Comparative Justice


Comparative Justice

United States of America and China

Justice is essential in all societies as it enhances law and order. Criminal justice system encompasses the government and law enforcement agencies in controlling the level of crime in society while making the law offenders answerable for the crimes they have committed. In criminal justice, law offenders have rights that the courts respect. The United States of America is governed by various laws and policies. The correction system In the U.S is based on the coordination among law enforcements, the courts and the correctional facilities (Regoli, 2007).

China is largely a socialist country and its criminal justice system consists of the police, procurates, the courts as well as correction institutions. In china, the main goal of the judicial system is to ensure that people live in a crime free society while enhancing the needs of the people. The ministries of Public Security and Justice ensure that the various law institutions are well coordinated in combating crime.


In the United States, the Supreme Court is the highest branch of judicial authority. Nine judges sit in this court, the chief justice and associate judges who are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. “This court hears cases that have been referred from lower federal courts and state supreme courts (Bumgarner, 2004).”  In China, the Supreme people’s court is the highest level of law enforcement. The court handles serious criminal offenses that also affect the country. This court will also listen to the cases that have been listened in all the other courts under it. “The higher people’s court arte set up in the different regions and will handle the cases that have been referred by the other lower courts. It also administers the work done by the other courts. The intermediate courts are found in the cities and handle matters got from the Primary people’s court which are found in the municipal districts and deal with criminal cases other than those that need to be handled by the higher courts (Liu, Zhang, & Messner, 2001).” Special courts are sometimes formed to deal with matters that affect people in their communities.


            The police agencies in China are headed under the public security. Local public agencies restore law and order in their various jurisdictions. The police in china are part of the armed forces. There work is to ensure public safety, protection of important government officials and working in the prisons. The local armed police fall under the public security agencies and their roles is to internal security of the country and maintaining law and order. Over 1.5 million people are employed in the force and the Chinese government supports the police force by including them in the budgetary allocations.  Technology is incorporated in police operations thus making it easier to combat crime. Police can arrest suspected criminals as long as they have a warrant from the chief prosecutor.

            Police also play a very important part in the U.S as they ensure that law and order is maintained at all times. Many people are employed in the police force at the state, county and also municipal levels. “Police also engage in investigations of various forms of crimes thus enhancing public safety. They also safeguard public officials and assist in the operations of the various correctional facilities (Bumgarner, 2004).” In both countries, excessive use of force by the police is prohibited in making arrests as well as in collecting evidence. In China and this is made in to law in Article 136 of their constitution. The police are supposed to be accountable for their actions and for this reason; citizens are allowed to file charges against policemen that have broken the law.

Another similarity is that in both countries there are correctional facilities. Prisons in China are referred to as labor reform institutions and there are different types of prisons for example where prisoners have small term sentences, reform houses for juveniles, prisons for criminal detainees and for those who are waiting for trial. “In the U.S criminal justice system, the various law enforcements institutions are carefully structured so that they are able to deal with various issues effectively. Some of the recent additions to the U.S judicial system include juvenile courts, probation and parole and the involvement of special policemen (Fairchild & Dammer, 2001).” Prisoners in China and the U.S are supposed to work unless they are old or are sick.

Another similarity in both the U.S and Chinese Criminal justice system is that in both the death penalty is given accorded to major crimes such as murder, rape. Death penalty is also not given to persons who have not yet reached 18 years.


In china, bail is allowed for suspected criminals. The accused is allowed to get a guarantor and even live at home under surveillance. This is especially given to nursing mothers, people who are sick or if there is insufficient evidence. Bail is also granted in the U.S system for arrests that have been made.


In the United States, policemen duties are not necessarily governed by the law as they mostly depend on their personal judgments on what they know is wrong according to the law while upholding social values. This is based on the fact that crime does not occur the same way. The work of the police is also influenced by practical manners such as the willingness of victims to press charges or testify. In china, the police follow strict orders that have been laid down by the public service committee and if they suspect any form of criminal offense, they are supposed to get a warrant so that proper procedures can be conducted to know if they are wrong or right.

Rights of the accused

In China the defendant have the right of defending themselves they can choose other people from the community as well as lawyer to defend them. On top of this, they have the right to know the nature of their accusations, they can also cross examine witnesses, request prosecutors witnesses as well as the judicial panel to step down from their cases and the right to make a final statement after the judge has closed the debate. When the accused does not have someone to defend them, the people’s court can choose a defender for them. In the U.S, the rights of the accused are well stated in the Bill of Rights (Fairchild & Dammer, 2001). The accused is allowed to have the witnesses they prefer present, the right to be presented by the counsel and to make sure that the judicial process is fast so that they can go on with their lives if found not guilty. They do not have as many rights as those in China.

Another difference is the powers of the judges and magistrates. In China, the judge is the person who enables coordination in court proceedings. “The judges are appointed and can be fired by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress. On the other hand, presidents and vice-presidents are the ones who make major decisions at the lower courts (Liu, Zhang & Messner, 2001).” In the U.S, the judicial system entails the presence of the jury who will assist the magistrates in deciding the fate of the defendant based on the evidence the prosecutors have presented. In China, when sentencing, cases are first heard, the judge and two people who have been selected to decide if a person is guilty or not. In the appealed cases, a collegial panel comprised of three to five judges will decide if a person is guilty or not.


               China has not signed any agreement with any country with regard to the charging of foreigners in their country or their citizens found in other countries. But if foreigners are found on the wrong side of the law, they will be deported to their individual countries. The U.S on the other hand has treaties with other countries especially with most African countries. U.S Criminal Justice system advantages

In the U.S the police, courts and correction facilities each work independently but the work done in any area, directly influence the work that is done in other departments. This therefore means that they are all dedicated to providing quality services in the production of the system. This has led to the formation of special agencies to assist the work done by the law enforcement using the latest technologies for example the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and CIA among others. Another advantage is the courts can only deal with the people that have been found in the wrong side of the law by the police and fights for the rights of the innocent. This ensures that proper justice is served.


Policemen in the U.S act on what they think is right, sometimes they may overlook certain issues which may cause certain criminals to evade being charged for their crimes. Another disadvantage is that the U.S court system follows a systematic order and this means that decisions that are made are usually made in the administrative process rather than the on the judicial basis. For the system to be more effective focus need to be made on the legal processes. “The magistrates work is limited as they deal mainly with setting the amount of bail a defendant is supposed to pay and appointing counsel when necessary (Regoli, 2007).” Rarely do these actions get the attention they deserve.

China criminal Justice system advantages

The judicial system is well divided to be able to serve the people better thus ensuring that the process is fast and all people are represented. The strictness in gathering data by the police and the procurate ensures that people are charged for the rights they have committed.


The accused is given a lot of rights and this somehow limits the work done by the courts. The involvement of so many people in the process further lengthens the procedures thus taking a long time to administer justice. “China’s criminal justice is informal because the courts mainly rely on the mediation of committees (Bumgarner, 2004).”

 Most Efficient

The United States judicial system is the most efficient because it is properly structured and has various specialized people in various fields to ensure that they uphold judicial ethics and restore law and order in the country. I believe that the various departments need to work separately so that they can dedicate their efforts in combating crime. The U.S system also has classified the various forms of crime this allowing them to be addressed in different ways based on the laws in place. Juveniles are sentenced fairly and that is why they are not sentenced in the same courts like other defendants as in China. In the juvenile courts, there are no magistrates or lawyers. The defense counsel in most instances represent the youth before the judge. The use of bail is also limited as the accused is told to appear in court on a specific day. This therefore shows that the procedures in these courts are different from the other courts.







Bumgarner J. B. (2004). Profiling and criminal justice in America: a reference handbook

ABC-CLIO, p. 95, 38, 64

Fairchild, E. & Dammer, H. R. (2001).Comparative criminal justice systems

2nd Ed. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning pp. 45-64

Liu, J., Zhang, L. & Messner S. F. (2001). Crime and social control in a changing China

Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 23, 69-84

Regoli, R. M. Exploring Criminal Justice, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2007, pp. 54-102