This Essay reflects the author's personal perspective on the fairness of the criminal justice system. She argues that the key to assessing the fairness of the system is to examine it, not in isolation, but within a larger social context. The criminal justice system is part of the larger society, shares its values and is shaped by its allocation of resources. The criminal justice system is consistent with the values of that larger society: It treats the lives of poor people and people of color as being of inferior worth, skewing its intervention toward control and punishment rather than toward rehabilitation and inclusion.

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Criminal Law Commons