Criminal Justice Essay Sample for Free Download

Published: 2018-07-13
Criminal Justice Essay Sample for Free Download
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Policy Criminal justice
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1238 words
11 min read

How Goals Of The Criminal Justice System Can Impact Public Policies

Criminal Justice is defined by a group of agencies and processes created by the government with the motive of ensuring crime supervision. The US has many systems of criminal justice each of which acts independently depending on the state and the jurisdiction controlled. The systems primarily differ in processes of enhancing justice, prioritized crime management division, rule and regulations, and agencies. Criminal Justice systems are, therefore, driven by a set of goals such as rehabilitation, deterrence, incapacitation, pragmatism and punishment. This paper discusses some of the goals and how they affect public policies (Marion et al. 2012).

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The first major role of Criminal Justice is the punishment of the guilty by the law. Punishment by law means the infliction of lawful penalties to act as a payback to an offense committed by an individual. Legal punishments vary depending on the level of the crime committed ranging from minor fines to death penalties. The criminal justice systems have a defined set of discipline procedures to be followed in prosecution (Burns, 2007). However, punishment can only be imposed after an offender has been proven guilty of an offense.

Punishment, therefore, has a significant impact on public policies. A public policy outlines all the laws and regulations within a system, and the possible punishment procedures for the law abused. Public policy should be enacted in each society to direct the criminal justice on lawful punishments to related crime. Otherwise, the ability of public policy to combat crime would be crippled. Punishment equally gives crime victims an assurance of justice on the offenses committed to them which is also by the public policy on criminal justice.

Another objective of the criminal justice is rehabilitation. The goal focuses on reinstating a convict to becoming a useful member of society. The convict is, through a jail system, trained and directed on better ways of living and so to curb the chances of the criminal repeating the same offense or committing other crimes. Rehabilitation considerably affects public policy guide on national management of the offense. People can better understand and apply public policies through rehabilitation. Public policy observes the public acceptance of all members of society. Rehabilitation aims at reforming perpetrators to become useful and welcomed to their societies (Burns, 2007). Failure to observe rehabilitation of convicts would lead reforms to public policies meant to restore justice in society.

The third goal of criminal justice is either a particular or generalized deterrence. Criminal justice systems perform deterrence in a manner that will discourage individuals from committing a crime. The systems use punishments and consequences as a method of deterring members of society from committing a crime. Deterrence can be applied to a particular individual to society in general. Criminal justice can also use deterrence by education people the effects of a felony to the society. For that matter, deterrence impacts public policy by educating the public on the right behavior that will promote social norms. Deterrence creates awareness among members of a society on the effects of crime and related activities. Successful deterrence practices will see a community with minimum felony cases (Burns, 2007).

Criminal Justice, therefore, has a significant importance in promoting public policy. Proper implementation of criminal justice goals can favor a society with few cases of offense and victimization. Observation of these goals positively impact social justice and hence public policy

Concepts of Substantive and Symbolic Policies and Criminal Justice Public Policy

Sustentative policies are written expressions that clarify an institution’s opinions of a constitutional decision. They may also be approaches to institutional practices and regulations that require judicial decisions. The policy illustrates responsibilities and rights in social law and punishment and crimes in judicial law. Substantive policies include a number of rules on how society members should behave. The substantive policy is a law that covers all sets of private and public laws including the criminal law (Marion et al. 2012). For instance, in the US, the criminal system identifies given characters as illegal and points out the evidence the government must provide to charge an offender of a felony. However, the rights of a convict that are covered under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to the Unites States Constitution form part of a branch of Criminal procedural justice (Houston et al. 2008). Substantive policy in the US comes from legislative statutes and the common law.

Symbolic policy, on the other hand, is a system that gives a definition and reflection on social values and sustains government standards. A symbolic policy at times forms a basis of material or substantive policy. The policy reflects and characterizes social norms and preserves legislative principles (Marion et al. 2012).The system at times lacks substantial effects on the people, and its legislation requires no capital. Politicians use symbolic policy to address issues affecting the society so as to gain more votes and support (Houston et al. 2008).

A symbolic policy has a minor material effect on the society. They are associated with no tangible importance or draw drawbacks. Substantial policy, on the other hand, presents either materialized power or tangible resources to the society. The policy can also impose real shortcomings to the beneficiaries. The agenda of symbolic politics is useful in the development of baseless assumptions on the equity of crime. In political stages, some politicians can demand harsh reactions such hanging of individuals with death penalties.

This may, however, not work for public policy which upholds respect to human life. In most cases, people in political gatherings tend to implement symbolic policies which may not have a material impact to those involved. A symbolic policy is thus an ordinary speech with no value whatsoever unless acted upon by the legislature. Substantive policy, however, stands for statements that require action. Society members, for example, can benefit from court orders to jail offenders within the community thereby implementing the public policy (Houston et al. 2008). Substantive policies are, nevertheless, associated with vital changes in their actual practice as well as long-term commitments and undertakings.

Symbolic policies mostly do not bring about the effect they seem to be communicating since most activities passed cannot be implemented physically. For example, symbolic policies may address social injustices, peace or patriotism. However, symbolic policies can be used as a venture into substantive development. For example, demonstrations against tree cutting for timber can call for robust measures as the trees act as habitats for endangered animal species like the spotted owl and the red-cocked woodpecker. Such campaign will significantly affect public policy and social norms (Houston et al. 2008).

Substantive and Symbolic policies have major impacts on public policy. The decisions made in symbolic policy will typically affect how people related despite its lack of tangible impact. Some symbolic policies can also act as pathways to substantive reactions and social justice. Material policies mostly have a direct impact on the society as they call for reliable implementation and public participation. Like a policy on criminal arrest would positively impact the justice of the victim.


Burns, R. (2007). The Criminal Justice System. Upper Saddle River, NewJersy.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Houston, J., G. Bridgmon, P., B. & Parsons, W., W. (2008). Criminal Justice and the Policy Process. University Press of America, p.1-66.

Marion, N. E., & Oliver, W. M. (2012). The public policy of crime and criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

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