Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

As diverse ethnic groups continue to experience numeric growth and societal grounding in America, their advocacies for culturally competent representation within the legal system cannot be ignored or underplayed. Undoubtedly, some professions such as mental and physical health, and their related sectors, have developed and continue to integrate cultural competencies into their respective practices. Others such as the legal profession seem to lag in their advocacies and promotion of culturally competent practices.

In the criminal justice system, where discretionary legal decision-making authority is commonplace and may grossly affect the civil liberties of the citizenry, a paucity of standards requiring cultural competence training in any area of practice is evident. Without broad-based, mandatory public policy initiatives for cultural competency training among legal services providers and practitioners, the system will continue to be plagued with communicative and interpretive barriers. In all likelihood, these barriers will serve to hinder, if not retard, competent representation and the fair dispensation of justice.