Discretion refers to the freedom of people to make their own judgments. Is has been a common practice in policing as the law enforcement officers have unguided authority for initiating investigations and arrests, which may result in prosecutions (Chambliss, 2011). Discretion can be detrimental, mundane, or beneficial. Bad discretion has led to disparity and bias in policing because it gains motivation from class, race, or sex considerations. Therefore, controlling of discretion is among the strategies that criminal justice system uses to reduce disparity and bias in policing (Chambliss, 2011). This discussion will consider the common discretionary practices, the courts and corrections seeming to possess the greatest disproportional influence on populations of difference, as well as the mitigation strategies.
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Prejudiced judgment, which happens in the course of crime investigation, is a discretionary practice (Chambliss, 2011). Discretion may lead to the inclination of law enforcement officers to suspect some people and scrutinize them. Because of discretion, investigation officers may be lenient to some people and investigate others strictly. Discriminatory selection due to discretion has a significant influence on prosecutorial decisions. Declining to pursue cases against defendants is another discretionary practice (Withrow, 2011). Some law-enforcement officers may decide who to prosecute and who not to prosecute by virtue of prosecutorial discretion. Corrections, such as parole and probations influence populations of difference disproportionately. This is because the parole and probation officers may supervise offenders strictly or leniently depending on the class, race, or sex of the offenders. Experts feel that restrictive policies, judgmental policies, and discouragement policies as the mitigations strategies against discretionary practices (Withrow, 2011).
In conclusion, control and prevention of discretion will reduce bias and disparity in the criminal justice system during policing (Chambliss, 2011). Parole and probation are the common corrections that affect different people disproportionately by virtue of race, sex, or social class. Some of the effective mitigation strategies that will end discretion include restrictive, judgmental, and discouragement policies (Withrow, 2011).
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