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Criminal Justice System

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Criminal Justice System
Leta McDaniel
CJA/204
December 3rd 2012

Criminal Justice System Crime is any act that violates laws made by the majority of society. In other words any act that violates state, local or federal laws and has no justification or excuse that can be used (Schmalleger, ch.1 pg.7 (2011).
The Consensus Model assumes that the pieces that make up the criminal justice system work properly together to deliver justice. The Conflict Model says that the system does not work together but rather each agency works to serve its own purpose selfishly (Schmalleger, ch.1 pg.16 (2011). The Criminal justice system is a group of federal, state, and local agencies that deal with crime. These groups handle suspects, defendants, and people who have already been convicted of a crime. These agencies work together as the decisions of one agency affect others. The system consists of different branches of government, police, courts, and corrections. The primary function of these components is to enforce the law, maintain public order, and protect people from injustice. These components work together to see that justice is served (Schmalleger, ch.1 pg.16 (2011).
Police work to uphold the law by questioning witnesses and suspects and apprehending perpetrators. They also work to keep the peace, protect the rights of citizens, and keep them safe. When a suspect is apprehended the police deliver the suspect to a city or county jail where they are detained until they either post bail or see a judge of the court, depending on the severity of the crime. The court will decide what action will be taken in each case. Sometimes this procedure includes a trial where a jury of one’s peers decides whether the suspect (defendant) must be incarcerated, put on probation or found innocent. When a defendant is incarcerated the department of corrections takes over, and they pay for his or her crime by doing time in either a county jail or a state or federal prison. All three components are set up to ensure that justice is served (Schmalleger, ch.1 pg.17 (2011).
Choice Theories or rational choice theories explain the desire to satisfy needs for survival; fun, to belong, freedom, power, and a connection to others. These desires drive people to make choices sometimes even bad choices that will make sure their desires are satisfied whereas some individuals go to work and earn what they have. Most people show love and affection to gain belonging, and a connection to other people but some steal, lie, and cheat. Sometimes people even inflict pain or worse on others to fulfill their needs if the need outweighs the consequences (Schmalleger, ch.3 pg. 82 (2011).
The goals of the criminal justice system are to deter people from committing crime through fear of the consequences and retribution, which requires the perpetrator to pay a debt to society and their victims. Restoring the victim to their whole selves again is another goal along with incapacitating criminals by incarcerating them, and trying to rehabilitate criminals so they will not offend again (Schmalleger, ch.1 interactive (2011).
Ideally the criminal justice system is put in place to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. In my opinion it is a system because one process leads to another and so forth. Its kind of like a factory where each process leads to the next until the final touches are put in place. Sometimes injustice happens and as with any system, there are breakdowns and mistakes made. However, it is an important component of society and much needed, without it we would be uncivilized.
Much of the problem with the justice system is that each agency has trouble sharing territory and often overstep boundaries or is unsure where those boundaries lie. The state and local agencies seem to resent it when the feds come into the picture and the local agencies do not want the state stepping on their toes. It seems that each wants to have their own lime light so they may look good. Unfortunately, in these cases they tend to forget about the victims and their families. Ultimately victims as well as society suffer (Schmalleger, ch.1 interactive (2011).
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“References”
1. Schmalleger, F. (2011). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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