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Combating Racial Disparity in Non-Judicial Punishment

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[Technical Report, Research Paper]

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As our nation grapples with race issues, the concern about racial disparities in the Air Force criminal justice system has been brought to light once again. A unique aspect of nonjudicial punishment NJP in the military is that it sometimes blurs the line between true criminal offenses and mere employment, work performance, or behavioral issues. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Pub. L. 88-352 Title VII, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Act also provides for the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional violations of Title VII and provides specific protection against retaliation or reprisal. However, for military members, the reality is that the protections guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution Equal Protection Clause are almost non-existent. While Title VII is primarily geared towards employment discrimination and not criminal law, the two are inextricably intertwined in the military because non-judicial punishment accounts for both criminal offenses such as marijuana use and non-criminal work-related issues such as showing up to work late. For years the statistics in non-judicial punishment and courts-martial within the Air Force have shown that black male Airmen under the age of 25 and with less than 5 years of service receive NJP at far higher rates than similarly situated white males. Race and Justice 2020 Memorandum. The statistics indicate that we still have a long road ahead of us working to normalize equality in our military justice system and equal treatment and opportunities in the workplace.

Subject Categories:

  • Toxicology
  • Sociology and Law

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[A, Approved For Public Release]