Criminal Justice

Social justice is a concept of a society in which every human being is treated justly, without discrimination based on financial status, race, gender, and ethnicity. The Declaration of Independence states “all men are created equal.” Nowadays we call that equality “social justice”. All in all, social justice means equal justice, concerning all facets of society. Basically meaning, all people have equal rights and opportunities; everyone. With that being said, all people also have a different opinion of equality, therefore social justice is almost an empty term because of its varying spectrum of definitions. The correctional system has three main goals: punish, protect the population and rehabilitate the offender.

However, it is unclear how well the modern U.S. correctional system achieves these goals and whether the money invested in the correctional system might be better spent. (http://www.ehow.com/about_5087269_role-correctional-system.html). Thesis: How can the corrections system use the social justice principles of equality, solidarity, and human rights to build a more just society? The correctional system has a very big role it plays in the court system. Most people believe that its role is to house inmates until the inmates release date; if there is one. What is the goal of the correctional system: It is to punish those who are incarcerated, so they never commit another crime and have to come back: to control crime, prevent crime and to provide and maintain justice.

Also, inmate’s human rights still have to be respected by correctional professions. It is supposed to teach them a lesson in the most effective way. The correctional system is also supposed to rehabilitate inmates. Rehabilitation, if done well, will make the criminal functional in normal society after release. This may include vocational training, counseling and drug rehabilitation treatment. Rehabilitation is intended to shift the criminal from being a cost to society to being a contributing member of society. (http://www.ehow.com/about_5087269_role-correctional-system.html). Some may think that people who commit crimes have no rights are that all their rights have been striped.

Clean prison conditions are a part of inmate’s human rights as well as their treatment. Correctional system prison conditions and the treatment of inmates are regulated at several levels. The highest level is the U.S. Constitution. The Eighth Amendment reads: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Legal precedent is used to determine what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, since the amendment's wording is vague. International law also regulates prisoner treatment through the treaties known as the Geneva Conventions.

Normally before any prisoner is released from incarceration they normally go through a psychological evaluation of some sort to make sure they are fit to go out in the real world, especially if they have been in prison for a while. But when they get out all they know is life behind bars, some choose not to leave, others just go right back in. I always hear people say that if you go to jail once, you will go back again; some believe it is true others don’t. Correctional professional has an oath that they must abide by at all times.

The question is how do corrections professionals ensure that they uphold the Constitution when many think their role is to be strict and firm. The true concept of justice is a concept involving moral, fair, and impartial treatment of all individuals. Justice is a concept that has many different translations and a concept that can be changed on a case-by-case basis.

Justice, as it pertains to law enforcement, is an example of the many faces of justice and how it can be subjective. Conceptually, justice is synonymous with law enforcement. Within this profession, justice can be defined as the ability to treat perpetrators and all individuals encountered, while on the job, with the highest quality of fairness. In order for law enforcement to promote a universal definition of justice, officers must possess the moral ability to lawfully enforce laws of the land and adhere to the honor expressed by the department and its mission.

Officers must maintain a temperament that is deemed by the organization as "honorable" and "morally" right. Justice also encompasses officers respecting and upholding the rights of all individuals, while on and off the job and giving perpetrators what they deserve within the rules of the law. Impartiality must be a major aspect of justice and law enforcement. Correctional officers must still abide by the law and ensure the rights of the inmates are still practiced. Proper suspicion to search and seize are probably violated often because these are already inmates.

“The Supreme Court thus recently granted certiorari in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington. Part III suggests that the Court in Florence confirm the propriety of correctional strip searches. The Court should further reaffirm that while intrusive, strip searches save lives and correctional deference necessitates them.” (Keleher, Christopher P, 2011, pg 43). In order for criminals to be rehabilitated they must have effective programs while they are incarcerated. What should these programs look like and how should they be administers so that they are effective.

The United States correctional system also uses rehabilitation when dealing with offenders. Rehabilitation seems to be the most effective way to handle criminals. Helping a criminal become a productive, responsible member of society is not possible for everyone. Simply locking one up does not teach a lesson, rehabilitation should be taught to all offenders. Prisons currently offer rehabilitation by allowing prisoners earned opportunities to make self-improvement.

This is done by providing education to obtain a GED, offering counseling services, substance abuse treatment, and vocational training. Effective intervention is attainable. This is validated with the America people referring to prisons as “correctional facilities”. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to enforce the laws already established, protect society and citizens from crime, punish those who are convicted of breaking the law, and ensure no person of being imprisoned for falsely accused (Schmalleger. 2010).

“As the federal courts have established the right of inmates to seek post-conviction relief, prisons system have struggled with a variety of strategies to come into compliance. Using data from a national survey of prisons, this study describes court access strategies employed by state correctional system and examines how prison contextual characteristics, such as security level, population size, and the court ruling in Lewis v. Casey (1996) affect their use.” (S. Michael; P.William,2012).

During a study of the Rochester Community center in New York City the finding shows; “the Rochester program reduced commitments to adult institutions by 70 percent. The criminal justice system costs money to operate. In 2007, for example, local jurisdictions spent $116 billion on police, courts, and corrections. State governments spent $74 billion, and the federal government spent $37 billion. Decisions on how many police officers to hire, how many probation officers are necessary, or how many prisons need to be built influence the cost to taxpayers (Kyckelhahn, 2011).

(Wright, 2012; 2.1) Comparing the two functions, I believe that rehabilitation is most effective way to reduce crime. Helping a criminal learn how to positively contribute to society once he or she is released not only offers hope, it offers a second chance. Yes, a criminal should be held accountable for his or her actions but this can and should be done without turning the offender more violent by harsh sentences (Cose. 2010). Community correction centers and how effective can such a center be. Community based correction have increased in popularity, as jails and prisons have been plagued with problems of overcrowding.

Community-based correctional facilities include halfway houses, residential centers, and work-release centers; they operate on the assumption that all convicts do not need, and are not benefited by, incarceration in jail or prison. Behavior is the major reason why people commit crimes, along with peer pressure and sometimes the environment in which people know. Criminal behavior can be attributed to social and biological factors. Criminals can be rehabilitated and returned to the community. Wrongdoers are responsible for their own actions. Wrongdoers have violated the social contract and can therefore be deprived of many of the right afforded to law-abiding citizens.

Deviance is any form of behavior that violates the norms of a society. Behavior that is considered deviant is usually condemned and often punished. Crime is a more dangerous and extreme form of deviance. The term can be defined as a deviant type of behavior that is prohibited by law and is punishable by the government. Many laws divide crimes into categories depending on the seriousness of the offense, the age of the offender, the punishment that can be administered and the actual court. Organized Crime,

A conspiratorial relationship between any numbers of persons engaged in the market for illegal goods or services, such as illicit drugs or firearms. Property Crime, Crimes committed against property, including larceny/theft, burglary, and arson. Public Order Crime, Behavior that has been labeled criminal because it is contrary to shared social values, customs, and norms. White-Collar Crime, Nonviolent crimes committed by corporations and individuals to gain a personal or business advantage. Violent Crime, Crimes committed against persons, including murder, rape, assault and battery, and robbery. Justice means a balance of law and order, individual rights, fairness, upholding the law, and equality.

This should be interpreted with both the criminal and victim in mind. Punishing a person who may or may not have known or understood fully the extent of his or her actions could be warranted with rehabilitation as opposed to a lengthy incarceration. Probation, restitution, victim awareness classes, and counseling could be the needs of rehabilitation. We are on our own to create our destiny. Individuals are the only ones in control of what happen to us and how the live around will look like. We make choices between love or hate, joy or misery, good or bad. Our behavior, the way we act, what we believe in, and how we react to and deal with others is shaped by the society which we live in.

“Man was born free but is everywhere in chains.” The chains are those restrictions, laws, and rules that one has to obey to be “free”; otherwise he/she takes a chance of facing charges, judgment, and sentencing. To me, prison always seemed to be extremely radical but often the only choice. The same rules apply to all of us and those who broke the law have to be punished and separated from society to maintain security in neighborhoods. A first time offender, regardless of age and in consideration of the crime committed should not be thrown away from society. Rehabilitation can and will work if done properly, effectively, and with a specific purpose in mind (Shea. 2008).

A repeat offender should not be given the same leniency as a first time offender, regardless of the crime committed. The correctional system fails in the sense that it does not correct behavior. In fact, it seems that prison only make the problems worse. Some sent to prison come out looking bigger, stronger, with new enemies, and are hungry to get back on the streets. Equal rights and making sure that all prisoners are treated equal means that correctional professional must treat all inmates the same, however it has been known that money can buy status and respect in the prison world; which make these inmates feel like they are still on the street.

A lot of time people from the same community meet in prison and they click up and this has be stopped; here why, putting members of the same world together only makes them feel right at home and comfortable in their surroundings. In addition, rival gang members are able to interact, leading to an increased level of hatred towards each other.

Some may think that criminals get out a repeat the same crimes because they have not learned from their mistakes. In order to build a more equality and solidarity society there are some things that has to take place in the world of criminal justice. The correctional systems cannot fail our community it has to do its job. The correctional system is flawed because it identifies and tries to prevent activities that take place behind the prison walls, like: gang activity and contraband. This should not be the focus instead it should focus on treating and correcting individuals.

Authorities should focus on changing behavior into civilians and attack the problem one criminal at a time. In conclusion, in order for corrections professionals use the social justice principles of equality, solidarity, and human rights to build a more just society solidarity must be present - union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples. Justice can be defined in many different ways. Law enforcement encompasses many subjective viewpoints of justice.

Current practices that reflect justice must be administered in an honest fashion to allow law enforcement to continue obeying laws and maintaining order in a just fashion. Relative to law enforcement, there are many things that have changed because of past events. September 11, 2001 caused law enforcement to open its eyes to the importance of growth, justice, and progression. Departments are now focusing on the universal threats of terrorism with task forces and providing the necessary tools to their officers to combat this form of criminal behavior.

Attempting to face future challenges will incorporate every aspect of law enforcement becoming more intimate with the community and cohesiveness among all law enforcement entities at local, state, and federal levels. In order to be successful in crime fighting, law enforcement must encompass all components of justice, whether subjective or objective, which is dependent on the situation and the officers' moral beliefs. By providing criminals with educational and job skill opportunities, helping one overcome drug and alcohol dependencies, rehabilitation can work.

Many criminals have the potential to be responsible, contributing members of society. I believe we should give them the tools they need through rehabilitation to lead productive lives. According to sociologists there are multiple explanations for crime and sociologists have created different theories. Also, there are many types of activities that are considered crime and the criminal justice system has the responsibility to keep all citizens of a country safe and secure.

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10. Wright, J. (2012). Introduction to criminal justice. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.