties increasingly supportive of addressing mass incarceration .Both Democratic and Republican governors in a number of states have endorsed sentencing reform legislation, particularly in regard to drug offenses, and bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress that would scale back excessive penalties in many federal cases (Mauer & Coyle, 2004).While these developments are encouraging, we are not yet at the point where justice reform is uniformly viewed as being politically advantageous, and there are still far too many instances of political leaders being either hesitant or hostile to considering such policy changes.
While people of different racial ethnic groups use and sell drugs at roughly similar rates, drug law enforcement is more heavily focused on communities of color, leading to higher rates of incarceration. Other factors as well, such as pretrial detention, have been demonstrated to lead to a greater likelihood of conviction and prison term upon conviction (Bonczer, 2003).
While the law is theoretically class and race -neutral, in practice access to resources creates great disparities in how justice is dispensed in the United States. Poor communities and indigent defendants are disadvantaged at each stage of the criminal justice process, including; law enforcement policies such as “stop and frisk” are employed heavily in low-income communities of color (Besemer, Farrington, & Bijleveld, 2013); even though the vast majority of persons stopped by police have committed no crime; money bail as a condition of pretrial release results in the detention of poor people, limiting access to counsel and causing family hardship; indigent defendants have to rely on court-appointed attorneys, many of whom are inexperienced and/or maintain high caseloads; given the limited availability of publicly-funded treatment programs, access to such services as an alternative to incarceration is much more available to defendants with family resources to pay fees.
The growing unaffordability of adequate housing for low-income families is another social class characteristic that has a demonstrable effect on average achievement. Children whose families have difficulty finding stable housing are more likely to be mobile, and student mobility is an important cause of low student achievement. It is difficult to imagine how teachers, no matter how well trained, could be as effective for children who move in and out of their classrooms as teachers can be for children whose attendance is regular. The differences in wealth between parents of different social classes are also likely to be important determinants of student achievement, but these differences are usually overlooked because most analysts focus only on annual income to indicate disadvantage.
Race and social class also affect education in other ways that very often people from a racial minority group or a lower income family do not have a family history of higher education. If the parents or grandparents have not had access to education, the child that comes from such a family is not likely to have had anybody read to them or even have had to opportunity to be exposed to many books. As all educators know, this can be a disadvantage when these children are placed in a class where many other children have had tremendous exposure to the written word. They may seem like slow learners even though all it really means is that they are getting a late.