Social Psychology and Justice Research Paper

Legal and Social Justice 


For this research paper, you need to explore the ideas about what constitutes legal vs. social justice. Utilize chapters 13 & 14 in American Homicide by Hough . First, discuss the practicality of legal justice and the relativity of social justice. How are experts determined in courts? How can plea deals be a social injustice?
What do taxes, peoples’ time, and definitions of morality have to do with either? Provide two detailed examples for each a legal justice in the courts, and a social justice in the courts. (Total of 4 examples)
Next, how do you think media (any mass form of communication) can change the way we, as Americans define and enact on legal and social justice?
Criteria: 3-5 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12 pt.
Practicality of legal justice and the relativity of social justice
Costs of the public
Two specific and detailed examples of both legal justice in courts and social justice in courts
Must include at least 3 academic sources on a references page at the end
Here is the rubric for this assignment:
Content--60 pts. Did you fully address the topic and provide solid examples and details for support? Was the relationship between media, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination clearly discussed?
Sociological knowledge--15 pts. Include sociological terms, theories, and concepts to demonstrate your understanding of scientific investigation of societies.
Grammar--15 pts. Use complete sentences, proper punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. Text message language will not be accepted.


Type of Paper Essay English Style English (US)
Subject Area Sociology Writer Category Copper
Academic Level University Sources 3
Number of Pages 5 page(s) / 1375 Words                                   Referencing Style                    APA
Spacing Double Spaced



Legal and Social Justice


Restitution is the basis upon which society’s regulations and rules are created. The inference of this supposition is that, in the determination of justice, the overall objective is to seek to return the structure of the society to the position that it was before an injustice occurred. The legal and social justice systems rely on the concept of restitution to different degrees, with social justice based on compensation, while legal justice is based on a gains-based recovery model (Sher, 2017). Understanding the dichotomy that emerges from the structure of society’s guiding regulations allows a policy professional to be able to focus policies on the presenting needs of the community. To an individual, such an understanding increases their effectiveness as a member of the society by enabling them to act in observance of the specific principles and rules that guide interactions in the society. With this in mind, this essay seeks to identify and explain the practicality of legal justice and the relativity of social justice.


By virtue of their structure, all rules and regulations in the society are social constructs as they are developed from general acceptability and consensus of the nature of actions. The concept of justice seeks to ensure that equality in access to society’s resources is achieved and maintained (Fineman&Grear 2016). This is done by ensuring that the structure of interactions in society is bound by actions of justice and morality. The distinction between legal and social justice emerge from the actions in place to reinstate a previous injustice. As such, some actions would be considered legally just but may not be socially just. Legal justice occurs where the objective of the action is to ensure that a member of the society is allocated the resources that are bound to be theirs by virtue of a previous agreement or contract. On the other hand, social justice occurs in a way that the member of the society is allocated those resources which they may have been denied and yet are in need of them to achieve some social objective.

The practicality of Legal Justice and Relativity of Social Justice

In deconstructing the description of legal justice, it is noted that the resources being reinstituted were owed to the member of the society based on a contract or agreement that existed between them and the previous owner. As such, the process of acquiring legal justice follows the enforcement of terms of interaction between two or more members of the society (Hough& McCorkle, 2016). In this way, it is arguable that legal justice is based on a practical philosophy based on the supposition that it involves the enforcement of clear objectives of an agreement, where such agreement is entered into willingly by both parties. For instance, members have the legal right to a free and fair trial under their contract with the government. The selection of expert witnesses in courts should allow the person to access due process under the terms of the implied contract with the justice system. As such, the courts would determine the level of expertise that would ensure the person gets access to legal justice.

On the other hand, social justice is a discretionary approach to justice and the equitability of resource allocation (DeMatthews, &Mawhinney, 2014). While the member of the society is not legally entitled to a particular resource, previous injustices that resulted in the gap in resource ownership are the focus of the process. The objective of the process is to ensure that the disadvantaged member of the society acquires their reasonably equitable share of the resources. As such, the social justice system is subjective and hence is relative from one perspective to the other and may result in legal injustices. The relativity of social justice may at times result in injustices. For instance, plea deals in the justice system may result in social injustice. This is because; as social justice systems call for equality of resource allocation, the structure of plea bargains results in a bargained justice where an offender can avoid the penalties of the court. In such instances, restitution would not be achieved and hence an injustice would suffice.

Taxes, People’s Time and Definitions of Morality

With reference to legal justice, the objective of the system is to ensure that members of the society are compensated for their resources exchanged under implied or explicit contracts. Taxes are amounts payable to the government for gaining income from the use of resources of the country. This fall under legal justice as the assumption is that the government, on behalf of the society, enters into implied contracts with individuals, to use the communal resources to make a profit and such must be compensated. As such, the objective of tax laws is to ensure that the compensation to the public is achieved. People’s time is also given under an explicit contract between the person and society. Compensation for such time, as a resource, is governed by employment laws. The role of the decrees is to ensure that individuals are compensated for the time they dedicate to offer particular services of benefit to another individual. In this case, legal justice would occur when the generally accepted rate for time spent in a vocation is attached to the incomes of the individual.

From the perspective of social justice, taxes, time resources, and morality are based on the assumption of the equitable distribution of community resources, fairness, and social values. Taxation under social justice is established based on the objective of the governing system to ensure resources in the community are equitably distributed. For instance, using taxes to expand health facilities in low-income areas is an example of the application of tax in social justice systems. The compensation for people’s time under social justice systems seeks to ensure that there is fairness in the negotiations between owners of capital and owners of time resources. Lastly, morality, under social justice systems, seeks to ensure that general structures of effective interaction are upheld by providing social values that are based on social perceptions of good and evil. As an example, regulations to prevent underage drinking are put in place to safeguard the morals of the society, with reference to unwanted teenage behaviors.

To give more detail to the taxation example, in legal justice; the government provides for road access from areas of residence to areas of work. This increases the value of a person’s resources increasing the income of the person by the value increased by the government. Through regulation, the government enters into an implied contract with the individual, to offer services in exchange of a fee that is paid in lieu of the profits gained from using the resources of the community. The second example is with respect to the issue of morality. By instituting laws, the government binds the citizen to a predefined model of behavior based on the acceptability of the society to act in a particular way. As such, an individual going against the laws would affect the growth of the society. For instance, by stealing, the individual would deny the society the effective interaction and hence, to compensate the society, the offender is legally required to pay for their actions resulting in the achievement of legal justice.

In this next example, it is described how the taxes are related to social justice. The tax system is such that, the government collects a proportion of individual benefits and redistributes them in form of development programs. Following from the principle of restitution of historical injustices, the use of taxes to bridge a social gap, such as health gaps, which are a result of historical injustices, is a form of social justice. From the perspective of morality, consider the social values of a society help in ensuring respect and promotion of effective interaction. By emplacing regulations, the government is able to control the behaviors of individuals in order to achieve the required acceptable social behavior. In this case, the morality, being defined as an acceptable pattern of behavior in the society, enacting regulation to structure behavior is a form of social justice based on the definitions of morality.

Conclusions: Role of Media in Shaping Perceptions of Legal and Social Justice

The media acts as a tool through which the society distributes information regarding issues in the society (Waisbord, 2018). The nature of the communication is based on how the society perceives certain aspects of life. In presenting different definitions of a subject matter, the society is likely to change its general perception on the issue. Similarly, promotion of an idea allows the society to focus its efforts on achieving the objectives of the idea. In the United States, the media can influence how the members of the American society perceive the issue of legal and social justice by increasing awareness on the concepts through the information they present to the public. One of the most significant influences in decision-making regarding a particular issue is how other members of the society perceive the issues. In this way, by increasing knowledge on legal and social justice, the media can influence how the American society defines and enacts rules that govern the society.


DeMatthews, D., &Mawhinney, H. (2014). Social justice leadership and inclusion: Exploring challenges in an urban district struggling to address inequities. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(5), 844-881.

Fineman, M. A., &Grear, A. (2016).Equality, autonomy, and vulnerable subject in law and politics.In Vulnerability (pp. 25-40).Routledge.

Hough, R. M., & McCorkle, K. D. (2016).American homicide.Sage Publications.

Sher, N. (2017).The Best Welfare Point: A New Compensation Criterion and Goal for Tort Law.U. Mem. L. Rev., 48, 145.

Waisbord, S. (2018).Family tree of theories, methodologies, and strategies in development communication.Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change, 1-40.


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