The Criminal Justice System
After speaking with several different individuals, I think the reason I chose to use the responses and thoughts of Alissa C. in my paper is because she had straight yes and no answers with thoughtful explanations, and she had very few "I don't know" or "maybe" type answers. Alissa C. seemed genuinely concerned about the state of the criminal justice system and, obviously, had given it a great deal of thought over time.
I advised Alissa C. that my inquiry would cover the issues of police, the court system and our correctional system. As an afterthought, I also told her I would like her thoughts on gun control.
I asked Alissa C. if she felt safe in her home, her place of employment, and any travels she might undertake. Alissa C. advised me that in the last year, she had been the victim of a recent crime in which her home was broken into -- while she was in bed asleep. The robber took her purse (containing her wallet, keys, credit cards, etc.), TV, VCR, stereo, and compact discs. The robber used her keys to steal her car. Alissa C. advised that while it was a traumatic experience and she had all of her locks changed and doesn't leave her downstairs windows open anymore -- she isn't terrified by any means. She advised that the Springfield Police Department did an excellent job and recovered her vehicle within a few days. Alissa C. advised that she isn't afraid to go out with her friends or for a walk in the park or to get in her car and take a trip. Alissa C. indicated that the police officers do the best job they can with the manpower and resources at their disposal. Given the amount of crime on the streets today, she indicated that the police officers have their hands full. Her confidence in the police remains strong, since, the police are the "dam" that keeps the "flood of crime" from totally washing us all away down the river.
I next put our court system in front of Alissa C. and asked her about her basic knowledge of the workings of the court system. She seemed quite knowledgeable of the divisions and levels of our court system. Alissa C. knew the difference between small claims, civil, probate, family, etc.) and criminal divisions, and indicated that she knew there was state court, federal courts and different levels of appeals, such as Illinois Appellate Courts, U.S. Court of Appeals, Illinois Supreme Court and on up the ladder.
I asked her if she felt our court system was sufficient. She appeared a bit agitated over that question and indicated that the courts work as well as the laws allow. She stated her knowledge of the court system was as follows: a criminal commits a crime, the criminal gets arrested, the criminal obtains a lawyer or is assigned a public defender, the case is prepared for trial by lawyers researching case law, etc., case is presented to a judge and jury, jury decides the issues and renders a verdict. Alissa C. was adamant that if a person commits a crime that they should be...