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Industrial Revolution Influence on The Criminal Justice System

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Argument
    Segregation and its societal hold on freedom
    The systems blind eye towards women and child workers
  3. Conclusion
  4. Implications


The industrial revolution paved the way for a new world. It also however brought with it many inequalities into the world, and as a result society was plagued with these inequalities. The U. S. As a society is one that experienced these inequalities amongst its people.

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Due to the industrial revolution and the economic power and influence the rich have on the Criminal Justice System, many people experienced inequalities, based on their race, class, age, or gender. Race yielded inequalities due to segregation and other internal problems. Class experienced first hand inequalities due to the upper-class putting pressure upon the lower-class to work in poor unsafe conditions. Gender and age dealt with inequalities in wages due to the upper-class not thinking of them as equals to men.

Segregation and its societal hold on freedom

The Klu Klux Klan (KKK) emerged out of outrage due to blacks gaining more rights, like the vote, and quickly started growing in numbers and violence. Fast forward to when black rights were changed again to be equal but different from whites (segregation). They were legally required to drink from different water fountains, go to different schools, and had less opportunities in areas like housing and transportation. The Klan is important during this time because its members were in positions of power, such as Sheriff and politicians. This starts to be scary because some clan members held such high offices as Mayor. As a result, things like Jim Crow Laws were enabled, which saw the violence and lynching (to be hung by a tree) of Blacks. These acts often went unpunished and were quite the spectacle with crowds of people and sometimes even Law Enforcement Officers stopping to watch and cheer as a human being was murdered right in front of them. The Criminal Justice System failed to not only protect its own people, but it had also failed to provide them with their constitutional right to life and to be equal to their fellow man, producing inequalities across the board for Black Americans at the time.

The leverage money and the System hold over the lower-class The factory jobs that emerged from the industrial revolution left little to be desired. Aside from getting compensated, there were no benefits only disadvantages. There was a laundry list of issues for workers’ health while in the factory, such as machines spitting out black smoke for them to inhale or the lack of safety precautions resulting in accidents (fatal and non-fatal). These people also lived in some of the most appalling living conditions. With multiple families having to share one apartment in slums (because of low wages given by employers), diseases spread quickly, and people died. These people were left in holes with no way out. The System failed to set a standard of pay, resulting in the lower-class being an inescapable reality. The system also failed to set proper safety protocol within these factories. It’s also necessary to note that statistics show that the more disadvantages a neighborhood has, the more likely it is to experience high violent crime rates. This is still a problem in the United States of America today. People living in poverty are more likely to commit a crime because of the rational choice theory (the belief that criminals weigh the pros and cons when committing a crime). If these people are already in the system the window for opportunity in life is even more narrow resulting in their choice of crime, they feel like they have no other choice because of their environments.

The systems blind eye towards women and child workers

The industrial revolution was a time where children as young as 6 were put to work for significantly less wages than men. This was especially bad because they often worked I the mines or factories, facing the same problems that are listed above. They were also expendable due to kids without families being sent to work, so with an endless amount of labor, it didn’t matter if they worked them to death. Many of these children were subjected to verbal or physical abuse if they upset their boss. The Criminal Justice System allowed for these kids to work but neglected to treat them as equals on income compared to adults. The System failed to also protect these children from their work environment with employers getting away with beating and maiming children. Women during this time were in a similar situation to kids, being compensated less than men were, although they still mad more than children. Women also worked in the same poor conditions and were punished by their employers (beatings/verbal abuse). Women faced similar inequalities compared to children and the lower-class.


In conclusion, the industrial revolution saw economic power skew the Criminal Justice System judgement/treatment towards people of color, class, gender, and age. It allowed members of a hateful vigilante group to gain political power, creating a dangerous and imbalanced world for Minority Americans. The System also allowed for people to be killed at work with no repercussions to the employers for not having safety protocols in place, the same employers who could pay their employees as little as they wanted and obtain more wealth. Children and women faced verbal and physical abuse, which wasn’t investigated and ignored by the System, allowing the employer to cheat women and children out of money without consequence (while also gaining more wealth themselves). While segregation and the political power of the KKK was an atrocity, those dangers are not present today with membership to the KKK being at an estimated 3, 000 members according to the ADL. Segregation was abolished after the civil rights movement. It’s fair to point out people such as the Irish probably didn’t care much about lower wages or poor working conditions because they were ecstatic to escape the famine in Ireland. Child labor was fixed with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which set child labor requirements to protect kids. The Feminism movement sparked from the low wage factory jobs and advocated for workplace equality. This led to the Equal Pay Act (EPA) in 1963, which forced employers to pay both sexes equally for similar work. Economic and political power/influence should never go unchecked or inequalities and corruption will occur within our Criminal Justice System.

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This paper extends far beyond the points that I have made that I have stated above. While segregation is no longer a problem, are Minority relations with Law Enforcement and the System good now? Also are relations between low income high crime neighborhoods good with Police today just because they have equal opportunity like everyone else, or are they more complicated because Police profile their high crime area? Are women seen as equals to Men by employers, or are Men still favored because of prejudice against women? Did America fix itself by passing equal rights laws after the fact or is they’re still work to be done.

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Industrial Revolution Influence on the Criminal Justice System. (2020, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from
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