Criminal Justice System Paper

2630 words - 11 pages

The criminal justice system in the United States is multifaceted and is best understood when dissected into individual parts. There are the components of the criminal justice system, classifications for crime, due process, types of punishment and the process of the criminal justice system, all of which only scratch the surface. When studying and working in the criminal justice field it is important to remember that without each part of this system many of the freedoms and rights citizens take for granted every day could not be enforced. Even more important to remember, as annoying as it is sometimes, no law is too infinitesimal to be enforced because without even the smallest ...view middle of the document...

By enforcing the law, writing tickets and citations, arresting offenders and ensuring community safety police protect the fundamental rights of its citizens and maintain public order (Schmalleger, 2008).
Once the police investigate a crime, collect evidence and apprehend the offender the criminal courts take over. The criminal court’s responsibilities are; to conduct fair and unbiased trials, decided verdict in criminal cases, guarantee due process of law, impose sentences on those found guilty, uphold the law, require fairness throughout an offender’s journey in the criminal justice system, protect the rights and freedoms of those facing processing and to provide a check on the other agencies of the criminal justice system and their use of power (Schmalleger, 2008). The court system conduct fair and unbiased trials by guaranteeing due process of law as well as deciding what will be presented before a jury (Schmalleger, 2008). When imposing sentences on those found guilty, the courts uphold due process as well as an offender’s fundamental rights and freedoms by imposing no more than the specified maximum punishment as laid out by law (Schmalleger, 2008). The courts enforce due process by hearing from both the prosecution and the defense on the events of the case and making sure the offender is not held longer than necessary in jail while awaiting trial (Schmalleger, 2008). When checking up on other criminal justice agencies and their use of power, the courts look at the collection of evidence, the treatment of the accused and offenders as well as complaints against individual actors in the criminal justice system to ensure no one is stepping over his or her bounds as laid out by law (Schmalleger, 2008).
Once the offender has been arrested and convicted in a court of law the next component of the criminal justice system takes over, correctional facilities. Correctional facilities carry out sentences imposed by the courts, provide safe and humane supervision of offenders, rehabilitate, reform and reintegrate offenders back into society and respect the legal and human right those convicted and under the supervision of corrections staff (Schmalleger, 2008). Sentences are carried out by corrections staff by either housing convicts in jail, prison or checking up with the convicts through a probation officers (Schmalleger, 2008). When being housed in jail or prison, corrections staff maintain the offender’s safety by protecting at-risk criminals from the general population, preventing and impeding fights between prisoners and fulfilling a convicts recreational, educational and basic needs, which includes work programs, outdoor or gym time, books, high school or higher education, bathing facilities and three meals a day (Schmalleger, 2008). If an offender is on probation, the probation officers makes sure the offender has a job or is looking for a job, has a place to staff as well as providing resources of assistances for the offender (Schmalleger,...

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