Criminal justice system entails regulating peoples’ conduct with the intend of protecting the society and individuals. It includes all the regulations, measures and institutions of the justice system. All the parties involved in the justice system are under obligation to apply evenhandedness and equality while enforcing law.
Unless the country in question is authoritarian such that justice is only applied to the benefit of people who command authority in that country, observing fairness is vital because it can be used to access support from the public. According to Mark (2004), the criminal justice system is intended to regulate crime by arresting, prosecuting, convicting and punishing people who break the law.
The major challenge of criminal justice system is that it must be carried out within the set processes that dictate how system agencies should use to attain the objectives of the criminal justice system without violating individual rights. Enforcing law on law breakers is very important because it reduces the recurrence of the same kind of an offence.
There are several ways that can be used to avoid the occurrence of crime. New technologies have emerged to help us avoid the occurrence of crime by collecting evidence of guilt. According to Sharkey (2005), x-ray technology can be integrated into the security systems of an airport to screen passengers to check if they are carrying any weapons and drugs.
This technology was found to be very effective but most passengers felt very uncomfortable when being screened because they knew the monitoring officer of screening was viewing their naked body.
People can help in reducing the occurrence of crime by observing simple safety measures such as not walking into lonely areas alone and ensuring they lock the doors of their homes and cars. Crime can be avoided through cooperation of justice systems and the society at large. This does not mean that citizens can also enforce law by taking the law into their own hands; that is the obligation of justice officers.
The criminal justice system is made up of three divisions namely: police, courts, and corrections. The police act as vectors of movement through which information and people are brought on board the justice system. The police make arrests and collect evidence which is then forwarded to the courts for prosecution and judgment.
In most situations the success of a case relies on the accuracy of the police in collecting evidence. The efficiency of police in maintaining law and order have been hampered by their limited possessions. There are other factors that determine how the police issues related to crime. They include political beliefs, public demands and community context. Hess (2008) argues that the continuous police presence in residential areas and city streets can help in prevention of crime.
This point is true because the police cannot change the situations in life that tempt people to break the law. Thus, governments should put more effort to reduce unemployment and poverty which are the main reasons that cause people to break the law. The police response to crime is sometimes determined by the person who committed the crime such as age, race or ethnicity and social class.
The courts act as the central location where matters are solved and justice is applied for all without discrimination. There are three people in a courtroom who are considered important and they consist of the judge, prosecutor and the defense attorney.
The judge or the magistrate is an individual nominated because he is well-informed in law and his main role is to preside over court sessions and give a conclusion at the end of the hearing to set out of a case. In most countries innocence or guilt is proved by allowing the two sides that is the accuser and the accused to give their side of the story relating to the matter at hand before the magistrate or the jury. The party that will give the most resonance and convincing argument is favored according to the law as applied to details on the case.
The prosecutor is the person who files the charges against an individual or a business entity. The prosecutor is entitled to inform the court about the type of crime and also avail the proof that subjects the accused to punishment.
The prosecutor should not be misguided by the plaintiff who represents the accused because he is a civil servant and he represents the government in all court proceedings. The defense attorney advices the accused on the legal course of action, the possible results and suggests strategies. The accused is entitled to testify and consider a plea proposal or request for a jury trial.
It is the responsibility of the defense attorney to represent the welfare of the accused raise technical and evidentiary issues and grip the prosecution to its load of proving guilt further than a sensible uncertainty. Defense counsel may dispute the facts given by the prosecution or offer exculpatory facts and battle on the behalf of the accused. In some countries the accused is allowed to state-paid defense attorney if it is clear he is at risk of losing his life.
The final decision of whether the accused is innocent or guilty is made by the third party who is believed to be neutral. David (2002).argues that he final task is performed by a judge or a panel of jury that consists nationals of that state who are neutral. There are situations where a case may end without trial especially if the accused has confessed he/she is on the wrong side of the law. This makes it for verdict to be administered easily.
It is very common for trials to encounter criticism and unevenness. These malpractices are against the ethics of criminal justice system hence the legitimacy of the court will be tainted. Chambliss (2001) says that jury process has also been under rated due to lack of regulations against unjust verdict. There are also situations where justice has been denied because the judiciary system, police and the lawyers have been induced to give unjust verdict.
It goes without saying that once the accused has been guilty he or she is handed over to the corrections. Serving a jail sentence is used to make sure the criminal cannot commit further offence. It also serves as an equalizer for the trauma the criminal injected into his victim.
The other form of punishment is monetary fines which are imposed on the criminal and then handed over to the state or alternatively to the victim as compensation for any harm or damage of property caused.
Execution has been done away with in most countries because it is considered to be brutal (FBI, 2009). Some countries apply execution only when the offence committed is threatening. House arrest and probation are also applied on minor cases where the criminal is confined in his/her residence. This is done to prevent the movement of a criminal which can cause the criminal to commit more offence.
Therefore, prisons are supposed to give criminals an opportunity to reform. It is with this regard that many prisons have been equipped with learning materials. This ensures that once their jail term is over they will be able to earn a decent living. Religious organizations are also allowed to give guidance and counseling which aids the reform process. Hence, crime prevention requires the commitment of the legislative authority, the judicial system, the police, and the general public.
Chambliss, J.W. (2001).Power, Politics and Crime.Boulder. Boulder: Westview Press.
David, G. (2002).Of Crimes and Criminals. In Maguire, Mike, Rod Morgan, Robert Rainer. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
FBI. (2009).The FBI: A Centennial History, 1908-2008.Washington, D.C.FBI pp.138.
Mark, N. (2004).Fabricating Social Order. A Critical History of Police Power. London: Pluto Press.
Sharkey, J. (2005). Airport Screeners Could Get X-Rated X-Ray views. New York Times.