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Federal and State Governance - Essay Example

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The dynamics between each state and federal policies on crimes and punishments can be illustrated using the crime and corrections statistics of Texas and California. Based on the report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (2006), the two state's crime trends as well as polices at the beginning of the bureau's efforts to document crime trends in the U.S…
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Federal and State Governance
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Download file to see previous pages An analysis of the nature of the crimes in both states provides may provide insights to the differences in policies. The incidence of violent crimes as well as recidivism in California is higher while Texas shows lesser recidivism and significant higher prison population. According to Kaplan and associates (2002), Texas' law shows greater inflexibility in the use of incarceration as a penal measure citing that the nature of crime in the state historical justifies the application of such measures.
Given that the United States follows a federal system of government, each state is given the privilege to formulate and implement its own legal codes which include criminal justice programs. This is meant to allow individual states to develop criminal and penal statutes that correspond to individual or unique crime trends that may greatly differ from state to state (see Appendix A). There are times that policies and perspectives used differ between states depending on the perspectives, policies or by the nature of the crime committed (Pillsbury, 1989). This is not to imply that crime is one state is more acceptable in another and only a variance in the manner by which the act is assessed and addressed (Jones and Newburn, 2005).
In such a system, federal statu...
sure that independent criminal justice programs do not impair constitutional rights, contravene federal legislation or create conditions that will prevent equitable application of the law (Peak, 2006). In effect, though state perspectives and policies on crime and punishment may differ significantly, there are criteria or range of acceptability for the policies that each state is to implement. This also reinforces the order in policies and subsequently order in society as well.
It should be noted as well, that though the criminal justice programs in California and Texas may differ significantly, they have a common purpose of preventing crime and victimization, maintaining order and security and supporting federal objectives and policies. Conflicts or inconsistency with federal policies or that of other states are also not designed to undermine another state's authority but rather are individual trends or modes in that state or the federal government's criminal justice program (Hepburn, 1986). Furthermore, the availability of channels to mitigate and resolve conflicts, federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court, signify that there is states are a part of a system that has established operations and procedures to establishing order and even harmonize policies.
Community Policing
Community policing initiatives have gained support in an effort to develop greater social participation in securing communities. In general there has been indication that efforts have had a measure of success but Matthews and Pitts (2000) point out that sustaining such this outcome requires the development of long-tern programs. These programs range from the development of operations and procedures, establishment of channels of command and responsibility and public education.
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