"Justice is the legal or philosophical theory by which fairness is administered." In the Justice system a person is reprimanded for an act committed.

However the punishment of any given person is a function of more factors than the act committed in a nontrivial way. It varies, not insignificantly, with race, gender, wealth, attractiveness, and so on... You can, for instance, take the average difference of sentencing between a white person and black person for murder. This difference will be the punishment assigned to a person for the act of being a certain race. This punishment is not insignificant and cannot be considered to satisfy the condition of fairness in any approximation.

Is the Justice System flawed in it's most fundamental principle? If so, how can this be corrected?

  • 1
    What is your source for the definition in the first paragraph? I suspect that the flaw lies in that assumption rather than elsewhere.
    – phoog
    May 24 '18 at 3:00
  • How would you see it defined? I have edited the question according to wikipedia's definition.
    – redsunx
    May 24 '18 at 3:17
  • I raised the question because your original assertion that "the motivation is not relevant" is contrary to much of criminal law, where, for example, racially motivated crimes can be punished more severely, and some crimes require criminal intent; in its absence, the act may meet the requirements of a lesser crime or of no crime whatsoever.
    – phoog
    May 24 '18 at 17:12


As a product of the effort and imagination of human beings, it is, like all institutions, fundamentally flawed.

  • I do not want to ask a question and debate the answer, however there are degrees of inaccuracy and they are not equal. It must be considered what is reasonable and constitutes acceptable tolerance.
    – redsunx
    May 24 '18 at 14:02

I think there's a problem in your question in that you're using the definition of "justice" to define "the justice system." Justice is one thing, but there are countless justice systems around the world.

Because this site seems to have a predominantly American audience, I'll proceed on the assumption that you're talking about the U.S. criminal justice system.

If we could agree that punishment is the "most fundamental principle" of the justice system, then yes, the system is definitely flawed. It could be flawed in the sense that punishment should not be the principle on which the entire system is built, or it could just be flawed in application and administration, as most people would agree that punishment is fine, so long as its done fairly.

But I don't know that I agree that punishment is the fundamental principle; it's just one feature of the system (albeit a prominent one). Of course, that doesn't really do anything to ameliorate the problems you've identified, as you're still left with all the same problems with application and administration, which of course are even worse than we've discussed so far, because they exist not just in the sentencing phase, but in the investigative and adjudicative phases, as well.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.