Criminal Justice System Essay

Submitted By Tnerb1989
Words: 896
Pages: 4

Criminal Justice System xxxxxxx CJA/204
January xxth, xxxx xxxxxxxx Criminal Justice System The criminal justice system is one of the most important tools available to a society to help control and prevent anti-social behavior. The structure of the criminal justice system is split between the police departments, courts, and corrections. Each component of the criminal justice system plays a part in an individual’s experience with the criminal justice system. There are different theories and assumptions that are involved to determine why an individual commits a crime. Each agency in the criminal justice system work together to obtain a common goal. Crime can be defined as “conduct in violation of the criminal laws of the state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction, for which there is no legally acceptable justification or excuse” (University of Phoenix, 2011). There are many factors that can contribute to what is defined as a crime such as the time of day, where an individual lives, or the reasons behind the behavior. However, there are some behaviors that society believes to be criminal regardless of such factors. Law is a set of regulations, rules and principles by which a society is run, and crime can be defined as an act forbidden by law, to which a punishment has been attached. Two common models that are used to determine which acts are considered criminal are the consensus model and the conflict model. The consensus model is when the majority of people within a society share the same fundamental values and beliefs. If an individual deviates from the established behavior, it threatens the well-being of the society, and they must be punished. In a conflict model, criminal acts are determined by groups that hold economic, political and social power in the community. Depending on what group has the most power, is how they determine what activities or behaviors are considered criminal. There are different theories on which an individual commits a crime. The theories of the classical school of crime believe crime is caused by an individual’s free will and that pain and pleasure are two determinants of human behaviors. Psychological theories of crime believe crimes result from inappropriate conditioned behavior and defective, or abnormal mental processes may be the cause. There are three primary structures to the criminal justice system. The police department’s primary responsibility is to enforce laws, maintain order and protect and serve citizens in need. The courts are for individuals who are accused of a crime and tried in front of a jury of their peers or a judge. Courts are in place to find the truth and provide justice to individuals who have been a victim of a crime. Corrections come after the court process and the role the corrections agencies play is to rehabilitate and punish those convicted of a crime. The process begins when a crime is discovered. The police investigate a possible crime, gather evidence and attempt to recreate the crime. After the police have determined a crime has happened and found the suspect that is responsible, an arrest warrant is issued by a judge. After a suspect is arrested they will be taken to booking for fingerprinting, have their picture taken, and personal information gathered. Suspects will then be brought in front of a judge for their initial appearance to hear their charges, be advised of their rights, and have may have the opportunity for bail. The preliminary hearing is next to see if there is enough evidence for