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The Problems Of Criminal Justice System In The USA

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The formation of the US Criminal Justice system dates back decades ago to the Colonial time period. At that time; the foundation, laws, and punishment all came from the tactics in which the British had used. Often times, the punishments that came with breaking laws were not always just and fair to the indiviual who broke them law; and needless to say some of the same laws and forms of punishment is still used in the modern day Criminal Justice world. The Criminal Justice system is known to be a set of agencies and proccesses put in place by the governement to control crimal and to impose penalties on those who violet and continously violate the law. In the United States, we are known to have individual systems. How each indiviual system works is continguante upon not only the state in which the law was broken in but also the nature of the crime- and whether it can be cateorgized as a state crime or a federal crime.

As stated earlier, the US criminal justice system is compromised by many different indivdiual systems within each jurisdiction: city, county, state, federal, and military. The criminal justice systems are composed of three major branches: law enforment, courts (prosecutors, defense, judges, etc.), and corrections. Each brand is set up to be able to function independently and/or in collabration with one another- even across different jurisdictions and state lines. Acorss the board, the main goal of the crimial justice field would be to prevent crime, protect the public, support victims of crime, hold perpetrators accountable, and lastly to help offernderes return to society as law-abiding citizens.

But in recent years, many citizens have been questioning if the practies and the punishments used in today’s society are just and fair to treatment as well as punishment while going through the criminal justice system. The current form of the criminal justice system in the United States typically involves a police foruce, a court and/or prison system, and some form of Rehabilitation measures. An offender is first introducd to the system by having some form of run in with a police officer, next the offender is booked and jailed and then brough to an appearance in the courts; where disputes are brought to a settlement and justice is adminsitered here. (US Legal, 2017). Following is the prison system; although it was not adopted until the late 19th century and early 20th century, according to (US Legal, 2017) the American prison system was the first system to offer the option for courts to imprison criminals on the state and federal level.

According to the book, Understanding Public Policy (Dye, Thomas R.) crime is known to be the central problem confronting our society today. One way that the criminal justice system is known as “detterence”. The main goal of detterence is to make the cost of commiting crimes far greater than any benefits potential cirminals might derieve from their acts. It is also stated that currently in 2019, the rate of crime has decreased but the incareration rate has increased. It is stated in the book that it is unclear whether the stricter sentencing policies are responsible for the Nations recente delcime in crime rates. Many believe that the recent decline in crime rate is based off the fact that the econonmy is booming right now due to the low unemployement rates.

Police and Law Enforcement is one of the big three branches in the United States criminal justice system. It is often the first interaction an individual has that introduces them to the system. According to the book, Understanding Public Policy (Dye, Thomas R.) the principal responsibility for law enforcement in America continues to rest upon state and local governments. Although the role of the federal governement in law enforcement is growing, state and local goverments continue to carry the major burdens of police protection, judical systems, and prisons and parole programs. On a larger scale, the Federal Department of Justice employs about 115,000 people in all law enforcement activities, combined with about 1.6 million state and local government law enforcement and corrections personnel.

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In today’s society it is no secret that there is room for improvement when it comes to the process of the criminal justice system. But the question is how do we go about making these improvements? here will always be crimes committed in the world. According to the textbook (Dye, Thomas R. ) crime is measured on a general scale by the FBI crime report program. So in a way crime in inevitable, there is no real way to prevent crime. But I do believe that one way to improve the criminal justice system is to improve the standard of living. Poverty is one of the biggest reasons why crime is committed. In the American criminal justice system, wealth shapes mmajority of the outcomes. Minorities are usually the citizens that struggle from poverty; giving them an unfair disadvantage at every step in the system- that was built to the rich and guilt better than the poor and the innocent.

According to the article, “US: Criminal Justice System Fuels Poverty Cycle”, the governement at all levels should act to prevent the criminal justice system from punishing those who are in poverty and futhering impoverishing the poor, but instead it does the exact opposite. ThThe United Nations special rapporteur (Alston, Phillip), reported that the criminal justice system is effectively a system for keeping the poor in poverty while generating the revenue. The United States is made up of many jurisdictions that rely on the fees and fines for revenues for the criminal justice system and for other programs. As a result, this has led to an increase in fees across the country and a more aggressive tactic to collect such fees, which may or may not result in undeserved jail time. Needless to say, with the size of the United States of the criminal justice system, and the race that makes up the majority of the criminal justice system, this puts an unfair burden on the large numbers of communities of color and people who suffer from the criminal justice system.

Another problem that the criminal justice system faces is the money bail system- which is used in almost every US state. The money bail system requires people to pay to secure their release from jail prior to trial. Throughout the nation, almost half a million innocent citizens sit in a cell becuase they cannot afford bail. As a result of sitting in jail because one can not afford bail the consequences of that are loss of employement which leads to an inability to pay rent, a criminal record, and maybe a deeper desitution. In addition to the money bond system, there are bail bond corportation that charge high fees and interest; as well as private supervision and collection companies. Even woth the US most widely used alternative to money bail system- this still leads to a path of concern. Pretrail risk assessment tools that rely on formulas may replicate existing societal racial as well as class biases, that projects a false venner of objectivity. With the lack of transparency this opens a door for political manipulation as well as an open of concerns for the process of due process.

According to a study held in 2018 by the Brookings Institution, half of the people in prison had no income, and less than 10% made $25,000 or more in one year over the same period. In another study that was conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the results that were conducted from this study confirmed 83% of the formely incarcerated people are more than likely to be repeat offenders within 9 years following their release date from the state or federal prison and that four years after being relased, little more than half of the formerly incarcerated people have no income- just how they did not have any income prior to being incarcertated.

It is without a doubt that poverty is one of the leading causes of the increase of incarcertation across the nation. But the real question remains at large; how can we take what we know about the effects of poverty and apply it to the improvement of the criminal justice system? What policies could be put in place to stop those who are stuck in poverty to be victims of criminilzation. The first solution to putting an end to the criminilization of povety is to first create a policy that is put in place to elimiates the wrongful jailing of not being able to pay court fee’s and fines and excessive bail. Those who can’t pay court fee’s are more than likely in the same predicment for paying their bail, so generally speaking, what would be the point of making them pay?

Another solution to eliminate the criminilzation of court poverty would be to consider “time served” as time served and put an end to private probation. By definition, private probation is known as the contacting on probation; which includes rehabilitation services, supervision, . In some states, more particulary, Georgia and Alabama, people are placed on probation that are often under for-profit companies, as a result of failure to pay traffic fines or misdemanors. Though this is saving administrators cost, this is hurting those of the lower economic class because they are exspected to may excessively high fee’s or face being reincarcirated.When courts fail to afford counsel to people facing jail time for nonpayment, they may face the violations of constitutional rights. As a result of privatization of misdemeanor probation, it has allowed for-profit companies to act essentially as collection agencies for law enforcement authority. Needless to say, these companies main focus is on profit rather than the public’s safety or rehabilitatio; they also provide no case management and little to no supervision of the offender. The underlying issues of unemployment, poverty, lack of housing, and family instability more than likely go undressed.

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The Problems Of Criminal Justice System In The USA. (2021, August 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“The Problems Of Criminal Justice System In The USA.” Edubirdie, 24 Aug. 2021,
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