The main components of the criminal justice system are as follows: police, courts, and corrections. They can be described of its functions and purpose. These components of the justice system work together to achieve justice. Each of these components’ parts in the criminal justice system work toward a common goal with the movement of cases and people through the system is smooth due to cooperation between the various components of the system. This is what we call the Consensus Model.
This model is known more as the analytical tool chosen for its explanatory power. By explaining the actions of criminal justice officials, we are able to envision a fairly smooth and predictable process. However, the Conflict Model has another approach to criminal justice. This model states that the interests of criminal justice agencies tend to be self-serving. The goals of individual agencies often conflict, pressures for success, promotion, pay increases, and general accountability fragment the efforts of the system as a whole, leading to a criminal justice non-system. Conflicts within agencies often do not share the same goals, so the system may move in different directions.
This may depend on political currents, informal arrangements, and personal discretion. A proportion of reported crimes that have been solved, also known as clearance rates, are judged primarily on the basis of arrests and do not involve judicial disposition. Once an arrest is made, a crime is regarded as having been cleared for reporting purposes. So, if a burglar confesses to more unsolved burglaries after his arrest that he did not commit for a lesser sentence, the police can than say they had solved many burglaries.
Agencies of justice with a diversity of functions (police, courts, corrections) and at all levels (federal, state, local) are linked closely enough for the term system to be applied to them. On the other side, the very size of the criminal justice undertaking makes effective cooperation between component agencies difficult.
For example, the police have an interest in seeing offenders behind bars. Whereas, prison officials often are working with overcrowded facilities. In the end, the goal of justice is affected and may even be sacrificed because of the conflicts in the system. The value of the federal crime reporting programs provide useful comparisons of specific reported crimes over time and between jurisdictions annually throughout the United States.
These statistics are based on reports by victims of crime to the police. If used properly, a statistical picture of crime can serve as a powerful tool for creating social policy. Decision makers, such as legislators and administrators throughout the criminal justice system rely on crime data to analyze and evaluate existing programs. This is to design new crime-control legislation. This developed the “get tough” policies, such as the three strikes movement that spread across the Country in the 1990’s. This was based on the measured ineffectiveness of existing programs to reduce the incidence of repeat offenses.
Some of the strengths that have been enhanced vs. the traditional UCR now consists of individual incident records for the eight major crimes and thirty-eight other offenses with details on offense, victim, offender, and property involved. It records each offense occurring in an incident. Distinguishes between attempted and completed crimes. Records rape of males and females. Restructures definition of assault. Collects weapon information for all violent offenses.
Provides details on arrests for the eight major crimes and forty-nine other offenses. The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) isn’t a separate report, but rather a new methodology underlying the contemporary Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) system. The goals of the innovations introduced under NIBRS were to enhance the quantity, quality, and timeliness of crime-data collection by law enforcement agencies and to improve the methodology used for compiling, analyzing, auditing, and publishing the collected data.
Another advantage of UCR?NIBRS besides the increase in the volume of data collected, is the ability that NIBRS provides to break down and combine crime offense data into specific information. Keeping up with technology improvements with the FBI’s interest, they moved all UCR/NIBRS data reporting to the Internet and stopped paper production of its annual publication, Crime in the US. Today, efforts to make the electronic versions more useful and searchable continue. Another positive, The 1990 Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act required colleges to publish annual security reports.
Most campuses share crime data with the FBI increased the reported national incidence of a variety of offenses. On the opposite side, social events including crime, are complex and difficult to quantify. The decision of which crimes should be included and which excluded in statistical reports is itself a judgment reflecting the interests and biases of policymakers. The news media does more to influence the public perceptions of crime than any official data do. Another factor is “young males” make up most of the crime population.
Crime decreased due to a largely number of men who entered the military service during WWII. Their deployment overseas did much to lower crime rates at home. Therefore, the crime index from 1933-1941, declined from 770 to 508 offenses per every 100,000 members of the American population. With the end of the War and the return of millions of young men to civilized life, along with birthrates from 1945 to 1955 (baby boom), produced a dramatic increase in most major crimes. Modified reporting requirements made it less stressful for victims to file police reports, and the publicity associated with the rise in crime sensitized victims to the importance of reporting.
The transitioning to NIBRS reporting is complicated by the fact that not only does NIBRS gather more kinds of data than the older summary UCR Program did. Also, the definitions used for certain kinds of criminal activity under NIBRS differ from what they were under the traditional UCR Program. The FBI crime clock, which has long calculated annually as a shorthand way of diagramming crime frequency in the US. In reality, crime clock data that implies a regularity, simple does not exist. Also, it is not a rate-based measure of criminal activity and does not allow easy comparisons over time.
The crime clock consists of two categories of offenses: violent and property crimes. Like most UCR/NIBRS statistics, crime clock data are based on crimes reported to, or discovered by, the police. A few offenses, the numbers reported are probably close to the numbers that actually occur. Auto theft is an example of this in numbers similar to its actual rate of occurrence. This is probably due to insurance companies require that the victim file a police report before they will pay the claim. The UCR Program also includes information on what the FBI calls Part II offenses.
These offenses are less serious than those that make up the Part I offense category, include a number of social-order, or so called victimless crimes. The statistics on Part II offenses are for recorded arrests, not for crimes reported to the police. A Part II arrest is counted each time a person is taken into custody. As a result, they do not report the number of suspects arrested but rather the number of arrests made. Some suspects were arrested more than once. Another major source of statistical data about crime in the US is the National Crime Victimization Survey. This is based on victim self-reports rather than police reports.
This survey only estimates the occurrence of all crimes, whether they are reported or not. Crime statistics from the UCR/NIBRS and the NCVS reveal crime patterns that are often the bases for social policies created to deter or reduce crime. They also build on explanations for criminal behavior found in more elaborate interpretations of the statistical information. However, even though the statistics are merely descriptive, can be weak in explanatory power. Not all people report when they are victimized. Some victims are afraid, while others may not believe that the police can do anything about the offense. Certain crimes are rarely reported, if at all.
Such as, drug use, prostitution, and gambling. Also, white-collar and high technology offenses, such as embezzlement and computer crime often go undiscovered. Those types of crimes rarely enter the official statistics. Victims’ reports may not be entirely accurate.
Loss of memory may be a factor. A victim may feel pressured or want to impress the police with false misrepresenting the facts. Last, all reports that are filtered through a number of bureaucratic levels, which may increase the likelihood inaccuracies will enter the data. The National Crime Victimization Survey relies on door-to-door surveys and personal interviews for its data. Survey results may be however, for several reasons.
No matter how objective the survey questions may appear to be, the survey respondents provide their personal interpretations and descriptions of what may or may not have been a criminal event. The survey includes information from those people who are most likely to respond regardless of the level of victimization they may have suffered. Some victims, also are afraid to report crimes even to non-police interviewers. Others may invent victimizations for the interviewers’ sake.
A NCVS report admitted to “details about the crimes come directly from the victims, and no attempt is made to validate the information against police records or any other source.” Last, since both the UCR/NIBRS and NCVS are human artifacts, they contain only data that their creators think appropriate. One example, is the UCR/NIBRS statistics for 2001 terrorist attacks.
This is because the FBI officials concluded that the events were too “unusual” to count. Even though as a result the events of September 11, 2001 acknowledges the 2,830 homicides, it goes on to say that “these figures have been removed” from the reported data. Crimes that result from an event, but are excluded from the reported data, highlight the arbitrary nature of the data-collection process itself.