Criminal Justice in Action


            Criminal justice, in practice is usually highly unsystematic but is very useful in taking the system wide approach when seeking a better understanding as well as an effective response to problems of the modern criminal justice.

            A systemwide move enables better understanding of the various ways upon which earlier and the later stage processes affect one another. Decisions that are made earlier like those that entail prosecutorial screening or even pretrial detention, usually expect later ones and provide important inputs for the subsequent procession of the case.

            Systematic analysis assists in avoidance of serious distortions that can easily occur when the selected aspects of the functionality of the system are compared across the jurisdictions. For instance, simple comparison of a given proportion of the offender who is convicted of assault and receive custodial sentence in two jurisdictions will lead to misleading results if the two systems have different rates for earlier stage screening.

            A detailed analysis indicates widespread policies and principles that can be relevant at issues different levels or the stages of the process. For instance, though the analysis of the of criminal law, the sentencing and the procedures are done separately, it is highly important to recognize the universal values that underlie the known legal rules in various areas like the need to limit the powers of the state especially the nature of brutality for the crime victims; an indication of the price equality of justice (Larry & Roger 2008).

            An examination of the various reasons for the case attrition at diverse stages indicate that cases can be dropped for three basic reasons; a less severe alternative is more appropriate, offense seems too minor for the justification of stricter measures. This indicates a broad policy consensus but raises questions concerning the factors which should implement the policies. The incidence of case attrition becomes clear when all the stages are fully examined. The magnitude across the system has important implications for the comprehension of the limit of the criminal law and the purpose it can achieve.

            Unfortunately, there a considerable system-wide disagreement on some important issues and generally lack of agreed goals, performance measure as well as goals for the whole system. Police measure their level of success primarily through arrest and clearance rates and secondly through reported rates of crime. The prosecutors maintain the score according to the conviction rates even if the numbers of cases are that are dismissed or simply charged down. The judges who get saddled with heavy caseloads mainly keep the score in terms of how first they can dispose cases. The elected prosecutors as well as the judges are tempted to highlight how they are strict on crime. The systematic analysis promotes the level of recognition of the conflicting standards together with the impact that those conflicts have on the performance of the entire system and the separate parts.

Evaluation of the reforms of the criminal justice

            System analysis helps in the evaluation of the merits of the proposed reforms as well as the penalties of reforms which have been already adopted. One of the persistence the criminal justice reform that results from pervasiveness of the discretion which is unregulated, is the affinity for change in a single part of the system to be greatly weakened or nullified through compensating the changes in various parts. The phenomenon is always called the system ‘hydraulic’. The minimum sentence reform are usually undercut by changing or simply through the decision which prevent many eligible offenders against being convicted of a given target offense.


Larry K. G. & Roger L. M. (2008). Criminal Justice in Action: The Core. New York: Oxford                   University Press.