Criminal justice can include many aspects of involving the community. It is meant to enrich the lives of members of a community and restore victims' quality of life by reducing crime as well as encouraging opportunities for offenders to rehabilitate themselves back into society.
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Criminal justice is an extremely important, central component of our government. In the United States it allows for trials and imprisonment, but also rehabilitation and opportunity for all those wronged by crime. From law enforcement to the court system, criminal justice has multiple other components like non-prosecution agencies which can be used to study things like articles and research.
As America has grown in order to implement a better law enforcement system, it has manifested into one of the most progressive criminal justice systems. It’s been a compilation of moments that has led to what American law enforcement is today. Although American law still needs reforming, its current criminal justice system has helped make it one of the safest countries in the world.
The criminal justice system in the United States dates back to the 18th century when it was a rebellion against England. Now, through independence, the US gained true freedom and responsibility to serve and protect.
The criminal justice system can be defined as a set of judicial procedures for dealing with crime. It consists of three main aspects: law enforcement (police, sheriffs, marshals), adjudication (court proceedings), and corrections (prisons, probation, parole).
The American criminal justice system is unique because of the number of components that are able to work together in order to serve and protect individuals. There are also a number of organizations and human services agencies that help the general public within this country. This was not necessarily the case in earlier times when crime didn’t exist as it does now.
The first contact an offender has with the criminal justice system is when they are investigated by police, who make an arrest. Next, they go to the courts or to prison. If they have committed a crime against the state or federal government, they will be jailed in federal prisons. They can also be incarcerated on the state level.
The state of Pennsylvania implemented the first true prison system in America during the late 18th century. Inmates worked in groups during the day and were locked in their cells at night. Other states followed suit. There were two different prison systems common back then, each with its own set of rules and requirements. With this, they gained a reputation for combating crime and providing rehabilitation. The system was criticized back then; however, it did eventually transform into what we see today, with basic government changes being made like those brought on by the Civil Rights. Nowadays inmates could be seen getting rehabilitated through abilities that come from skills acquired while incarcerated such as education, training, etc., demonstrating just how much society has evolved.
While the United States has not fully eliminated the death sentence, it’s slowly diminishing. The country still puts up a fight internationally when they retain this punishment. From 2013-2015, “the number of executions fluctuated between 52 and 138 individuals” (Finley, 2016, p. 163). Additionally, The United States is moving further and further away from rehabilitation for these punishments in favor of short sentencing and even more strict sentences. While many in support of these anti-rehab measures argue that statistics show that these prisons work, others argue that this goes against the values of justice that we as Americans are meant to uphold.
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