The Criminal Justice System

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					The Criminal Justice System

      Structure & Process
    The Criminal Justice Process

• Cycles individuals from the status of
  “free citizen” to that of suspect, then
  defendant, to convicted offender,
  probationer/inmate, parolee/released
  “offender” – as such “integrates” the
     How does this work?
– A series of stages administered by a
  number of subsystems with different
  goals, values, and structures
– The activities are expected to “sum
  to the “overall goal” and create the
  appearance of a “system
Criminal Justice System
       The Stages in the Process
• Observation/Report   • Hearing on Pre-Trial
• Investigation
                       • Trial
• Arrest/Booking
                       • Sentencing
• Initial Appearance   • Appeals/Post
• Determination of       Conviction Remedies
  Formal Charge        • Conditions of Sentence
• Arraignment,         • Release
  Indictment, or       • Parole/Revocation
  Information          • Discharge
    Bases for the Process – Values
         and Value Conflicts
•   Due process
•   Fundamental Fairness
•   Propriety
•   Freedom from Cruel and Unusual Punishment
•   Equal Protection
•   Rule of Law
•   Presumption of Innocence
              Values (cont)
•   Constitutional Government
•   Separation of Power
•   Federalism
•   Civil Rights
•   Majority Rule
•   Individualism
•   Human Dignity
•   Social Justice
           Multiple Goals
• Detect, Apprehend, Convict,

• Deter Potential Offenders

• Create an Ordered Society
     Two Different Purposes
• Control by “solving” crimes

• Control by “preventing” crimes
           Solving Crime
• Control crime by solving offenses,
  arresting suspects, and processing and
  incapacitating offenders

  – Deals with the immediate and rests
    on the discovery of past criminal
         Preventing Crime
• Preventing crime through these
  processes or other means

  – Forward looking, forecasting,
    forestalling future crimes by present
     Measures of Effectiveness
• High arrest rates      • Arrest only under extreme
• Charging the highest
                         • Direct violators to other
  possible crimes
• Convicting offenders   • Charge only according to
  as charged               what is best for the person
• Sentencing to          • Use probation/community
  maximum terms            corrections for a short
                           period of time
            Questions Raised
• What is a “good” judge?

• What is a “good” prosecutor?

• What is a “good” corrections program?

• What is a “good” law enforcement” agency?
     Approaches to Deterrence
• Belief in the certainty of criminal justice
  process and reliance on the severity of
• System should be nearly invisible while
  having a belief that it is operating efficiently
• Prevention of opportunities
   Creating an Ordered Society
• Effectiveness and efficiency of the Criminal
  Justice Process
• Reliance on elements which are more
  symbolic and ceremonial

Note: The agencies in the Criminal Justice
 System are “agents” of the status quo
 Conclusions and Consequences
• The Criminal Justice System is comprised of a set
  of “subsystems” which have different and
  sometimes contradictory goals
• Personnel within agency unit can be expected to
  have a vested interest in its survival if not
• System maintenance concerns are important
  factors in understanding the way the CJS operates
  and provide a basis for change
 Present Conditions – no CJS agency is
   completely effective and efficient
• Most crimes, particularly property crimes
  reported to the police are never “solved”
• Prosecutorial role is often one of
  negotiation rather than trial
• Judges are somewhat unsure of their
  effectiveness in sentencing
• Correctional programs often fall far short of
  rehabilitation or reintegration
Functions Differ – but regardless of goals
 rests on governmental authority – it is a
             “legal” system
•   Law Enforcement
•   Prosecutorial/Defense
•   Trial Court
•   Corrections
   Law Enforcement Functions
• Enforce Laws

• Maintain Order

• Provide Services

• Enforce Convenience Norms
    Sources of Authority Differ
• Legislative

• Executive

• Judicial (Appellate Courts)

• Administrative
• Crimes are defined by legislation
• Executive branch functions primarily to initiate
  legislation, appoint administrators and propose
• Appellate courts interpret the laws
• Administrative agencies and officers e.g. police,
  prosecution, trial courts enforce law, collectively
  operate the overall CJ process and assure various
  degrees of operational rule-making authority
            Differ in Structure
• Distinctness of agencies and offices – non-
  interchangeable personnel

• Separate, unrelated budgets

• Differing, jurisdictional boundaries – e.g not one
  police agency
       Differ in Structure (cont)
• Separate human resource pools with personnel in
  each agency recruited from different populations

• Differing patterns of personnel selection

• Variations in the amount of client and indirect
  citizen involvement in the decision making

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