Respond by Day 5: Identify other events during this period that your colleagues may have not considered. Explain the impact of these events. 5 sentences and question

There is no doubt about the fact that the American criminal justice system was heavily impacted differently after the civil war. I will discuss two of those glaring issues that transformed the criminal justice system vis-a-vis the courts and the prisons. These two factors are the emancipation of black slaves, and population explosion. One of the reasons that lead to the war was the plan of the southern states to continue with “slave trade” a move that was resisted by the then President of the United States – Abraham Lincoln. With war against slavery been won in 1864, blacks who were originally considered slaves with no rights to get involved in any formal form of litigation over flooded the American courts even to the Supreme Court seeking legal redress for all the atrocities meted out to them in that era.

Black litigants not only brought civil cases against white southerners in the highest level of southern courts throughout the period of 1865 to 1920, they often won these cases. The nature of the legal system and the varied actions of its participants played an important part in African Americans’ access to southern courts, while also shaping and limiting the kinds of cases litigated by African Americans (, No Date). In other words, the courts in America gained a new outlook of being accessible to all regardless of race or color.

For the Prison on the other hand, before the 18th century, the notion was that prisons were places dedicated to the punishment of offenders never existed. Offenders were only held in the prisons temporary until a decision is reached on what type of punishment is commensurate with their acts. According to Talal Al-Khatib (2015), Political prisoners and debtors were the only ones who saw any kind of extended stay. Today, the United States is renowned as the highest jailer in the world and this has been excused with increasing population and low mortality rates. This population growth put a major strain on the prison system, lacking in both infrastructure and decency. Resource constraints led to overcrowding, which in term led to ineffective and often cruel prison policy, a cycle that would repeat itself throughout U.S. history (Al-Khatib, 2015).


Al-Khatib, T. (2015). Doing Time: A History of US Prisons. Retrieved from… (No Date). From Slave to Litigant: African Americans in Court in the Post-Civil War South. Retrieved from…

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