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The Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice System. Structure & 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 System. The Criminal Justice Process.

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The Criminal Justice System

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  1. The Criminal Justice System Structure & Process

  2. 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 System The Criminal Justice Process

  3. 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

  4. Criminal Justice System

  5. Observation/Report Investigation Arrest/Booking Initial Appearance Determination of Formal Charge Arraignment, Indictment, or Information Hearing on Pre-Trial Motions Trial Sentencing Appeals/Post Conviction Remedies Conditions of Sentence Release Parole/Revocation Discharge The Stages in the Process

  6. 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

  7. Values (cont) • Constitutional Government • Separation of Power • Federalism • Civil Rights • Majority Rule • Individualism • Human Dignity • Social Justice

  8. Multiple Goals • Detect, Apprehend, Convict, Incapacitate • Deter Potential Offenders • Create an Ordered Society

  9. Two Different Purposes • Control by “solving” crimes • Control by “preventing” crimes

  10. 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 behavior

  11. Preventing Crime • Preventing crime through these processes or other means • Forward looking, forecasting, forestalling future crimes by present interventions

  12. High arrest rates Charging the highest possible crimes Convicting offenders as charged Sentencing to maximum terms Arrest only under extreme conditions Direct violators to other agencies Charge only according to what is best for the person Use probation/community corrections for a short period of time Measures of Effectiveness

  13. 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?

  14. Approaches to Deterrence • Belief in the certainty of criminal justice process and reliance on the severity of consequences • System should be nearly invisible while having a belief that it is operating efficiently • Prevention of opportunities

  15. 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

  16. 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 expansion • System maintenance concerns are important factors in understanding the way the CJS operates and provide a basis for change

  17. 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

  18. Functions Differ – but regardless of goals rests on governmental authority – it is a “legal” system • Law Enforcement • Prosecutorial/Defense • Trial Court • Corrections

  19. Law Enforcement Functions • Enforce Laws • Maintain Order • Provide Services • Enforce Convenience Norms

  20. Sources of Authority Differ • Legislative • Executive • Judicial (Appellate Courts) • Administrative

  21. Authorities • Crimes are defined by legislation • Executive branch functions primarily to initiate legislation, appoint administrators and propose budgets • 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

  22. Differ in Structure • Distinctness of agencies and offices – non-interchangeable personnel • Separate, unrelated budgets • Differing, jurisdictional boundaries – e.g not one police agency

  23. 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 process

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