As evidenced in the previous discussions, law enforcement is the major task of the criminal justice system (CJS). Law enforcement entails the apprehension of suspected criminals, their trial in the courts of law, and subsequent incarceration and rehabilitation if found guilty. Other than the apprehension of lawbreakers, law enforcers are also charged with the maintenance of law and order in communities and establishing a sense of security to the people. Resources are required to sufficiently discharge these duties. This paper seeks to discuss the availability of resources for the criminal justice system and how it affects the roles of the agency.
Availability of Resources
Resources for the criminal justice system are drawn from various sources, both public and private. The Bryne JAG stands out as one of the primary sources of funding for both states and localities. The program funds various evidence-based practices throughout the criminal justice system. Created by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Acts of 1968, the program was amended in 2016 by the Justice For All Reauthorization Act (Lawrence, 2019). The law allows an allocation of up to $1.1 billion annually. However, this threshold has never been met. Allocation by the Congress peaked in 2002 at $830 million but has been on a decline ever since (Lawrence, 2019). The average has been around $350 million in recent years (Lawrence, 2019). A statutory formula based on crime statistics and population is used in the distribution of the funds. Other sources of federal funding include the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Corrections, among others. Some of the local and private sources of funds include Ford Foundation, KRA Foundation, among others. The criminal justice system in most of the states also collects its own revenue through criminal and civil fees, as well as fines. However, this system has been criticized for turning law enforcement into debt collecting, which is a departure from its roles. Also, the reliance on this revenue is inefficient and counter-productive (Simmons, 2016).
As insinuated in the previous section, the resources available for the criminal justice system are insufficient for the agency to adequately perform its roles. Moreover, various legislations by the current administration have also sought to reduce the funding further. For instance, the 2019 budget proposal sought to slash the Department of justice's budget meant for grant programs by 20% (Brennan Center for Justice, 2018). The budget also got rid of the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which had succeeded in incorporating best practices and enhancing police-community relations. The administration has also done little to support law enforcement in confronting the opioid crisis in the country. Funding for several other innovative programs has also been slashed. The ensuing shortfall in resources has affected all spheres of the criminal justice system. For instance, the reduction in legal aids has affected representation, a factor that has led to high rates of incarceration, especially among the poor. Community policing, as well as programs meant to rehabilitate offenders, have also been affected.
Supports for the Current Role or Level of Involvement
The above discussion has shown that community policing and implementation of innovative strategies have adversely been affected by the budget cuts. This notwithstanding, these strategies are effective in crime prevention, as well as in other spheres of the criminal justice system. The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing launched in 2014 found out that collaboration between law enforcement and local communities played a significant role in the reduction of crime and the creation of trust. A study funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation determined that community policing was one of the most promising ways of tackling crime in communities (Lum, Koper, Gill, Telep, & Robinson, 2016). This intervention can indirectly help address other challenges facing the CJS such as the high rate of incarceration. Another study sought to find out the effectiveness of the application of technology, particularly smartphones, in the CJS. Generally, the users recognized the value and importance of digitizing various work processes (Taniguchi & Gill, 2013). Therefore, the application of technology in CJS can help in addressing various challenges experienced in different segments of the system.
Data that Dictates a Change in The Role
Data from studies indicate that more investment in the CJS is critical in addressing the various gaps that exist. For instance, the reduction of funds meant for funding is bound to affect community policing practices. This, in turn, may erode the benefits that had been made in the reduction of crime. Therefore, there is a need to increase funding in this sector. The application of technology in CJS has also been hampered by various challenges. For instance, in the study presented above, the adoption of NearMe and FI app was minimal (Taniguchi & Gill, 2013). The complexity of the applications also kept off more users. As such, there is a need to invest more in the workforce to make the adoption of such technologies easier. Therefore, the bottom line is that the government must increase funding for the CJS.
Brennan Center for Justice. (2018, February 14). Trump's 2019 Budget Harms Criminal Justice. Retrieved from Brennan Center for Justice: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/trumps-2019-budget-harms-criminal-justice
Lawrence, A. (2019, May 8). Federal Criminal Justice Funding. Retrieved from National Conference of State Legislatures: https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/federal-criminal-justice-funding.aspx
Lum, C., Koper, C., Gill, C., Telep, C., & Robinson, L. (2016). An Evidence-Assessment of the Recommendations of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Retrieved from https://cebcp.org/wp-content/evidence-based-policing/IACP-GMU-Evidence-Assessment-Task-Force-FINAL.pdf
Simmons, R. (2016, July 12). How We Fund Our Criminal Justice System. Retrieved from Huffpost: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-we-fund-our-criminal_b_10949090?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAEckVMvZvGxP9hIS4myZmM11cGUtR-GR4_hNTZJPA3E_To7MDRpZdgaX3_VvPdSZK2ZgjIGrrw_lFpdnXnObupI33nb9FL2yqOas8dFN1MO
Taniguchi, T. A., & Gill, C. E. (2013). The Mobilization of Crime Mapping & Intelligence Gathering. Retrieved from https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/the-mobilization-of-crime-mapping-intelligence-gathering/
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