Communication in any form is seen by many to be the key to effective results when properly done; on the other hand, incorrect or inefficient communication can spell disaster, especially within the arena of criminal justice, where life and death, freedom and confinement hang in the balance. Formal communication is seen by many as the best way to go in this regard. Ultimately, this research will focus on three important functions, and dysfunctions of formal communication networks in the criminal justice setting. Important Functions of Formal Communication Networks in Criminal Justice
Formal communication networks within criminal justice systems have several important functions which deserve further discussion. First, it is formal communication that contributes to the adherence to procedure, regulation and process which is essential in recordkeeping, handling of evidence, and other technicalities which allow the criminal justice system to effectively operate. Additionally, from the personnel viewpoint, formal communication is necessary in order to convey critical training information, personnel policies and the like, avoiding confusion on the part of superiors and subordinates.
Lastly, formal communication maintains the chain of command that must be in place for police departments, correctional facilities and other law enforcement agencies to execute given duties in a safe and effective way, for it must not be forgotten that at the heart of criminal justice is the responsibility to protect civilians from the criminal element that exists. (Champion, 2002). Relative Dysfunctions of Formal Communication Networks in Criminal Justice
Just as there are benefits to formal communication networks in criminal justice, there are likewise relative dysfunctions of these networks when they are enacted. As a quick example, the nature of some law enforcement efforts is informal, whereby information gathered from confidential sources must sometimes be passed to some members of law enforcement without adherence to formal channels of communication; therefore, if there is an insistence on formal networks, critical information could be irrelevant by the time it penetrates the veil of formality.
Likewise, the insistence on formal communication could add unnecessary bureaucracy, also slowing progress of criminal justice efforts. Additionally, formality can fairly be seen as a natural enemy of the camaraderie and familiarity that is essential in some work settings, especially high stress jobs such as those in the realm of criminal justice (Champion, 2002). Conclusion This research has not only shed a great deal of light on the pros and cons of the use of formal communication networks in the criminal justice setting, but has also reached a deeper level of topical understanding.
This understanding is that proper communication in this context directly contributes to the efficiency and longevity of the very system that protects society from the very worst members of it, and if allowed to degrade, can quite literally lead to the destruction of the modern civilized community. Therefore, finally, what must be clear is that formal communication, properly utilized, has a definite role in an effective criminal justice infrastructure. Works Cited Champion, Dean John (2002). Administration of Criminal Justice: Structure, Function and Process. 3rd Edition. New York: Prentice Hall.