This chapter begins with the analysis of criminal justice system in America. The authors explains that the criminal justice system should be reviewed so as to enable people understand the reason as to why crime activities still persist despite the several attempts to stop it. The authors argue that crime and justice involves more parties than what people normally know; the police and the robbers. It involves identifying and being familiar with the legal codes and the punishments given when someone breaks the law. It involves clear and deep understanding of what the law contains and applying it. Some of the issues raised in this chapter of the book include; crime and justice as a public policy issues. As the authors explain in chapter 1, part I of the book, it is very difficult to identify who is responsible for addressing the crime and justice issues in a society. Authors argue that the answer to this question lies with the societal set up and its leadership.
The authors argue that the government has a major part to play in enacting and implementing the criminal and justice policies in a country. Regions which are neglected by the government are mostly to suffer from lack of proper criminal justice system. As the authors explains in the book, historically the government concentrated their attention to the densely populated and neglected the sparsely regions. Criminal activities in these regions increased because they were considered private properties owned by the natives. In these regions when a criminal activity occurs, the only solution which the offended could think of is to revenge back to the offender. This however did not provide solution to the problem but rather it increased it more. Enhancing the criminal justice system is difficult because the public policies are left with the public to decide on. As the authors argue in the book, this has made it more difficult to reduce the criminal justice system because the liberty policy contradicts the other side of public opinion. The book suggests that in order to improve the criminal justice system in America, the following recommendations should be adopted by the policy makers. First, a correction system should be established which protects and promotes human dignity. Secondly, there should be an effective and clear connection between the economic and social justice organs established.
The second issue discussed in this chapter of the book is the evidence based practices in the criminal justice system. According to the authors, dealing with crime case does not end at arresting, convicting and punishing the suspect but rather it goes to developing and implementing the policies which can deal with the root cause of the crime activities such as the gun control areas. This will help the criminal justice department gain control of the criminal activities in the region and reduce the crisis of crime in America. The world is almost taken over by criminal organizations such as drug trafficking organizations due to the reluctant nature of the police department. It is time for the law enforcement agencies to come up with a strategy which can ensure that this crisis is controlled. Some of the policies suggested by policy makers are not only going to affect the security operation system but also going to speed up the criminal activities. For instance, a question which we should ask ourselves is that what will happen if some of the illegal drugs such as marijuana are given legality to be sold openly in public? A debate has been going on for some time if this will impact the country and criminal activities negatively or positively. This issue should not be even discussed because either way the impact of the policy is not going to save the economy but kill it. If one says now that addictive drugs were allowed to be sold publicly, then where are we headed in terms of trying to control the illegal operations?
Crime and justice in democracy is another issue discussed in this chapter of the book. The authors argue that it is difficult to enforce the law which punish the criminals and at the same time protect their human rights. This argument brings contradiction in implementing the justice by the law enforcing agents. As the authors argue, it is contradicting to say that the law enforcing agencies should implement the justice and at the same time protect the democracy. This responsibility is contradicted even in the law which gives every citizen of the United States privilege to enjoy even if they are guilty. The law says that all people; both the guilty and the innocent have equal rights and their democratic rights should be considered and placed into considerations.
Crime control versus the due process is another issue raised in the book. The authors argue that appropriate effort must be placed to try and reduce the crime cases. There are theories involved in this case; order as a value which gives emphasis on the efficiency and the capacity to arrest, convict and punish criminals. This model advocates for better prosecution approaches. The model suggests that prosecutors should make clear and proper approaches to cases. The second model is law as a value which advocates for effective provision of information in the decision making process. The model suggests that for a person to be convicted and charged as a criminal there must be substantial evidence found against him/her.
This chapter also discusses the relationship between politics and justice implementation. The authors argue that policy makers who are politicians in this case make laws which suit their interest which is to convince the public/voters. It is important for the policy makers to weigh the balance and approach the issue with great concern because what they pass as a law affects the entire country. The following are the lesson I learnt from the chapter; the law enforcement organs still have huge task in reducing the crime rate in America. Secondly, politics have tremendous impacts on the law enactment and implementation. It a responsibility of every citizen to participate in the implementation of criminal justice and help fight crime in a country. Convicting someone should be based on serious evidence which has been collected through thorough investigation
Chapter two: Victimization and criminal behavior
Chapter two of this book involves survey of who are normally victimized in crime. Authors argue that research has shown that it is mostly the African-American teenagers who get victimized a lot for crime activities in the U.S. most of the criminal activities are associated with the African-American teenagers and young adults because of the region they stay. Most of the people who suffer crime activities are the African-American. The life style of life and living conditions also influences the crime activities. According to the authors, it is believed that most of the crime activities in the U.S are carried out by those from low economic backgrounds. Some of the issues raised in this chapter include;
The impacts of crime; as the authors explain crime is not something small to be ignored because it affects the whole society. One may not see it physically but in one way or the other people who have not participated in the criminal acts also pay for the crimes they never committed. The authors argue that the whole society suffers through high taxation and increase in prices of commodities and living in fear. The chapter also examines the experience of the victims in the criminal justice system. The main aim of criminal justice system is to find the offenders and punish them. However, after they are arrested, convicted and punished they are forgotten. The process of implementing justice is very demanding. Those who have undergone through the process claim that it is very demanding and sometimes it spends most of their time to attend the cases. Role of the victims in the crime is another issue raised in implementation of criminal justice policies. The authors argue that most of the victims of the crime are the ones aiding the criminal activities. The faults of most crime are placed on the victims and not the offenders. For instance, when someone leaves car keys in the car and someone come and takes the car away, the owner of the car is to be blamed for leaving the car keys in the car. Causes of crime are also discussed in the chapter. The causes of crime are explained with the use of two theories; classical and positivist theories. The classical theory associates criminal behavior with the supernatural factors. This school of thought argues that criminal mind is influenced by evil spirits which forces someone to engage in criminal acts. There is also some other various causes of crime which has been suggested. For example, psychopathology is one of the causes believed to be driving people to criminal activities because they can no longer control their impulses. Psychopathologists argue that people engage in criminal activities because they are not themselves.
The psychological and sociological theories explaining the causes of crime are sound because sometimes someone can act without his conscious mind aware of it. History explains that someone can commit a crime because he is not in control of his body and the conscious mind. The sociological theory explains that people can be influenced into doing something bad by the environment they grow in or by people they interact with. These two theories are sound and effective in explaining the causes of crime. Environment and its surrounding factors contribute a lot to shaping behavior of someone. The psychological theory is an example of positivist theory of crime causation. People moved from the classical theories to positivists theory because, positivists tend to give more and clear understanding of crime causation through critical observation of human behavior. The theory focuses more on the biological and psychological set up of someone. The social conflict theory explains that the poor are more likely to be victimized by crime. In this chapter I have learnt the following; environment one grows in shapes his/her behavior. If someone lives in a neighborhood where there are criminal activities, it is more likely for that person to get influenced into crime. Secondly, criminal activities are associated by men because most of the criminal activities are associated with men than women. Another lesson I have learnt in this chapter is that it is not good to blame those who involve in criminal activities and live the victims. When one walks on the street known to have criminals and then he gets caught in on in the crime, he should be blamed too because it is something he could have controlled but he did not. Another lesson learnt is that everyone has a role to play in reducing or fighting criminal activities in the society. Therefore, it requires corporation from the public to the law enforcing agencies.
In conclusion, this paper has reviewed the book The American system of criminal justice by Christina Dejong, Christopher E. Smith and George F. Cole. The paper has examined and analyzed the major issues raised in chapter 1 and 2 of the book.
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