Benefits Of Police Discretion Essay

3057 words - 13 pages

The term discretion has several meanings the liberty to decide what should be done in a specific circumstance is one general universal definition. But when dealing with criminal justice and police work the description changes a bit. The criminal justice definition of discretion is Police discretion discusses the authority given to a police officer that allows him or her to decide how to best handle a certain situation. This is designed at increasing the flexibility of the criminal justice system as the punishment may not always be the suitable approach of dealing with crimes. Discretion may also permit a police officer to overlook a minor offense giving the offender a warning. But with ...view middle of the document...

The police will sometimes pity a situation and offer lectures or what a few officers that I rode along with call “free therapy session” to some offenders depending on these factors. The situation factor also play a big part when the police make a decision based on discretion. Some of the factors include how serious the crime is, the type of property that is involved in the crime. The police also become more official in the company of other people like the eye witness, an audience, or reporters and press. Last but not least the systems include factors in the society’s structures that come into play when the police exercise their discretion power.
Police will also sometimes show tolerance when the courts jails and prisons become overpopulated, and they also will be stricter when the city requires income. Once one understands the whole logic of police discretion one would want to know if such an idea can really have a positive impact on the community or not.
There are many advantages of practicing police discretion and the truth is that it ultimately allows the officer to treat people in a caring humane way giving them a second chance without putting them in the system, and improving on what the community and public thinks of the police. If the police were to follow the laws and use full enforcement, they will be seen as unfair by the society and the community would reject and rebel against them which is what is not needed and discretion is helpful with the relationship with the community. Another good thing about practicing police discretion is that it supports real life goals. By this I mean discretion takes into account the fact that the police are put in some unique situations in the field that may require their personal judgment depending on the situation.
Discretion is also needed for the criminal justice systems so it runs smooth and efficient. If the cops were to follow the law to the T the the criminal justice system would be overwhelmed and congested with the number of cases that will occur on a daily basis. Police discretion has also been said to promote self-sufficiency so the cops and community aren’t like robots to the laws. There are particular circumstances allowed to steer away for the law. Lastly police discretion promotes job fulfillment for the cops because they are allowed to use some powers which are provided from within the law.
There are also some negatives or disadvantages to police discretion. The drawbacks of police discretion mostly come down to abuse of the power to use discretion. Discretion has been seen to be one-sided and using unfair treatment in dealing with the population .From my personal experience of riding along with officers I too myself have seen that there are many opportunities to abuse the power that you have and use the unspoken law to your advantage like in Hollywood movies with officers not turning in all the drug money and keeping half as well as forming an opportunity for corruption. Another...

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