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Check Out Our Trends of the Criminal Justice System Essay

Criminal justice is a system that presupposes, first of all, a social control and prevention of a crime. It also protects those accused of a crime against unfair judgment and abuse of power. There are many organs that study, improve and develop criminal justice system. They are the police that provides safety and investigates crimes, lawyers that prosecute or defend people accused of a crime and of these people who render decisions or make laws, like the Supreme Court. President's commission on law enforcement and administration of justice (1967) states, that criminal justice system is created to “enforce the standards of conduct necessary to protect individuals and the community” (p. 7). It is important that criminal justice is always a goal. All people belonging to this system: lawyers, judges, prosecutors, defenders, police officers and others, have to swear an oath that they will always meet this goal. Otherwise they must be removed from their jobs, for good or severely punished. 

Today criminal justice system consists of three branches: legislative, adjudication and corrections. Legislative branch creates laws; adjudication deals with cases and investigations; and to corrections belong prisons, probation and parole. These three systems work together under the rule of law.

Formation of the modern police began with the building of sheriffs’ offices. In 1626 the first Sheriff’s office was built in New York. Eleven years later Boston started its first "Night Watch". The Boston Police was the first modern police department formed in the United States.

Unfortunately, first police departments did not get much credit from public as they were quite corrupted. In the beginning of the 20th century, police started to pay more attention to training, forming new techniques and technologies. Police became more professional and centralized. Nowadays the police have more functions than just arresting criminals and investigating crimes. They have much power in deciding whether to arrest, warn or investigate a crime. Nowadays, the police suffer a serious budget cut because of the world economic crisis. Therefore, the police executive research forum (2009) made some key points in order to ease the police expenses on the state’s economy in the future. The first thing to be done is to increase the bicycle and hybrid vehicle use by 23% and 18%, accordingly. The second is to reduce the energy consumption by 23%. The third is to increase the number of foot patrols by 17% (p. 5). The forum states that these and many other things have to be done in the near future.

The judiciary is made by Supreme Court and by these courts that are established by Congress. Congress has power to establish courts and determine the number of judges in the federal judicial system. Some courts may also be abolished by Congress. Supreme Court is the highest judicial body of the United States and the only court the creation of which is presupposed by Constitution. Since formation of Supreme Court almost 200 years ago, there changed only the number of judges. In its original form Supreme Court consisted of a chairman and five members of the court. During the past 80 years the courts had changed. While in 1869 the final composition of a chairman and eight members of Supreme Court were not approved. The second level of the federal court system consists of the courts of appeal that were established in 1891 to facilitate the distribution of cases and ease the work of Supreme Court. The next with lower level are district courts. The District Court may consist from one to 87 judges. Depending on the scale of the case under review, the judge may be temporarily transferred from one district court to the other. Congress sets limits of the districts, based on the population and workload. In addition to the federal courts of general jurisdiction, from time to time, there is a need to create the special courts. These courts are also created by Congress. The judges, like their colleagues in other federal courts, are appointed by President with Senate approval for a period of life. Nowadays, among these courts, there are many others, no less important: The United States court of international trade, the court of federal claims, the tax court, etc.

Nowadays, there are five types of corrections in the USA: probation, fines, imprisonment, intermediate punishment and death. In 1682, William Penn, who came from England, adopted the “Great Law” in Pennsylvania. It presupposed hard labor as a punishment for committing most crimes. The signer of Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, proposed penitentiary as a good way to substitute corporal as well as capital punishment.  In 1870 a declaration of principles was adopted in Cincinnati. This declaration presupposed classification of prisoners, rehabilitative and educational programs. Some time later the medical model was proposed. The followers of this model considered the crime to be committed because of social, psychological and mental factors, therefore criminals needed treatment. At that time most prisons were rebuilt and used as clinics for “the sick” treatment. After the medical, the community and the crime control models were proposed. Nowadays, many experts assert that a totally new model should be adopted to change the existing (sentencing) one and to create new alternatives for imprisonment. In the future it has to be made because of constantly rising criminal situation in the States. The criminal justice estimating conference (2012) states, “The number if index offenses decreased in 2011 by 1, 038 (-0, 01%) from 2010 level of 770, 518. The 769, 480 index crimes reported in 2011 was lower than reported in any year since 1984. This is the third year in a row in which index offences declined after three years of increasing. Arrests for index offences declined by 2.5 percent in 2011, and arrests for non-index crimes also declined by 7.5 percent” (p. i). Despite such optimistic statistics of the crime activity, all prisons remain overcrowded. Therefore the States must seek some alternatives to more prisons. The Research by Henrichson and Delaney states that in 2011 the budget of 40 states on prisons reached 39 billion (2012). That is almost 5 billion more than the states were planning to spend. The total cost the state spends per one prisoner is over 31, 307$ (pp. 6-9). The public safety performance (2007) informs, “The U.S. may need an additional $27.5 billion over the next five years to accommodate projected prison expansion and operation” (p.18). This all means that the government should take some measures to reduce spending on prisons in the future. 

Thus, the criminal justice system plays very important role in prevention, monitoring and correcting crimes. Though there are some problems and drawbacks, they must be removed as soon as possible in order to secure safety and justice to every citizen of the USA.  

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