Criminal law is used to protect the public rights by defining crime and setting procedures for arrests and trials. It also defines punishments for the law-breakers and “…seeks to protect society as a whole” (Davenport, 2009). Normal everyday citizens are not strangers to these definitions, which helps as deterrence for committing crimes. Criminals who have gone through prison should feel deterred from going back and the same goes for other penalties implemented by our justice system. “Traditional sentencing options have included imprisonment, fines, probation, and – for very serious offenses – death” (Schmalleger, 2011).
The specific function of criminal law is to maintain law, resolve disputes, protect individuals and property, provide for a smooth functioning society, and safeguard civil liberties. There are several sources of criminal law including common law, constitutional law, statutes and ordinances, administrative rules with criminal penalties, and appellate court decision.
“The English law imported by the colonies was generally referred to as the ‘common law.’ Since the common law of England was, for the most part, based upon the decisions of judges in particular cases, it was sometimes also referred to as ‘judge-made’ laws” (Mack, 1999). Common law was originally created by judges for ruling certain actions were crimes against the state. When common law was created some of those crimes included murder, rape, arson, and burglary. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all state laws and constitution are subordinate. Any laws that are contrary to the U.S. Constitution are notwithstanding and the U.S. Supreme Court can strike them down as unconstitutional.
I believe in retribution and most courts agree that the punishment should fit the crime. I may not believe in the saying “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” but the concept of a person being punished for crimes committed a just belief. The Supreme Court will appeal decisions that they feel is unconstitutional.
I also trust that a person who has committed a crime or crimes can be rehabilitated. Once a citizen is rehabilitated they are susceptible to commit crime if they are not reintegrated back into society correctly. For example if a convict gets out of prison and can’t find a job because people won’t hire him/her for the reason that they were a criminal they