The criminal justice system is a fundamental regulatory institution that provides structure and discipline within American society. It is my belief that the major goal of the criminal justice system is to punish, protect, and restore. It essentially is in place to punish those who have committed crimes both minor and severe to the fullest extent of the law where applicable. The accused, however, is innocent until proven guilty meaning that they must obtain a fair trial under the law with jury deciding on the accused faith beyond a reasonable doubt after listening to all the evidence and details that have been presented in the case.
The quote below taken from the USCCB website speaks of the ultimate goal of the criminal justice system. “Our criminal justice system should punish offenders and, when necessary, imprison them to protect society. Their incarceration, however, should be about more than punishment. Since nearly all inmates will return to society, prisons must be places where offenders are challenged, encouraged, and rewarded for efforts to change their behaviors and attitudes, and where they learn the skills needed for employment and life in community.
We call upon government to redirect the vast amount of public resources away from building more and more prisons and toward better and more effective programs aimed at crime prevention, rehabilitation, education efforts, substance abuse treatment, and programs of probation, parole, and reintegration. ” (Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration, USCCB 2000, p. 39) The criminal justice system seeks to protect all citizens from those who commit violent and nonviolent crimes. For example, law enforcement is an example of the protection that the criminal justice system guarantees.
Law enforcement help to create a sense of comfort and security in America which is a country that extends unalienable rights; that is, rights that are given by God and cannot be taken away such as life. Police helps to protect people from possibly being murdered, robbed, and various kinds of crimes. Therefore, if a man kills another, the criminal justice system says that he should be tried in a court of law instead of becoming a victim to vigilante justice where some would take revenge by killing the murderer. The American criminal justice system promotes and encourages order among its citizens so that everyone can feel protected.
Restoration is also an important feature of the criminal justice system. Various programs are implemented such as Victim-Offender Programs where victims and/or their family members meet with the offender to express their feelings in various ways and for the offender to make amends for the crime they have commit against the victim. The ultimate goal is for the offender to be accountable to his or her actions so that the victim may obtain answers and feel a sense of relief in some way. Another means by which restoration to society can take place is through the use of rehabilitation.
“Rehabilitation assumes criminal behavior can be improved with non-punitive methods. Rehabilitation, although non-punitive, usually occurs along side punishment. For instance an incarcerated person may be given many rehabilitative options. Mental health programming, substance abuse counseling and even education programming exist in modern day correctional facilities. ” (Renter, 2008) I believe that in order for the criminal justice system to create restoration in society, criminals must be rehabilitated by way of drug treatment, programs to help them re-enter into society like job placement programs, and various types of therapy.
Works Cited Renter, Elizabeth. “The Goals of Sentencing in Today’s Criminal Justice System – Associated Content. ” Associated Content – associatedcontent. com. 17 Mar. 2009 <http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/582825/the_goals_of_sentencing_in_todays_criminal_pg3. html? cat=17>. “USCCB – (SDWP) – Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice. ” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 17 Mar. 2009 <http://www. usccb. org/sdwp/criminal. shtml>.