Criminal Justice Organization and Administration

What is the criminal justice system? This article discusses the different roles of law enforcement, courts and corrections in the criminal justice system.

Criminal justice pertains to the government’s system of practices and institutions that are intended to promote justice for all. This is achieved by meting just punishment to the guilty and give them a chance to rehabilitate at the same time safeguard the innocent. It also accomplish the orders of the court, such as imposing fines, and overlooking punishment.

Criminal Justice System

There are three main bodies that make up the criminal justice system. These are: 1). law enforcement or police, 2). Courts or adjudication and 3). Corrections or rehabilitation. Two essential groups represent individuals in the criminal justice system which are the police and the district attorneys.

Policing

According to WODC ( Research and Documentation Centre), Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands - in the criminal justice system, the main task of the police force is to implement law and order. They also provide aid to those in need. Enforcement of legal order requires police officers to impose criminal law, public order and judicial services. In line with their duties, the police are conferred with particular statutory powers such as ability to make arrests, take police custody and confiscate goods. The police is allowed to use coercion while carrying out police tasks. Limited invasions of a person’s privacy by policemen are also allowed such as conducting surveillance or taking pictures if needed for the investigation.

Courts

The court plays an important role of setting disputes and meting out sentences. In criminal justice, a critical group of people overlook the administration of justice. This group is comprised of judge, prosecutor and defense attorney. The judge plays the most critical part since he or she will dispense the final decision regarding the case.

Courts in the US use the adversarial system to determine the erring party. In this system, two opposing parties would provide their versions of the truth and present pertinent evidences. The case is won by whoever presents the most compelling arguments. 

The prosecutor or district attorney brings the complaint to court. On the opposing side is the defense attorney who represents the accused in a criminal proceeding. The defense counsel challenges the proofs provided by the prosecutor and defend the client against the accusations.

Corrections

Once the court found the accused guilty as charged, the offender is turned over to correctional officers. The most popular form of punishment for the convict is prison.

Prison serves a number of purposes. The primary purpose is to effectively remove the offender from the community, preventing him or her to commit more crimes. It also provides a degree of discomfort to the offender at par to the discomfort or harm they caused the victim, in particular or society, in general.

Prison is also a place where criminals have a chance to rehabilitate. Modern prison systems allow offenders to pursue further studies, learn crafts and trades or undergo job training to enable them to become productive members of society once they leave prison. Religious institutions also make their presence felt in prisons in order to inculcate ethics and morality in inmates.

Other forms of punishment that may be meted to offenders include monetary fines, probation, house arrest and community services. Some offenders pay fines as reparation for the damages they have done. Probation and house arrest curtail a person’s movement without requiring the offender to go to prison. For lesser offenses such as littering or drunk driving, community service would suffice.

The criminal justice system as a whole is an amalgamation of the functions of these three organizations – law enforcement, court and correctional. The administration of criminal justice requires synchronicity among the three agencies in order to effectively preserve law and order in the society.

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