There are several criminal justice systems in various countries of the world. Each system varies according to how a country structures it. Criminal justice mainly focuses on the issues concerning the criminal law in accordance with its procedure as well as how these laws are enforced with the objective of fairly treating those persons accused of having committed crimes. When an accused person is guaranteed equal treatment, process of protections from the constitution as well as impartiality, then the criminal justice is said to be fair.
The accused person might have committed an act of violation concerning the existing laws in the society. The act would either be one of commission for instance robbery, or omission act for example failing to pay income taxes among others. All these can be termed as criminal acts that are well defined and established in statutes which are the written laws or they may also be found in criminal codes. Their definitions also vary among local, federal and state jurisdictions. The study of crime, how the society responds to it and its causes is known as criminology.
It is essential to study crime because it generally occurs in a social setting hence implicating the society’s structural framework and culture (Purpura, 1997). Criminal justice systems consist of courts, police and corrections agencies and these systems vary from one country to another worldwide. The main objectives of these systems include maintenance of law and order in the society, determining innocence or guilt from persons, apprehension of offenders, sentencing those who are found to be guilty of committing a crime, controlling crime in society and protecting the constitutional rights of individuals.
The criminal justice system in United States has its origin in the first model which was established by the commission of the president that concerned Administration of Justice and Law enforcement. The model that was developed in 1967 resembled a flow chart and it focused on the interrelationships among agencies as well as directing research into the establishment of various points that would be helpful towards booking arrests and so forth. The model establishes the various agents that exist in the criminal justice system that are required to bring about justice (Purpura, 1997).
In other words, all the practices and procedures that deal with the apprehension and detection of offenders are encompassed in the criminal justice. These includes bail and remand options, police dealings as concerns suspected criminals, cautioning, prosecution and changing of offenders, sentencing and trials, arrangements made that requires the implementation of community and custodial sentences and lastly the reintegration and rehabilitation of prisoners to enable them fit into the community and also become law abiding citizens (Gibson and Cavadino, 2002). Around the world, police systems differ a lot among countries.
It is only a few countries in which the police officers are held accountable in cases whereby civil rights are violated. This does not include the nations that apply the common law and Japan. However, in Islamic countries and socialist countries, enormous religious power including political powers are held by the police and it is surprising to find that in these countries, in cases whereby crime has occurred, this is mostly viewed as a religious or political problem. On the other hand, there are mainly two types of court systems that exist in the world namely: the adversarial and inquisitorial.
The adversarial court system refers to the situation whereby the accused person is said to be innocent until proven guilty whereas individual to be guilty until they are proven mitigated or innocent. The adversarial system that exists in United States is quite unique as compared to the rest worldwide and this is because the United States emphasizes on the establishment of factual guilt in its courtroom. However, other countries carry out their trials basing on the legal guilt and this is whereby the offender and knowledge of the crime committed is known by everyone (Gibson and Cavadino, 2002).
The main objective is to bring forth the offender so that they can apologize, argue for mercy, allow them to suggest on the appropriate form of sentence that they wish to have and lastly make them to own up to their responsibilities as required by the law. The inquisitorial systems on the other hand have a lot of secret procedures that are involved in its implementation. The system that is used to establish the various correctional systems in the world is the corporal punishment. Some countries do support corporal punishment as well as the death penalty whereas others do not.
It should be noted that countries that do not favor corporal punishments often seem to have less problems concerning overcrowding in their prisons. In addition, in cases whereby there is cross-cultural existence of parole and probation, this is made available to native citizens only and it does not apply for immigrants or foreigners. Lastly, justice concerning juveniles widely varies among countries. For instance, the system is tough in Scotland whereby there is regular sentencing of juveniles to boot camps that provide harsh conditions consisting of forced labor and military regime.
Germany on the other hand has a juvenile system which is similar to the one available in United States and the only difference is that Germany emphasizes more on education rather than punishments that it offers juvenile offenders (Gibson and Cavadino, 2002). This paper will focus on the criminal justice systems that exist in France and United States in the areas of corrections, courts and policing as well as examining the advantages and disadvantages of the applicability of these systems in the countries mentioned above. The United States and France have similar policies concerning their criminal justice systems.
In the United States, there exist mainly five major sources of the criminal law namely: case law, common law, statutes that are often passed by the legislative and the state, state and federal constitutions accompanied by precedents that are created by court rulings have resulted n the provision of power for various legislative bodies in United States that enables them to establish civil and criminal statutes which are the exact laws that are used in the prohibition and definition of crimes.
Federal statutes are enacted by the U. S. congress whereas the state legislatures are meant to enact statutes (Ignatius, 2000). All these statutes are enacted on the city, local and country levels and they are finally compiled to form what is known as codes. The commonly existing codes in United States are the local codes that retain a combination of both common and statutory laws that vary a lot among existing jurisdictions, State codes and the U. S. code. In addition, the criminal law in United States is classified as under procedural law and substantive law.
Criminal offenses namely robbery or murder are defined by the substantive law which specifies punishments and corresponding fines and there is a difference the way state and federal governments punish and define these offenses. Since the values and beliefs that exist today in our society are dynamic and are reflected by the criminal codes (Ignatius, 2000). The procedural law on the other hand encompasses the formal rules that are used in the enforcement of the substantive law and the necessary steps that are useful in the processing of a criminal case.
They include the arrest laws, rules of evidence, search and seizure, jury selection and right to counsel. United States classifies its crime as those that are federal in nature and those that are commonly referred to as state crimes. Those under the federal consist of interstate violations of commerce and antitrust, public drunkenness and loitering among others. However, most of the crimes that are generally committed are the state crimes and they include robbery, rape murder and burglary.
All these result in the existence of serious crimes in the nation hence posing a huge challenge to these nations (Purpura, 1997). In France, the criminal justice procedure is governed by the code de procedure penale (CPP). In addition, the 1993 and 2000 reforms resulted in making quite important changes to the existing criminal procedures in France, ensuring that there exist established clear legal regulations concerning how the police exercise their power, making accountable the decisions made by magistrates as well as ensuring that the rights of both the victim and accused are strengthened.
Each of the above reforms was preceded by a commission whose main responsibility was to examine the process in the criminal justice hence ensuring that better conforming exists in the French criminal procedure (Hodgson, 2005). Since the establishment of the criminal justice system in France, it has undergone a lot of changes namely the stage of the private reaction and the stage of imperial penal law among others. The legal system was characterized by the stage of private reaction which included the inception of France up to the 16th century.
It was the accusatory system of procedural that was the predominant judicial procedure then, and the penal code of private reaction led to the establishment of the inquisitorial system that was based on judicial procedures that were secret hence the existence of arbitrariness and repressiveness. A judicial system inspired by the English law was established in 1789 that saw the enactment of the legality principle concerning punishments and offences.
The imperial penal law stage on the other hand established two main written codes namely criminal instruction code (1808) and penal code (1810). Criminal instruction code constituted both the accusatory and inquisitory procedures whereas the result of the penal code was the creation of a number of definable offenses. These codes mostly focused on individualizing punishment. Toward an offender and as a result, there followed a number of reforms.
Such reforms include: the establishment of suspended sentences to be applied to those juveniles who are in their early stages of delinquency namely parole, imprisonment alternatives, first-time offenders, further stiffening punishments concerning recidivists and probation(Hodgson, 2005). Moreover, these reforms that were established had the main role of strengthening the rights of individual offenders. The other reform changes include the replacement of the criminal instruction by the penal procedure 22, 1992 that retained the tripartite in the distinction of various crimes, violations and misdemeanors as established in the penal code (1810).
The new Penal Code also discusses issues for instance corporate crime, reinforcement of severe punishments for criminals with very serious crime offenses, definitions concerning existing new crimes as well as the establishment of other punishment alternatives that concern the deprivation of liberty. Others include sexual harassment, crime linked to genocide and humanity, people being placed in certain dangerous situations by their counterparts and lastly ecological terrorism.
All these sum up a brief history and structure of the criminal justice system that exists in France (Hodgson, 2005). France has a political system constituting of a centralized government. However, the government also seems to be decentralized as it has 22 region, 34,000 municipalities, 95 departments and all these have the ability to acquire various benefits that exist in the central government while at the same time being autonomous (Purpura, 1997). France and United States have their own policing system that differs from each other.
France’s policing system is under a central police system that is run by the existing government, which is also imposed onto the citizens by the national government of France. It is the national government that supervises, coordinates and monitors and administers the police forces in France. This is advantageous since there is uniformity in existing laws and also in the application of these laws to citizens. The man role of the police in France is to make sure that the laws of the country are enforced and observed and preventing occurrence of high rates in delinquency.
Paris is the headquarters for the police department of France. It is the minister of interior who authorizes the police force. The police hierarchy consists of the General Director at the top who is changed with the responsibility of overseeing four divisions. Information services that concerns issues relating to economics, social as well as politics are mainly controlled by the central Division of General information. In addition, the search for very dangerous delinquents and investigation of very serious offenses is generally coordinated by the judiciary of the Central Branch of Police.
The state security on the other hand, is under the supervision of the Division of Territory Surveillance, and lastly the police force of the state is under the Defense minister, which helps in the fulfillment of the roles of judicial and administrative police found in the rural areas. The special customs police are charge with the responsibility of working to curtail the illegal entry of people from other countries who have the intention of attacking the existing public order. United States policing system is defined to be one of the major three components that exist in its criminal justice system.
In America the three components namely correction, courts and policing are interrelated but each operates independently. The conducts regarding the components have their powers rested in the judiciary as it makes legal determinations concerning them. The purpose of policing in United States is maintaining law and order. This is the function of law enforcement whereby we find that the police are charged with the responsibility of performing any legal sanctions to existing behaviours that seem to violate the established legal standards that are set in United States (Ignatius, 2000).
The legal sanctions may be in the form of arrests that may be carried out on criminal offenders. The other purposes of the United States policing individuals suspected to have committed certain criminal activities after which the results obtained from the investigation are eventually handed over to the courts to help in prosecution of the suspected criminal offenders. They mainly carry out this task by gathering information through observation, recording and interviewing.
For instance, the police could be involved in asking a number of questions at the scene of a road accident or crime or they could also be completing certain standard forms. All of these is performed to see to it that justice is sought and law-breakers and apprehended and punished. In the maintenance of order, police are charged with the responsibility of controlling any events which might result in the threatening or disturbance of existing peace in a particular location or the country as a whole.
For instance, police role in the mediation of family disputes or dispersing a rowdy crowd as a form maintaining order. The police in United States also perform service related duties that are concerned in serving the needs of the community such services include animal control, referring individuals to those agencies that exist in the community which offer help as well as helping injured people.
To varying degrees, the law enforcement that exists at varying levels of the government as well as the different agencies that are found in United States and mainly plays the role of preventing occurrence of criminal activities, enforcement of warrants, provision of first response to emergencies as well as other threats that could cause threats to public safely, protecting public infrastructure and facilities, maintaining public order as well as offering protection to all public officials.
It is estimated that 17,784 agencies concerned with the enforcement of the law exists in United States all of which are mostly spread out throughout the state, local government as well as the federal (Ignatius, 2000). In addition, the local government is mainly concerned with offering law enforcement as well as policing services along with sheriffs departments and the local police. The country police, city, metropolitan police as well as the town departments form up what is known as the local police. The policing in France and United States have various positive aspects which could be termed as the advantages in these countries.
The centralized system in France has the advantage of ensuring smooth processes in carrying out of various duties by the police. The policing system in France also contains the aspect of order in carrying out the expected activities hence clash of conflicts of interest is minimized. The advantage of the United States policing system in the criminal justice concerns on the other hand too has a unified policing system which has the positive impact of creating harmony and unity among various departments since each department has its own designated role and duty to fully abide to it in its decision making processes.
However, the policing system in United States is a bit more bureaucratic hence causing delays in the way it carries out its activities and this leads to reduction in productivity. As concerns the court systems, United States court system is mainly divided into administrative systems that are separate from each other. They are the state and the federal systems and each of them can be said to be independent of the legislature and executive arms of the government. The Federal system could be viewed as less complicated as compared to the state system.
The judiciary in the federal is composed of three levels. The Federal district courts are found at the bottom and they have original jurisdiction as pertains majority of cases that exists in the federal law. The federal district court system is also consists of 92 districts with at least a single bench in every state and others in Puerto Rico and District of Columbia. Above the district courts lays United States courts of appeals that posses original jurisdiction over challenging cases such as exchange commission as well as securities.
Moreover, the Supreme Court is the highest federal system court in United States and it is the only one whose mandate lies with the constitution of the United States. The court (supreme court) is found in Washington D. D. and has also final jurisdiction on all heard cases and it may also review the decisions that are made by the court of appeals existing in United States, as well as choosing to hear any appeals that may be made coming from the state appellate courts but to limited cases such as interstate cases or cases implicating diplomats from other nations.
A group of courts is also maintained by the federal judiciary and they are charged with the responsibility of handling only certain forms of disputes but to a limited extent. Such courts include, federal claims courts (Ignatius, 2000). These courts mainly adjudicate claims that are monetary in nature against the tax court and the government of United States. However, the judges of the special courts normally do not serve for the entire part of their lives. In addition, the armed forces in United States have courts-martial that handle all cases that involve the personnel in the military service.
The state court systems of the United States on the other hand are diverse and this means that different states have different judiciaries. These states have also a hierarchically system of courts that is highly organized accompanied by a number of special courts. The inferior courts are the lowest levels of the state courts and this include municipal court, police court justice of the peace court, county courts and traffic courts charged with the responsibility of mainly handling criminal and civil cases that are the superior courts that handle offenses that are more serious.
They are often organized by availability countries as well as hearing inferior court’s appeals and lastly have original jurisdiction which concerns serious crimes and major civil suits. The nation’s most jury tricks trials take place at this level. On the other hand, the appellate courts are charged with the responsibility of hearing appeals emerging from superior courts and may in certain times posses jurisdiction on certain very essential cases. The state may also contain tribunals generally on courts levels that may be inferior such as the divorce court, probation court, housing court, family court as well as the small-claims court.
In France, the legal system that exists abides on the unity principle of the criminal justice as well as the civil system. This means that the civil and criminal cases can be heard by the same court (Ignatius, 2000). In addition, the authority by the judicial is mainly established by judiciary by title VIII of France’s constitution. France is also a civil law jurisdiction and its Nouveau code de procedure civile allows for a judge to adjudicate any instant case and precedent is not established but however, a growing number of case laws have been emerging from French courts.
In France, the jurisdiction of courts is a division of Lordre administratif also known as administrative courts and I’ordre judicaire referred to as ordinary courts. The Lordre administratif courts are a part of the branch of government known as the executive and are charged with the responsibility of handling disputes that are administrative in nature. The L’ordre judicaire courts on the other hand decide on criminal and civil cases unless there is the involvement of a state employee, the state itself or corporation (Ignatius, 2000). The case will only proceed to the I’ordre administrative if the above mentioned are involved.
The L’ordre judicaire courts are further broken down into tribunal de grande instance and tribunal d’instance both of which are concerned with the handling of civil cases. The other classification is the tribunal de police which handle cases that are serious in nature and lastly tribunal correctionnel that have jurisdiction united to criminal cases. Cour d’appel is charged with the responsibility of hearing appeal cases whereas criminal cases are referred to cour d’assises. The two lower judicial courts in France are the civil courts and the criminal courts.
The civil courts are mainly concerned with judging conflicts that might arise between persons whereas the criminal courts are concerned with minor infractions, as well as serious offenses that are committed and are against the law. Moreover, there are also other special commercial courts consisting of judges who are elected amongst themselves by manufacturers and tradesmen so as to be able to decide on commercial cases among others. Therefore, the judiciary in France is not linked to the legislative and executive branches of the government.
This judiciary is a subject of the European Union mandates involved in guiding national law. The court systems of the United States and France also have positive implications. Both of them are well structured with clearly defined roles hence enabling clear separation of powers and this results in the processes in which various tasks are conducted. The disadvantage is that systems in both countries constitute many subdivisions that may lead to the delays in the prosecution processes in cases of appeals (Hodgson, 2005). Examining the corrections system in France, they mainly exist in five forms of Penal institutions.
It is the Central Houses that are charged with the responsibility of receiving offenders who posses a sentence that exceeds one year in prison. The other center that is charged with the responsibility of receiving offenders although in this case who have long sentences to serve is the Detention centers. However, these Detention centers aim towards re-socializing criminal offenders. The stop Houses on the other hand receive those offenders who have one year as their serving sentence. A hybrid of the stop Houses are the Penitiary centers and they receive offenders who have short and long sentences (Hodgson, 2005).
In addition, semi-liberty centers hold offenders servicing short periods, of sentences and can be released to go to school, work, medical treatment as well as professional training. The affiliation of the prison administration in France is with the Minister of Justice and this encompasses central administration service and other services which are exterior. Paris is where the prison exterior services are located. The exterior services mainly operate at the local and regional levels under reintegration, general administration, applications of decisions that are judicial in nature and lastly human resources (Hodgson, 2005).
The penalty application commission allows inmates to apply for early release. Concerning incarceration, the reduction period cannot exceed seven days per month. The reduction in time than inmates serve is only permitted the inmates complete a university degree or if they pass an examination in prisons but the incarceration in this case can’t exceed two months. Those prisoners with longer sentences to serve are also given an opportunity for parole and the total time reduction in incarceration in this case are less than twenty days of incarceration or a month per year.
In addition, inmates are not under any obligation to work. The prisoners are also provided with statutory conditions, allowed to have family contacts and may also be allowed to leave their confinements for a while in cases of death of their relatives. The process of rehabilitating inmates is carried out with social workers, prison visitors, educators and a number of clergy from various religious (Hodgson, 2005). The prison systems in United States on the other hand are composed of the operations from the state and federal governments. In carceration in United States holds a major concurrent power in the constitution.
Punishment is mostly applied for any felony offenses that are committed. Offenders who have committed lesser offences may receive short-term sentences say in a local jail or they may also receive other forms of sanctions as alternative sentences. These sanctions may include probation, community corrections or reinstitution. Prisons are mainly operated at several levels of security that range from Supermax facilities that retain terrorists and famous criminals. To the minimum-security prisons charged with the responsibility of housing offenders who are non-violent (Neubauer, 2004).
The incarceration rates that exist in United States are among the highest in the world since many people in United States are behind bars. The facilities that are used in the confinement of prisoners are found in states, federal government and countries and it is the judge who is responsible for passing on a sentence to a person who has committed crime. The duration of the prison sentence in United States depends on factors such as sentencing guidelines of the federal, severity of the committed crime and the discretion of the judge which is personal. However, these factors vary from one state to another.
The convictions of crime in United States mostly emerge from plea bargains and the sentencing schemes that are available in United States are the determinate sentencing and the indeterminate sentencing. Lastly in some states people are eligible to parole whereas in others they are not. The security levels vary from one facility to another in terms of inmates’ administration, housing, weapons and means that corrections officers apply to inmates (Neubauer, 2004). The corrections systems that exist in France and United States have similar policies but differ slightly in the way the inmates are handled by their governments.
However, both systems enhance good governance of the inmates. The advantage of the French corrections system is that it offers parole to its inmates and it does not largely advocates for life imprisonment. It also offers opportunities such as education and working schemes to its inmates. In conclusion, the criminal justice systems that exist worldwide is a vital tool that is helpful in the establishment of social order as regards controlling existing behaviors and a balance needs to attained between the punishment that is offered to the guilty persons as well as protection offered to the innocent.
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