security and harmony in the society. The absence of justice in a society carries with it a risk of unimaginable failure and eventual chaos. The ability of man to choose between right and wrong includes the choice of committing crime that is punishable by law. The court of justice is the venue for a case to be filed, heard and tried. Criminal justice system wields the authority of the courts to determine the facts and the law of each case. The applicable penalty will then be executed against a convicted criminal.
In the end, a criminal may either be convicted or absolved from the crime committed based on legal reasoning. Criminal justice is a term for the system by which criminal demeanor is investigated, arrests completed, evidence collected, charges filed, defense alleged, trials made, sentences rendered, and punishment executed (“Criminal Justice”). With all court processes, the criminal justice system must be molded in accordance with the principles of justice and fairness. Equity, which is justice sweetened with mercy, must also be applied in case the meaning and spirit of the law calls to do so.
With that, the three most important issues on the criminal justice system of the United States include issue on discrimination between blacks and whites, ineffective justice system and failure to prioritize prevention. There had been many questions as to whether or not the criminal justice system is racist. The main problem is the high rate of black incarceration (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). It is self-evident that the cause of the situation is discrimination. Political processes, like presidential elections, provide opportunities to tackle the issue with high degree.
A writer named Mac Donald quoted what Barack Obama mentioned in a debate, wherein the latter questioned the fact that blacks and whites are arrested unequally (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). The real scenario is this; there are differences in degree of sentences for the same crime which makes it imperative to review the criminal justice system of the United States. The incarceration of so many blacks compared to whites is indeed disgraceful. The criminal justice system of the country is racist for the reason that there are increasing numbers of blacks who are in jail for the past two years.
In the year 2006, the percentage of blacks in all state and federal prisoners is 37. 5% even though; blacks were only 13% of the national population (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). In addition, 11% of all black males between 20 and 34 ages stay in detention cells (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, the black homicide cases were seven times higher than those who are whites, a fact that is so depressing (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1).
The ultimate realization is that police officers, prosecutors, and judges are biased in their treatment towards blacks and whites in relation to criminal cases being charged and tried against offenders. In other words, police officers over-arrest blacks and disregard criminals who are white (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). Reports even mentioned that the rate of crime victims are also the same with the number of black suspects (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). Discrimination looms in the cities of the United States affecting thousands of blacks being tried for crimes with no commensurate sentences.
Overcharging by prosecutors and over sentencing by judges against blacks who are suspected criminals are practices that should not be tolerated. Bias and discrimination weaken the economic and political development of a country where racial mixture and cultural assimilation is rich. The most notable scenario is that blacks were considerably poorly represented during trial of homicide cases (Mac Donald, 2008, p. 1). Therefore, the problem lies in the criminal justice system but not on patterns of offending victims in the society.
Majority of Americans commented that the criminal justice system of the United States is ineffective and broken (Weil, 2002, p. 1). Solely punitive approach to crime is not effective such that, changes must be made. Many studies revealed that it is better to analyze the cause of the crimes rather than punitive approach (Weil, 2002, p. 1). The progressive approach of understanding the reasons behind the commission of crimes rather than focusing on punitive approach is more effective to lessen high criminality rates.
One of the major decisions in order to balance state budget, is to decrease budget in prison expenditures (Weil, 2002, p. 1). There had been campaigns that counseling and treatment is the best way to handle drug abusers, rather then incarcerate them. Dumping prisoners in jail who are found to be drug abusers for a period of time and releasing them thereafter is not effective since they would go back into the streets with the same behavior. For sure, recidivists are those drug abusers who were able to experience being in prison due to commission of a crime.
The pattern of criminality of offenders must be taken into consideration and prevent them from doing another mistake by submitting them into treatment and counseling. Hence, prevention is the primary goal of the criminal justice system and not the implementation of purely punitive approaches. Finally, criminal justice system of the United States focused more on criminals and their wrongdoings and not on the prevention of crimes itself. There are many criminal offenders in the country who are allowed to be punished and then given probation, but committed another offense when brought again to the streets.
Why do we have to focus more on punishment through sentences rather than putting them into rehabilitation and counseling? There are times that police officers deal more on the crime committed but not on the real cause of the misbehavior. For instance, the case of John Evander Couey who is a recidivist under probation and later on kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed a minor, made the people realize that there is something wrong in the criminal justice system (Bidinotto, 2008, p. 1). Essentially, the causes of crimes are extreme poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and dysfunctional families (Bidinotto, 2008, p. 1).
Hence, the government must focus on these factors rather than imposing excessive punishment on crimes committed by offenders. Moreover, there are things that forced criminals to react inappropriately in some situations. On important issues like racism and discrimination, ineffective justice system and failure to focus on prevention, the primary consideration is the root causes of crimes itself. Anyway, if social conditions that affect unfortunate individuals can be altered, crime rates would surely decrease. The impact of the said issues in the criminal justice system is alarming since the social condition of the society worsened.
Therefore, we must be more concerned of the future and not the past crimes of offenders if we need to impose punishment. Treatment, rehabilitation and counseling must be implemented in a higher degree rather than following the pattern of arrest to punishment and from probation to recidivism. Finally, justice and fairness must not be taken for granted in assessing and deciding on a given case especially in the matter of sentencing a convicted criminal.
Bidinotto, R. J. 2008. Econot Website. Crime and Moral Retribution. Retrieved January 22, 2009, from http://www. econot.com/page15. html. Legal Dictionary. 2008. Criminal Justice. Retrieved January 21, 2009, from http://legal-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/Criminal+justice+system. Mc Donald, H. 2008. City Journal. Is the Criminal Justice System Racist? Retrieved January 22, 2009, from http://www. city-journal. org/2008/18_2_criminal_ justice_system. html. Weil, A. 2002. Soros Website. Majority of Americans Think U. S. Criminal Justice System Is Broken, Ineffective; See Need For Changes. Retrieved January 22, 2009, from http://www. soros. org/initiatives/usprograms/focus/justice/news/systembroken_20020213.