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Bias in the Criminal Justice System

Although people commonly refer to the criminal justice system in the United States, there are actually many criminal justice systems—at the federal, state, and local levels—each of which is a constellation of agencies working toward (a) preventing crime and disorder, (b) apprehending and punishing criminal offenders who commit crime, (c) rehabilitating offenders, and (d) restoring victims of crime to make them whole. Crime, in turn, is conduct that threatens the existing social order and, therefore, has been prohibited; sanctions attach to it. Because our social order is dominated by straight, White, male Christians, it is unsurprising that, historically, women and minorities—including LGBTQ people—have been subjected to especially harsh treatment by the criminal justice system. This entry addresses LGBTQ people’s attitudes toward the criminal justice system ...

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