This project will provide a review of the current organization and administration of the three components of the U. S. Justice System: the police, courts, and corrections. The United States Police System Within American society, the individuals who protect the public from criminals play an integral role in the maintenance of the common good.
This role, for the modern police officer, generally consists of 6 main areas of responsibility: maintenance of order; protection from unlawful acts; regulatory licensing and inspection; protection of public safety and morality; limited powers of “public censorship”; and provision of emergency social services (Langworthy, 1986). By serving in these areas, the police officer makes it possible for the everyday lives of the rest of the citizenry to continue in a safe and orderly fashion.
While it is easy to quickly review a list of the functions of police in the US Justice System, these functions are in fact carried out by a vast network of police officials in a variety jurisdictions, departments and organizations. At the top of the police hierarchy are the federal police organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and even organizations that perform more subtle policing functions such as the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Aviation Administration (Langworthy, 1986).
In addition to federal police organizations, there also exist a network of state police agencies, the structure of which vary with the state itself, but generally consist of an actual state police force which patrols interstate and state highways for example, state investigative bureaus which conduct more clandestine police work such as drug enforcement, and state-run agencies that perform code enforcement, environmental protection and the like, mirroring the efforts of similar agencies on the federal level.
Lastly, the grass-roots law enforcement activities in counties, cities, towns, townships and the like are localized police departments. These departments are a microcosm of the state and federal police agencies, in that they frequently perform all of the general police activities- they can, in essence, could be called general practioners of law enforcement, making these local officers some of the best trained and most versatile police officers at any level of law enforcement.
Whatever the level of the law enforcement agency, however, one fact stands strong- there are pressing issues and challenges that all law enforcement personnel face. First, in terms of issues and challenges for all police organizations and officers, is the issue of funding. Police departments- be they federal, state or local have seen their operating budgets cut to the bone because of financial difficulties for the governmental entities that fund them (Keve, 1995). Therefore, some would argue, the effectiveness of these agencies is sometimes restricted.
Also, this affects officers personally, because tight budgets often mean low salaries, making officers more susceptible to bribes and corruption at the hands of clever criminals, whose ready access to cash makes them ready and able to bribe police officers in their own best interests. This type of a problem has been seen widespread in recent decades in such instances as the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, whose police force in the 1980s was later found to be one of the most corrupt in the history of law enforcement (Langworthy, 1986).
Fortunately, however, it must be understood that the vast majority of police officers and organizations are beyond reproach in terms of corruption. Lastly, the issue of race has permeated police organizations nationwide. From the issue of hiring for the organizations themselves, as well as allegations that police officers more frequently pursue racial minorities for criminal enforcement, the race question is one that will remain in police departments for many years to come. All of the challenges that police face in the modern organization hinge on ethical considerations.
On the highest ethical level, police have a duty to uphold the law- the question to be answered every day for these men and women, however, is how they will fairly and efficiently do so. The United States Court System Another essential part of the Federal Justice System are the courts. Much like the police system, the court system has its own structure, administration system, and challenges to be faced. Structure-wise, the US court system is very similar to that of the police, with federal, state and local courts in place.
These divisions deserve a closer examination for better understanding; essentially, there are three levels of court jurisdiction (Introduction to the Court System): FEDERAL, such as the US Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeals, Federal Courts and Military Courts exist. The Supreme Court stands as what many would call “the court of final appeal”; before this court are argued cases which have already gone through lower courts, laws are evaluated for Constitutionality, and criminal convictions are reviewed if appealed to that high of a level.
Circuit Courts of Appeals also serve as appellate for cases from lower courts, and Military courts handle issues that involve the armed forces. STATE, while varying by state, usually consist of state supreme courts for appeals from lower local courts as well as courts for violations of state laws. LOCAL often vary as well, but can exist in counties, townships, cities and the like for the hearing of cases that happen on the local level, such as criminal violations, lawsuits, etc.
All of the US courts, on any level, adhere to the principals of the US Constitution, and involve the deliberation of matters of law for the punishment of convicted criminals, resolution of disputes between private parties, interpretation of laws and so on. With all of this responsibility, of course, courts also face many issues and challenges. When considering the issues and challenges that are faced by courts, they too face budget restrictions. Along with tight budgets, courts are literally crowded to overflowing because of the sheer volume of the cases waiting to be brought before them (Introduction to the Court System).
Therefore, for the courts, the ethical dilemma exists- should justice be swift for the sake of keeping the process flowing, or should each case be taken as slowly as possible to ensure that no detail is missed. While nothing can be 100% perfect, there are debates that courts should move faster for progress sake and not be so caught up in time taking details, while others feel that cases should move as slowly as they need to in order to achieve perfection in courts. However this eventually is resolved, one thing is clear- the courts will always be needed to serve a vital function in US justice.
Corrections in the Federal Justice System Corrections in the US take on the same structure as do the police and court organizations, with Federal, State and Local facilities in place for the incarceration of those sentenced to such punishments, as well as probationary and parole systems to supervise those who are not confined to prison, but still are under the control of the criminal justice system due to their legal circumstances (Keve, 1995). At each level of these systems, regulations vary, as do the types of individuals involved in those systems. Likewise, there are ethical considerations within the corrections system.
The issue of race figures prominently in the corrections system, from allegations that minorities are jailed more excessively than those of other races to the dangers that certain races face when imprisoned, at the hands of racist prisoners who would likely kill minority prisoners for no other reason than their racial makeup (Keve, 1995). Likewise, the prison, probation and parole systems are overcrowded with too many individuals, making equal treatment a challenge, and leaving many wondering just how long the system can continue at its current level of bloat before it breaks down altogether.
Whatever the future of corrections hold, as with the courts and police, these systems appears to be here to stay. Course Project-Part Two Introduction/Overview The previous research, conducted in Part One of this course, revealed several key points: first, the Federal Justice System exists in a police, courts and corrections format, with each of these being represented on the federal, state and local level. Second, each of these formats serves specific functions.
Third, there are serious issues which each format must face- issues which, if not addressed, could be highly damaging not only to the system, but also to society as a whole as a result. In this research, a model criminal justice system will be proposed; this system will address the organizational and administrative challenges of each component. The recommendations made will include justifications that thoroughly explain how the model system will address any existing issues. Overview of the Proposed System
First, the proposed system will be presented, followed by a discussion of each of the individual components themselves. To begin, snapshot of this system deserves a look- the proposed system will be more cost effective, efficient, fair/just, and useful not only as a prosecutorial tool, but also as a preventative measure to battle the crime that has plagued America for generations. The system needs to confront, head on, the budget shortcomings which have placed an unfair burden on the entire system on all levels.
One of the areas where the system can reap huge financial benefits would be through the harnessing of technology and the application of common efficiencies that have been applied by countless other organizations and businesses for decades. Undoubtedly, the federal, state and local agencies all need to communicate, whether one is considering the exchange of data or the actual personal communication that needs to take place.
In both instances, the justice system needs to perform an assessment of the software, hardware and communications technology used, and try in every instance to use similar systems which will streamline communications, save costs and lead advantages which will save tremendous amounts of money. Moreover, all of the processes that are routinely done in these agencies- such as reporting, recordkeeping and the like- could benefit from the implementation of waste reduction, such as the elimination of redundant administrative tasks, which waste both time and money.
Overall, by saving money and wastes of time, the system will be able to function more smoothly. Beyond cost savings, the system will be able to emerge as more effective methods and programs are utilized. These will be presented and explained in more detail in this research. The Police System Police, on all levels, serve as the front line defense of society from lawbreakers. As such they require every advantage that can be provided to them to ensure the utmost in effectiveness and efficiency. This being said, there are specific measure to be put into action to improve American police efforts.
Earlier, the overall need for improved communication between the elements of the justice system was cited. Taking this need directly to the police system, each level of police can benefit from the best practices and experiences of the other. While getting all of these individuals together for conferences and training is logistically and financially impossible in many instances, the most valuable information to be shared among the organizations can be gathered in a central Web-based repository, which can be accessed by police officers everywhere to give them the power that can only come from knowledge.
This knowledge in hand, police can be more effective overall. Racial sensitivity is also a critical need for American police officials in the current day; many of the problems faced by police today have happened due to the racial barriers and misunderstandings that have occurred over the decades. Therefore, on all levels of police activity, the cultures of others need to be understood for a better respect of all races for each other.
What will happen as a result of this is a toppling of the racial strife which complicates law enforcement today. The Court System Courts are in need of improvements and changes for the better; just like the police, courts can also benefit from information sharing and racial sensitivity, but another pressing issue for the courts is that of overcrowding.
While it would be unrealistic to simply say that crime should be reduced, it is realistic to say that the courts themselves can be “unclogged” to a great extent through increased use of accelerated rehabilitation programs which release non-violent offenders from the halls of justice much sooner, increased use of counseling programs which can substitute for court programs which are expensive and time consuming, and the aforementioned uses of technology and waste reduction that can save the courts huge amounts of time, making them less burdened by excessive cases coming through the courts themselves.
The net effect will be a more accurate and efficient court system at all levels. The Corrections System Corrections are in need of process improvements, communication and streamlining like police and courts, but corrections also face some additional issues which are in need of addressing. Overall, the prisons of America are hotbeds of crime themselves- criminals, when placed together in a restrictive environment such as that of a prison, do in fact commit more crime behind bars, including rape, theft, drug crimes, assault, and even murder to name a few.
Therefore, crime prevention must begin in the prisons themselves; increased law enforcement efforts inside of correctional facilities will eventually lead to less crowding of the prisons, cost savings, and a safer environment for correctional officers, which will vastly improve the correction system overall, at all levels. Just as the courts can act to send fewer individuals to the correctional facilities themselves, the corrections system can help individuals to be rehabilitated and released faster through the use of counseling, education for inmates, and job training.
All of these will make it possible for inmates to be able to be released not because they have to be due to a lack of space, but because they are ready and worthy of the release itself. Conclusion While thousands of pages could not effectively convey a thoroughly improved criminal justice system, this research has presented an excellent start to the improvements that can lead to an overall enhancement of American society. Therefore, everyone needs to put forth the effort to look into improving the justice system immediately. References
Diiulio, J. J. (1991). No Escape: The Future of American Corrections. New York: Basic Books. Introduction to the Court System. Compiled by Syracuse University School of Law Library. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, August 29, 2007: http://www. law. syr. edu/Pdfs/0Intro%20Court%20System. pdf Keve, P. W. (1995). Prisons and the American Conscience: A History of U. S. Federal Corrections. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Langworthy, R. H. (1986). The Structure of Police Organizations. New York: Praeger Publishers.