|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Criminal law Police Criminal justice|
Criminology is defined as the scientific study of crime as a social phenomenon which is, the actions, policies, and functions of the agencies within the system of criminal justice charged with addressing this behavior. Criminal justice is arguably one of the essential parts of society in the world today. Law enforcers play the most basic task in this world, which in overall means keeping law and order. There are several theoretical infrastructures available that try to explain the concept of criminal justice in an effort to make people understand the necessity of the complex process involved in serving justice to the society
There is an assumption that most theories about criminology are more interested in explaining the reasons for crime and not how to fight it. These theories have, however, played a considerable part in helping us understand the models and complexity of criminal justice. One of such theories is the Labeling Theory, which emphases on discernments of criminal behavior rather than focusing on the behavior itself. Cultural Deviance Theory is established on the assumption that some followers of a specific subcultures acclimatize to the values and customs of the subculture they become from. Choice Theory states that the weight of choice about whether to commit a crime lies with the individual.
Apart from these theories, other models help explain the discipline of criminology. They include the criminal justice model. The model emphasizes on the right of the community to be protected from violent criminals and crime. Other models of criminal justice include the Conflict Model. The model asserts that the criminal law content is determined by the assemblies that hold economic, social and political power in a community. Social Disorganization Theory that believes social institutions such as systems of criminal justice, schools and families are most likely to inspire either good or bad characters according to the way they exercise their control over the people.
The process of criminal justice is described to resemble a funnel, which explains its resemblance to the funnel; wide at the top and narrower at the bottom. In the primary stages, there are many cases, which decreases as judges and jurors drop cases from the process. This is because some of then cases are discarded, while others are adviced to take treatment alternatives or to undergo counseling. The current process of criminal justice is effective as seen by the way it has reduced the number of cases to a considerably small average of cases that have to be solved by trial or incarceration. The process has helped reduce the number if incinerated people. There is however, a misconception of the funnel process is that it is responsible for letting criminals off. This argument is nevertheless disqualified since most cases are often dropped, or pleas are bargained as a result of insufficient evidence.
The process of the criminal justice process begins with the investigation of a crime which starts when police become aware of suspected criminal activity. After a crime is suspected, police might need to gather more information by conducting interviews with witnesses, collecting physical evidence, and in some cases taking photographs and videos to aid their investigation. The police can arrest a suspect for a crime if there's probable cause or there's a warrant for the person's arrest. The formal criminal justice process begins with the filing of a criminal charge through a piece of information or a grand jury indictment. At this stage, a prosecutor explains the law to the jury, presents evidence, and the grand jury votes on whether there's enough evidence to indict the person suspected of committing the crime. Arraignment is the first court appearance. Here the judge advises typically the defendant of the charges, the maximum and minimum penalties, and specific constitutional rights that all criminal defendants are afforded. Defendants who are released are bound to agree with given the terms of the court.
The next step in this process is the Preliminary Hearing where a judge determines whether enough evidence to support the charges against the defendant. The judge can either decide to proceed the case to trial or dismisses the charges. The next stage is a plea hearing, which is the next court appearance. Many cases are resolved here through bargaining. However, it is a constitutional right for criminal defendants to a jury trial. A jury trial begins by selecting six to 12 jurors from a pool of potential jurors. These jurors will then decide the case. In cases where the defendant pleads guilty, or the jury finds the defendant guilty, the next court appearance, the sentencing hearing, is then scheduled. Here, the judge decides the sentence within the allowable range under the law.
The criminal justice system is a collection of agencies, either federal, state, or the local public that are charged with curbing crime. The primary model of the system is made up of the legislative, judicial, and executive units of government. These units are accused of various roles in the Criminal Justice System. The legislature defines crimes, fixes sentences, and funds criminal justice institutions. The judiciary makes judgments and pronounces the guilt of people that have been accused. The executive branch gives power to the mayors, governors, and the president. Concerning matters of law, they have the power to appoint judges, police chiefs and directors of correctional departments.
The criminal justice system has however not gone short of its share of controversies in the society today. Some of the most severe issues that the system has faced include the criminalization vs. legalization of drug use. Some people argue that the most effective way to reduce drug use is by criminalizing it further. Most of these drugs had always been illegal in the United States. However, the recent past events have displayed a change in the fight against drug abuse, with drugs such as marijuana being legalized in the United States among other countries. This has left many wondering whether the justice system has softened up to the issue of drug abuse. There are growing concerns about a large number of inmates in the correctional institutions, as a result of the criminal justice system which has been accused of too many incineration. Another issue facing the system is the dissatisfaction among people about the arrest rates of minorities, especially young African-Americans, Most which are for relatively minor infractions as seen by recent cases. The Death Penalty is another issue that has faced a lot of criticism and opposition, including in the United States of America, which is one of the few countries that still upholds the death sentence. Most people argue that it is not effective in the fight against crime.
As much as most of these issues are based on actual events, it is without a doubt that the current criminal justice system has seen much success in controlling crime. The system has reduced the number of crime rates in some states which is a great achievement, given the growing complexity of crimes such as cybercrime. It is therefore fair to state that the system has not failed yet in delivering justice and maintaining order, which is its essential tasks.
Blumstein, A., & Larson, R. (1969). Models of a total criminal justice system. Operations Research, 17, 199-232.
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