The following literature review involves broad and wide consultation of accessible information discussing the specific given topic of a particular geographical setting. The source of the information might be books, articles and human resources. The purpose of the research review was to gather unlimited information on the criminal justice of France. It is mainly made to reveal information about the police, court and prison systems in France without which there is no criminal justice. Otherwise there is no research on criminal justice that can be carried out without the mention of the three systems.
(Shella Rowlands (Eds. ). The research started by visiting an internet, visiting the internet site of a library found in the capital of France and visiting the internet sites of a number of prisons in France. All the sources have given helpful information in compiling the report. History of the Criminal Justice System in France I consulted the book on the French criminal justice by Jackueline Hodgson 2005. It gave well analyzed information on the history and the changes the criminal justice has gone through since the 16th century.
It has discussed the first stage of establishment of the legal system as being the accusatory procedural system; what it says is that this particular system was based on secrecy. The judicial procedures were not carried out in public or a universal and fair person was required to be in between the accuser and the accused. In the last half of the 18th century after the revolution of the French government a new system based on the English law was introduced. According to the book, the new system required a constitution defining the offences and the under laying punishment upon violation of any of the defined offenses.
Hodgson in his book says that codes were written. The penal code dictated that the defining of offenses. After the writing of the penal code, offences were no longer a community thing but individual where by if an individual commits any of the defined offenses is responsible of the punishments there off. Changes were later adopted to seal some loop holes created by the written codes. Some of the changes included suspended sentence for the young children who were below eighteen years old at the time of committing the offense.
Children who happen to commit the defined offenses were not reliable to punishment but it was suspended. Same happened to the first offenders. Provisions were given for alternative punishment for the offenders. Initially the offenders were only punished through imprisonment but, alternatives were developed. Other changes included the recognition of the victims’ rights. Victims’ rights were not respected as long as one had committed an offense, but with new changes in the legal system the victims’ rights were of great consideration. According to the author on July 22nd 1992 a new code replaced the former one.
The new code was introduced with a aim of addressing new issues. The new code established a corporate crime. There was also the idea of differentiating the density of the punishment according to the seriousness of the offense one had committed. More definitions of offenses were created. Some of the definitions included offenses like placing threats to people. It was treated as an offense when one uses threatening words to someone else. Some of the human actions that were not counted as offenses like sexual harassment and abortions were among the defined offenses in the written codes.
The author informed me on different classification of offenses. The classification of offenses was based on their seriousness. A good example is the difference between committed crimes and intended ones. Both deserved a different punishment of differing intensities. Another base of classifying crimes was object of the crime. For example a crime committed against human beings was treated as a serious offense in comparison with an offense against property. Some of the offenses directly violate human rights.
In reference to the book attacks against property although touching human being in one way or the other, not direct and that qualifies to be treated with less seriousness. For example someone who steals someone’s property, although is offending the owner, not as serious as raping or murdering. The serious the offense the longer the sentence it deserved. The book revealed that a committed crime deserves a twenty year sentence while the intended ones go for a five years sentence. Life threatening crimes are assigned a longer time sentence; for example, rapist was entitled a fifteen years sentence.
The books statistics reveal that more serious offenses were recorded in France. Those offenses defined by the code as serious, life murder and rape were highly recorded compared to others like theft and robbery. The law required the offenders to compensate the victims of their losses in form of finances or money. Those offenders who were unable to pay the compensation money landed in jail. If the offender had murdered, the law required him or her to pay money worth the life she/he had claimed (Directory of Justice Statistics. (1990).
Police system Another book consulted is French justice on comparative account of the investigation and prosecution of crime in France by Jacqueline Hodgson 2005, found in the internet site; http:/www. ojp. gov/bjs/pub/ascii/wfcjfra. txt talks about the role of police in investigation of the crime and prosecution of the victim. The author who is Hodgson J. clearly defines the role of the police in the four divisions of the police. The central division of the police is said to control the information on the economical political and social issues.
The second division is the city police who are in charge of enforcement or ensuring that the law requirements in the city are followed. Judiciary police is the third division whose main duty is investigating law offenders. The last police division is the territory surveillance whose duty is general security of the country. Other departments of the police in France are administrative police who are trained for the sole purpose of ensuring that there is peace and order in the country through various ways one of them being clearing traffic jam in the city roads (Malcon Green shields, 1994).
More information on the existence of squad administrative police is revealed in this book, whose duty the author defines as curbing terrorism which was in the increase in France. The squad of administrative performs its duty in collaboration with other anti-terrorist police like the intervention group of the State National Police. The state ensures order not only in the urban but also in the rural areas. The state police force being under the defense minister performs the same duties, performed by Judicial and administrative police in the rural area (Annual Report of the Penitentially Administration Minister of Justice, 1992).
The government in the effort of ensuring criminal justice in the country has used a lot of money to employ more police, train them and equip them with the right knowledge and gadgets in order for them to perform their duties perfectly. (Minister of the interior, 1993). For example, the country has spent billions of francs in purchasing police vehicles, electronic equipments and updated weapons. Unknown amount of money was also used to motivate the police. The police department is empowered to make the decision of arresting an offender if he /she witness the offender committing the crime.
It is also the mandate of the police to search and arrest an offender who has committed a crime and goes at large. Once the police get the information on such an offender they are obliged to search for him / her for prosecution). (1996 Criminal Proceedings in the Montgomery shire Great Sessions: Transcript of Common wealth). Rights of the Accused Hodgson continues to reveal the rights of the accused. In her Argument, once faced with the accusation, the accused person has the right to hire a lawyer or to be provided with one by the state.
Incase the accused feels unsatisfied with the courts judgment; it is his/her right to apply for an appeal. The accused has the right to be compensated for an unfriendly handling while in custody. For example in case the accused received evident injuries while in jail or custody has the right to demand for compensation by the state. Another situation that allows the accused to demand for compensation is when he /she are falsely accused, and the court finds him or her innocent of the accusation. The book provided information on the procedures the accused should go through.
Once arrested by the police as a suspect, she or he is investigated, after which the she or he is taken to the minister of public affairs who decides whether to take the case before a judge or not. According to the author of this book if the case is brought before the judge, he/she has all what it takes to examine the suspect. In the process of examining the suspect; the judge has the power of examining or interrogating the witnesses. After hearing the case the judge decides on the best way to apply the law on the accused.
It is the same judge who issues the suitable punishment for the offenses and the manner it should be exercised, (Douglas, 2000). On visiting of the prisons more information was collected through observation. The prisons were congested, with poor living conditions. The prisons being over-populated were unfriendly to human living. The records indicated that many prisoners died of poor health conditions. Ventilation of the prisons which were underground, in form of a dungeon caused poor airing of the prison rooms.
Prisons in France were made for correction, but mostly they served as a place of punishment and killing. Social classes existed in Prison. The classification of the prisoners was based on the wealth status and social ranking. It was observed that the wealthy and high class people were treated with honor and credit in the prison, while the poor extended their poor living in the prison. In all the prisons visited in France, there were indications of the existence of the social classes. One of the indicators was the condition of the living rooms in the prison.
The poor prisoners lived in the underground chambers that were characterized by poor ventilation since there were no windows, while the wealthy lived comfortably in the upper and private chambers with good ventilation that was ensured by the presence of windows. (Murray C. (1996). In conclusion, the criminal justice system in France is one of the ever improving systems of the world. It has ensured fairness in its dealing with both the accused and the accuser by protecting their rights as equal citizens. The legal system has sealed most of the loop holes allowing injustice in the system.
Unequal treatment of the prisoners is an issue that is giving rise to questions. The extension of social classes to the prison is not helping the wealthy prisoner correct, and this makes the prison lose its meaning. References Annual Report of the Penitentially Administration Minister of Justice (1992). The French Documentation. Directory of Justice Statistics. (1990). Annuaire Statistique de la Justice 1990 ed. La documentation. Douglas, (2000) Crime, Authority and the Criminal Law: Stafford shire PhD Thesis. (Ed)(1996) Criminal Proceedings in the Montgomery shire Great Sessions: Transcript of Common wealth.
Goal Files. Aberystwyth. Hodgeson, J. (2005) French Criminal Investigation. A Comparative Account of the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime in France Pub North America (Canada). Malcon Green shields. (1994). An economy of Violence in Early Modern France: Crime and Justice in the Haute Auvergne. University Park. Minister of the interior, (1993). Aspects of the Observed Criminality in France. French Documentation. Murray C. (1996). The Records of the Courts of Great Sessions for Wales: John Rowlands and Shella Rowlands (eds. ) Weish Family History: A Guide to Research.