History Of Criminal Justice Essay

1514 words - 6 pages

History of Criminal JusticeBarbara J. GambrellTrident University InternationalCJA302- Criminal JusticeSpring/Summer 2014Module 1: History of Criminal JusticeProfessor KnoxApril 21, 2014Distinguish the characteristics of a modern criminal justice system.Discuss concepts related to the evolution of theories of crime and punishment.In your opinion, what is the most significant event in the development of policing systems? Justify your position.Criminal justice is a process, involving a series of steps beginning with a criminal investigation and ending with the release of a convicted offender from correctional supervision. Rules and decision making are at the center of this process. Sources of rules in criminal justice include the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, state constitutions, the U.S. Code, state codes, court decisions, federal rules of criminal procedure, state rules of criminal procedure, and department and agency rules and regulations. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, for example, govern the procedure in all criminal proceedings in courts of the United States. (Houghton; Mifflin; Harcourt, 2013) The workings of the criminal justice system have four major characteristics, (1) discretion, (2) resource dependence (3) sequential task, and (4) filtering.DiscretionAll levels of the justice filtering reflect a high degree of discretion. This term refers to official's freedom to act according to their judgment and conscience. For example, police officers decide how to handle a crime situation, prosecutors decide which charges to file, judges decide how long a sentence will be, and parole boards decide when an offender may be released from prison.The extent of such discretion may seem odd, given that the United States is ruled by law and has created procedures to ensure that decisions are made in accordance with law. Criminal justice is a system in which actors may take many factors into account and exercises many options as they dispose of a case.Two arguments are often made to justify discretion in the criminal justice system. First discretion is needed because the system lacks the resources to treat every case the same way. If every violation of the law were pursued from investigation through trial, the cost would be immense. Second many officials believe that discretion permits them to achieve greater justice than rigid rules would produce. (Cole, Smith, & Dejong, 2012)Resource DependenceCriminal justice agencies do not generate their own resources but depend on other agencies for funding. Therefore, actors in the system; i.e. police, prosecutors, judges or magistrates and correctional officials must cultivate and maintain good relations with those who allocate resources. These individuals are political decision makers, such as legislators, mayors and city council members. Some police departments gain revenue through traffic fines and property forfeitures, but these sources cannot sustain their budgets.Because budget decisions...

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