Criminal Justice System - Essay Example

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In this paper the researcher will attempt to reflect on the criminal justice system in a general way. The working of the criminal justice systems in the different areas depends on the authority that is in control: metropolitan, district, state, central or tribal government or armed forces installation…
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Criminal Justice System
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Research Design I.D. Number: Term and Year Criminal Justice System Introduction The criminal justice system is the cohort of processes, agencies, and codes established by the governing authorities to control transgressions of law and enforce penalties on the persons who breach laws. In USA, there is no solitary criminal justice framework but rather numerous similar but distinct systems work together. The working of the criminal justice systems in the different areas depends on the authority that is in control: metropolitan, district, state, central or tribal government or armed forces installation. In this paper, we will reflect on the criminal justice system in a general way. What is Crime? Crime is the violation of laws or rules set by a governing authority through legal systems. Ultimately, such an action might amount to conviction. Crime might also culminate at penalties (financial or corporeal), caution, expulsion, extradition, isolation, or community services and rehabilitation. However, different countries would define crime differently at the local, provincial, federal, and/or international levels. (Hurwitz and Christiansen, 1983; Quinney, 1966) Relationship between Crime and Law Crime is dealt with under the sphere of criminology, which is in principle a non-normative, empirical, and descriptive science. Crime studies or criminological enquiries depend largely on the theory of criminal law and country specific criminal code. However, only the legal conception of crime does not describe its relationship with law fully. Crime can be perceived as a more complex, relativistic and multifaceted topic area that relates with law through several socio-religious, cultural, and intellectual divergences varying across the different countries and cultures of the world. (Hurwitz and Christiansen, 1983) Components of Criminal Justice System Government Structure According to the academic experts at John Wiley & Sons (2012), “The phrase criminal justice system refers to a collection of federal, state, and local public agencies that deal with the crime problem.” These agencies route convicted offenders, suspects, and defendants and are mutually dependent as far as the very decisions of one agency might have an effect on other agencies. This complex system is composed of legislature, judiciary, and executive. In USA, legislature functions at state and federal levels and exercises law making powers. Judiciary consists of the trial courts at the lowest level. Next, there are the appellate courts. Each state has its own supreme court. The Federal Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in this hierarchy and delivers apex judgments. Executive consists of president, governors, and mayors, who further control the functions of judiciary, police, and correctional authorities. (John Wiley & Sons, 2012; National Center for Victims of Crime, 2008) System Components According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (2008, p. 1), “ Most criminal justice systems have five components—law enforcement, prosecution, defense attorneys, courts, and corrections, each playing a key role in the criminal justice process.” Law enforcement is generally handled by the security personnel, while prosecution largely depends on the lawyers appointed by the state or the federal governments. In order to handle prosecution by governments, defense lawyers are appointed by the defendants. The whole trial consisting of cross questioning, plea bargaining, enquiry, parole, punishment, etc. is overseen by the courts. Ultimately, convicted offenders are supervised by the correction officers when they are in prison, probation, parole, or community services. (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2008) Criminal Justice Process Criminal justice process is completed mainly in three interdependent phases. The first phase is pre-trial that consists of charge sheet, first appearance in court, bail or bond, preliminary hearing, and arraignment. The second phase is the trial process which mainly consists of plea agreements and jury or bench trials. Finally, the phase of post-trial begins that involves sentencing, probation, or parole. (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2008, Quinney, 1966) However, these phases are highly modified by criminal codes that depend on the conceptions of crimes. As illustrations of significant changes in conceptions of the crimes or violations of law over long time periods, several acts can be mentioned that have been modified from time to time. (Hurwitz and Christiansen, 1983) Accordingly, criminal justice process remains dynamic and application or non-application of different legislations and acts are time bound. In this way, the process of criminal justice becomes cumbersome and sometimes, confusing to the masses. National Center for Victims of Crime rightly remarks, “The criminal justice system can be overwhelming, intimidating, and confusing for anyone who does not work within it every day.” (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2008, p. 4) Conclusion Authorities utilize various methods to control certain customs, behaviors, and tendencies in general. Administering or governing agencies might, for example, codify the rules into specific laws. Further, the government also polices citizens, settlers, and tourists to make sure that they meet the terms of the laws, and put into practice other customs and policies. There is an increased need on the part of the people to understand law and participate in the criminal justice mechanisms in a more proactive way. Only public awareness and corruption free governance can assure a properly functional criminal justice system. Reference Hurwitz, S. and Christiansen, K.O. (1983). Criminology. New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. John Wiley & Sons (2012). The Structure of Criminal Justice. Retrieved March 12, 2012, from,articleId-9908.html National Center for Victims of Crime (2008). Get Help: The Criminal Justice System. Washington D.C.: Author. Quinney, R. (1966). Structural characteristics, population areas, and crime rates in the United States. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, 57 (1), 45-52. Read More
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