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Cja/204 Week 1 Individual Paper

Criminal Justice System CJA/204 July 25, 2011 Criminal Justice System Crime is a part of society’s daily routine. Crime can directly affect a person, place, or any witnesses of the said incident. Crime is defined as “conduct in violation of the criminal laws of the state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction, for which there is no legally acceptable justification or excuse. ” (Defining Crime, 2011) Crime is usually categorized as either a property or personal crime. Personal crimes include crimes of violence such as murder and robbery.

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With a personal crime you will have a perpetrator and a victim. Property crimes are just that, crimes against a piece of property where there is no use or threat of force against a person. The most common crime types are violent crimes, white collar and corporate crime, organized crime, and victimless crime. The first line of defense against crime lays with law enforcement personnel. Law enforcement is the first part of what makes up our criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has three main components including police, courts, and corrections.

Police have an unending battle against crime, drugs, and other forms of social dysfunction. The police main duty is to protect the public; however the relationship between law enforcement and the public community is sometimes troubled. Some of the duties of law enforcement are to investigate law violations, gather evidence, make arrests, solve crimes, and then assist with the successful prosecution of suspects. Upon the law enforcement officer making an arrest the case is then presented to the court system.

The district attorney office handles most cases of the criminal nature, besides some misdemeanor crimes such as minor traffic violations. Law enforcement usually develop a good working relationship with their local district attorney’s office which promotes quality officer related testimony and helps to lead to the successful prosecution of suspects. All suspects however are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Additionally, the accused have certain rights that must be adhered to. The include the right to speedy trial, the right to legal counsel, the right against self incrimination, the right not to be ried twice for the same crime, the right to know their charges, the right to have witnesses cross examined, and the right against excessive bail being placed. The court system is where an accused person is either convicted of the accused crime or found not guilty. There are many different levels of courts in the United States, but they all dispense justice and help ensure that officials in the justice system follow the law when conducting their duties. There are two types of courts that operate in our justice system including state courts and federal courts.

Federal courts handle violations of federal law while state courts handle crimes against the state. The state has two different types of court proceedings, one being a trial court and the other an appellate court if an appeal is filed. The federal court system consists of United States district court, U. S. Court of Appeals, and the U. S. Supreme Court. The court system usually consists of a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, an unbiased judge, and occasionally a jury who renders a verdict for if a jury trial was elected.

Upon a conviction in either the state or federal court system, the defendant is then processed into the corrections department of the criminal justice system. For federal crimes the convicted will be placed in a federal correctional institution and in state institutions for crimes against the state. Once a person has been arrested, tried, and sentenced, the correctional process begins. America’s correctional system includes jails, prisons, parole, probation and other forms of sentencing imposed.

The corrections department is also responsible for the care and safety of the inmates that they house. Correctional officers are the correctional system’s front line. They are responsible for the supervision and safety of all housed inmates. This task can be very demanding and risky. Correctional officers have to deal first hand with violent offenders, some of whom are serving life sentences and do not worry about repercussions from an incident with a correctional officer. Upon completion of a sentence, an inmate is released back into society under the supervision of a parole officer.

This officer is responsible for keeping track of the individual and ensuring compliance of any probation requirements. If an individual on probation violates any form of their parole it usually results with them being sent back to prison. This can prove to be a constant cycle with some individuals who can not adapt and conform to society. The criminal justice system is ultimately responsible for the prosecution and confinement of criminals, the upholding of state and federal laws, and the equal rights to accused suspects with a right to a fair trial.

The system is responsible for the rehabilitation of convicted criminals and to reinsert them back into society when appropriate while monitoring their progress. For many, this cycle is constantly repeating itself and causing America’s justice system to become over populated and back logged resulting in the lack of appropriate case handling and prosecution of some individuals. Unless there are drastic changes to today’s justice system, this trend will continue. Reference Defining Crime. (2011). Retrieved from http://media. pearsoncmg. com


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