The police and prosecutors

Numerous Allegations of Discrimination

Numerous allegations of discrimination against the cops and prosecutors have been made against them globally. For instance, there are a lot of discrimination instances in the United States. The most prevalent types of prejudice in the nation include discrimination based on gender, religion, culture, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class, to name a few. For many years, citizens have accused officers and prosecutors of not being fair when providing services to the public. Notably, this has a greater impact on those from underprivileged social backgrounds because they do not receive the same chances and representation as those from privileged social setups. Due to this, many continually suffer for crimes they have not committed and

serve long jail terms or severe consequences than is supposed amongst many more challenges.

Philadelphia is a perfect example of a state in the United States where bias to the less privileged is very prevalent. The crime rate in the country is alarming. People such as Louis Theroux argue that discrimination, to a greater extent, is to blame for the high crime rate. Nonetheless, the police and prosecutors always defend their selves by saying that they ensure fair justice is presented to all despite their gender, race and financial capabilities. From my perspective, and with evidence from Code of the Streets by Elijah Anderson and "Law and Disorder in Philadelphia" by Louis Theroux, I disagree with police and prosecutors on their argument that discrimination does not take place in their agency.

In his text Code of the Streets, Anderson claims that many youths behavior is as a result of culture found in the streets (Anderson, 1999).

He refers to this culture as a "code" that dictates the practices to be presented by young people. Further, Anderson brings to his reader's attention that there are various codes in streets unique and known to only members of given street gangs (Anderson, 1999). It is from these organized groups that criminal activities arise. Also, in Theroux's documentary, it is evident that most crimes occur in organized groups (Theroux, 2008). Finding someone executing a crime solely is hard.

The Police Are Largely at Fault

The police are largely at fault for the increase in criminal activities in the most cities in the United States especially from people from poor backgrounds. The reason being, they give minimal attention to the poor when it comes to recommending rehabilitation and correction programs. When convicted of petty crimes, culprits are sometimes given minor punishments and released back to the society. This is in contrast with those from rich families who, besides being punished (which is not guaranteed), are registered for rehabilitation. Rehabilitating criminals helps curb recidivism. This unfair treatment from the police has resulted in an escalation of crime with Philadelphia being one of the most affected in the U.S. Anderson's points in the Code of Street include:

Decent and Street Families

In his book, Anderson explains into detail the meaning of the above (Anderson, 1999). As understood, it is a statement that differentiates between those that are considered to be privileged and view their selves as so from the unprivileged. The notion creates barriers and social class differences between the two divisions (Anderson, 1999). The significant dissimilarity between the two is that decent families are 'richer' as compared to street families. Nevertheless, the challenges faced by the two are similar in that they both suffer injustices from law implementing bodies such as the police and prosecutors. Their inability to pay the police as a way of buying their freedom is a problem experienced by those living in poor neighborhoods. The injustices suffered by these individuals has developed mistrust and un-cooperation between them and the police. As the documentary explains, the lack of trust, to some extent aggravates crime (Theroux, 2008). It is for this reason that despite police putting so much effort to fight crime in Philadelphia, it is still rampant.

Some of the Criminals That Theroux Got to Interview

From the streets said that they would rather die rather than cooperate with the police or tell them who are responsible for carrying out criminal deeds (Theroux, 2008). According to them, the law has failed in protecting them since they are not assured of their security once they are open to the police. The video presents some scenarios in which some women are seen prostituting to earn money (Theroux, 2008). In other situations, youth's from street families are seen indulging in thieving, burglaries, street attacks, and drug use. Once arrested, they are handled poorly, and this has always been the case. This kind of treatment is an example of how the rights of underprivileged are easily violated and overlooked. Moreover, much as searches are supposed to be carried out in every corner of the cities, those to be presumed to register high crime cases are given more attention. In most cases, these areas, just as seen in the documentary is where street families live (Theroux, 2008). Justice here is a thing of the past which is an indication of how disparately the poor are discriminated against each passing day.

Campaigning for Respect

The spread of the formation of more gangs in the street is as a result of the concept that being part of a group makes one respected and envied by peers. Due to this, the level of crime gradually escalates in these regions (Anderson, 1999). In Philadelphia alone, as seen in the video, young people retire to the streets soon after leaving school (Theroux, 2008). They do not have time to study and do homework's since their time is spent hanging around 'cool' guys. Some of them are school dropouts. Therefore, it is not an amazement that police choose to patrol such areas more than any other part of the city. Mostly, the police argue that they are not discriminative of the poor but are forced to act as they do so as to get the streets rid of the dangerous gangs. The problem in this is that they use excessive force some of which amounts to assault. As a consequence, the affected develop hatred towards the police as they feel they are treated as so since they come from the minority. For instance, at the beginning of the video, police drag down a man after suspecting he has a gun (Theroux, 2008). Although the police were right to follow the man and search him, the manner in which they searched him showed bias. They were rough with him, and the reason as to why they did so was because the man was from the inner cities areas in which fair justice and humane handling are not enjoyed.

If the Person in Question Were from the Wealthy Neighborhood

The police would have acted courteously knowing that any uncalculated move could land them into trouble if sued by the culprit. This unjustified treatment is also manifested in the prosecutor's office once the perpetrators are arrested. It has been taking place for decades and probably it is one of the reasons as to why the minorities riot against the criminal justice systems. Being punished for a crime one has not committed makes someone bitter which in turn drives them to crime. After all, they would rather be punished for what they have done other than what they haven't.

"Going For Bad."

A good number of youths in the streets of Philadelphia are no longer afraid of crime and the possible death consequences. As interviewed by Theroux, most of them confessed that they are no longer confident about their lives and that they believe they can die anytime through violent means. This then indicates the manner that such boys cannot be intimidated, but then such fearlessness comes with foul implications regarding law enforcement. As a matter of fact, such street boys opt to divert their concern to the threat of "justice" while in the hands of the fellow peers rather than in police hands. Some say they gain better when imprisoned than they lose. They have a convinced perception that the society is doing nothing to them and so by going to prison, they make sure it does something to them.

The Street Life and Worst Brutality They Face

When they encounter the police has made them hardcore. Young boys who should have otherwise been rehabilitated for better lifestyles end up being more crooked and resolve to have every of their issues resolved by violent means (Anderson, 1999). Non-violent orientation as ways to handle challenges have failed to work with their case. The decent philosophy of life being precious and playing a significant role in the process of socialization as it happens in the well-to-do home does not materialize for the street youth. The language of violence and foul means is what they understand (Theroux, 2008). The police and the prosecutors in this State do not look beyond or what lies behind the behaviors of these boys. They just man-handle them and even ill-treat them in the cells while awaiting imprisonment (Theroux, 2008). No one follows to stand on their behalf or argue for their personal defense in courts. Being imprisoned is thus no longer a threat to them. The police and the prosecutors in this regard need to check on their acts of prejudice if it means for the sake of minority groups in Philadelphia.

An Oppositional Culture

The codes of the streets in Philadelphia draw much of their implications from the wider spectrum of the societal attitudes. The hard-core street youth invest so much in the code to ensure their reputation is well established (Anderson, 1999). For these youth and other young children who have been brought up in the streets understand the street code as a game. They felt alienated and rejected from the mainstream society. For this and many other reasons, they nurture some racist spirit and contempt from the rest of the people (Anderson, 1999). When the daily nurturing of conventional rejection attains certain levels, such youngsters will get encouraged to express their contempt and fight back to the unsupportive society. The young blacks in most cases fall into this category and have thus assumed demeanor based on street orientation. This is their opted way to express their black originality.

Together with Other Street Families

The blacks try as much as they can to lead a moderate kind of life and form part of the so-called mainstream culture. The problem comes in through the foul acts of actual and perceived racism. Such acts are common while they make their encounter with the police in the streets. In northern parts of Philadelphia to mention, the blacks walk around the streets with their children in so much fear since anytime they await being shot randomly or caught up in the crossfire (Theroux, 2008). The little street children are at times captured by the paid police to be taken to some lords who sacrifice them in exchange for 'good life.' The oppositional culture has been nurtured by these black families living in the streets because of the insecurity and unfair treatment mixed with racism from the police.

Self-Image Based on "Juice."

At teenage, most of the youths are conversant with the street codes, which include language and manner of self-presentation (Anderson, 1999). This, as seen in the video, is an indication of one's capability about the next person (Theroux, 2008). It also gives a signal of one's capacity to resolve into violence and being able to defend oneself. The mode by which communication happens in this regard is dictated by the conditions around. Expressions from the face, gait, and verbal words all in most cases result in aggression. This is the case in the streets of Philadelphia. Fights arise every time and are geared up by the preexisting competitions.

Some People as Seen in the Video Look for a Fight

Anywhere around and use it to increase their reputation and respect among the peers (Theroux, 2008). This is what is referred to as 'juice' therein. Some fellows also consider it important when their opponent is assaulted. The problem in this regard is how the patrolling police handle the street cases. They have some manner of 'smelling' the status of the opponents in the event of a fight. They tend to lean so much in favor of the financially privileged person as opposed to the other. If the fight ends up in court, the same happens.

A Good Example is in a Case Shown in the Documentary

(Theroux, 2008). During prosecutions, the prosecutor listens to one complainant and takes the case to court where the judgment was done based on the information from one party in the fight. The other party was ignored and imprisoned for an assault. The decision in this scenario was somewhat unfair as all sides were not given equal chances of giving their side of the story. The shocking bit is that this is what has been happening in the Philadelphian criminal justice system. Although police dispute it, evidence from videos like the one being referred to herein proves the validity of the claims that the less privileged in the United States are subject to bias from the police and prosecutors (Theroux, 2008). The less privileged face more oppression.


In a nutshell, the manner in which the police and prosecutors in Philadelphia and the United States, in general, handle crimes is entirely upsetting. In fact, the procedures in courts accelerate crimes as opposed to reducing. The same is with the police brutality in the streets which leads to mistrust and un-cooperation amongst them and the citizens. There is a need to put reforms on the police and prosecutor operations if it means for the sake of the minority groups, especially those in the streets.


Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the Street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Theroux, L. (2008). Law and Disorder in Philadelphia. YouTube. Accessed on April 9, 2017.

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