We will write a custom Essay on Cultural Diversity Training specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The US demographics have been changing at a very high rate in the recent years. According to the US Census Bureau (2010), 32% of the population consists of multicultural minority groups. The census report (2010) also projects that by the year 2060, minority group will comprise of the whites. Increase in cultural diversity comes with some challenges that can eventually escalate into real problems.
Criminal Justice System Diversity Problems
The US criminal justice system has experienced some challenges related to cultural diversity (Limbaugh, 2011). For instance, in November 2011, Cape Coral police department was under scrutiny following allegations that minority groups were being discriminated against (Limbaugh, 2011).
According to a report filed by blacks and Latinos, police officers were unfairly arresting and accusing minority groups without reasonable grounds. As Limbaugh (2011) notes, these groups attributed the unfair treatment they received to their race because whites were treated differently.
The Cape Coral complaint was not an isolated case. There have been claims that minority groups are over-represented in correctional facilities and under-represented in employment in the criminal justice system (Limbaugh, 2011). In addition, it has also been claimed that judges give discriminatory and undeserving sentences to suspects from minority groups (Limbaugh, 2011).
On the other hand, as Limbaugh (2011) points out, concerns have been raised regarding the relationship between race and criminal activities. It is claimed that the high rates of incarceration among minority groups result from their high association with criminal activities rather than mere prejudice (Limbaugh, 2011). Whichever way this debate goes, there is a problem to be addressed.
People from different cultural backgrounds have different attitudes and beliefs (Johns, 2004). Individuals with different attitudes and beliefs see and interpret things in different ways. In this regard, police activities affect people from different cultural backgrounds differently.
Consequently, such activities attract different reactions depending on the culture of the group in question (Johns, 2004). This kind of misunderstanding reduces trust between police officers and local communities. Therefore, criminal justice system employees should be trained to enable them develop cordial working relationships with the local communities. The training should focus on the following areas.
Training Criminal Justice Employees
Training of criminal justice employees should be designed to achieve specific objectives. At the end of the training, Johns (2004) notes that learners should be able to identify some of the benefits and challenges associated with cultural diversity in the context of criminal justice system.
Learners should also be able to identify factors that undermine trust between them and the communities they serve. Criminal justice system employees should also demonstrate skills necessary to address the identified problems (Johns, 2004). To achieve these objectives, employees should understand culture as discussed below.
Culture entails norms that develop in a community over time (Johns, 2004). According to Johns (2004), culture defines how members of a certain community do, see and react to things. A cultural group, therefore, comprises of people who share certain norms that they have developed over time.
Cultural diversity can be beneficial if there is cultural competence (Johns, 2004). In this case, cultural competence prevails when people from different cultural backgrounds communicate with each other in a manner that enhances fairness and trust between them. As Johns (2004) asserts, through cross-cultural communication, one group does not feel threatened by the presence of the other. This builds trust and peaceful coexistence.
The opposite of cultural competence is cultural collision (Johns, 2004). In this case, people from different cultures live together but they neither understand nor appreciate each other. This is attributed to poor cross-cultural communication. In this case, Johns (2004) emphasises that culture is not just about skin colour or people’s names.
It determines how roles are assigned, how communication is done and how things are interpreted (Johns, 2004). It determines how people relate to each other. Poor cross-cultural communication, therefore, leads to unnecessary misunderstanding, mistrust and prejudice.
In criminal justice system, mistrust and prejudice result from misunderstanding between the police and local communities (Harley, Alston & Turner-Whittaker, 2008). Harley et al. (2008) points out that police may consciously or unconsciously prejudice members of some communities because they do not understand their way of life. On the other hand, communities may feel targeted by the police because they do not understand the work of the police.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
To avoid such misunderstanding, police officers should understand the cultures of the communities they serve (Harley et al., 2008). On the other hand, communities should also understand the culture and mandate of the police. For this to happen, there has to be maximum interaction between the police and the local communities (Harley et al., 2008). In addition, minority groups should be given fair representation in terms of employment in the criminal justice system (Harley et al., 2008).
In conclusion, delivery of justice has been undermined by mistrust between criminal justice system employees and the communities they serve. To rebuild the necessary trust, employees in the criminal justice system should be trained on how to operate in a multicultural society.
The training should help them understand and appreciate the benefits and challenges that come with cultural diversity. At the end of the training, criminal justice employees should be able to communicate with local communities in a manner that eliminates mistrust and prejudice.
Harley, D. A., Alston, R.J., & Turner-Whittaker, T. (2008). Social Justice and cultural diversity issues. Rehabilitation Education Journal, 22(4), 237-248.
Johns, N. (2004). Ethnic diversity policy: Perceptions with the NHS. Social Policy and Administration Journal, 38(1): 73-88.
Limbaugh, S. (2011). Contemporary cultural diversity issue. Journal of Criminal Justice. 4(1): 3-9.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Population Reference Bureau. Washington DC: US Census Bureau.