Prison and Criminal Justice Essay

Submitted By Brandon-Welch
Words: 2685
Pages: 11

Section 1 The American criminal system, as it stands today is a very dynamic system. It is made up of components that function together and more so on a reactive basis towards each other. These sub-divisions of the criminal justice system are grouped into three fields that almost directly affect each other inside the American justice process, which are the police, courts, and the corrections system. In this paper we will take a look and review not just how each of these systems operate, but also how they co-exist with each other. We then will review a number of difficulties and problems that each of these systems handle and deal with on a day-to-day basis. These problems range from, the uncertainty of the use-of-force continuum in the police field, to the dilemma of the ineffectiveness of the court system in the courts, all the way to what some say, “the end of the justice system” to corrections concerning what can be done with our aging inmate population. As we wrap up we will address and speculate on offender type that seems to be an old problem but yet is becoming an ever increasing difficulty to handle in the corrections system; the mentally ill. First of all the police, in a general sense, is a force of sworn officers trained to protect the community and in a more direct sense serve the city they operate in. Police departments all across the nation act to protect citizens but more importantly precincts and departments are organized in jurisdictions so that they may operate more efficiently. Another way to view the police is that when comparing this division to the other two (courts and corrections), they are the entrance into the criminal justice system. They also act as a first line of defense, or the “front line soldiers” when combatting criminal activity. When we look further inside this field we see a very structured system. The key word that should be emphasized is structure. Apart of any police department is divisions and even sub-divisions. Within these divisions are specializations upon which have a certain specialty and/or direct duty in serving the city they are a part of. As the text explains “Specialization produces different groups of functional responsibilities, and the jobs allocated to meet these different responsibilities are held by people who are considered to be especially well qualified to perform those jobs.” (Peak, pg. 62) These specialties includes a variety of categories such as canine unit, explosives unit, gang and drug enforcement and many more. Although there are many and sometimes dozens of specialty divisions inside a department, a majority of the personnel serve in the patrol division.
The individual that manages and oversees all the operations and personnel of the police department is known as the chief of police. Following down in the chain of command is the captains and lieutenants. Captains in most departments are in control of whole divisions which have multiple sub-categories underneath it. Within these sub-categories, or specialty fields, are lieutenants that supervise that particular sub-field. An example would be a lieutenant inside a mounted patrol unit. That particular lieutenant supervises all of the officers within that specific sub-division. As following the chain of command the patrol officer serves the desk sergeant, who serves the lieutenant, who serves the captain, and the captain serves the chief of police.
The police protect the community and also serve it by apprehending suspects. Once the offender has been arrested and if their case is brought to trial they will enter a courtroom. The court system in the United States is grouped into two categories; courts on the state level and courts on the federal or national level. Most of the court system on the state level is conducted through the lower courts of “limited jurisdiction”. Major trials which are uncommon are conducted on the terms of “general jurisdiction” and…