Essay Example: Theories and Models of Criminal Justice

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1575 Words
Date:  2021-04-14

The first competency is the analysis of the models and theories of criminal justice system. The systems consist of three theories. The first is rehabilitative; the second is retributive and the ultimate one restorative. This section of the paper will cover two theories as areas of learning and their conceptualization in careers. The retributive theory holds the optimism and belief that humans are good in the inward and therefore jail cells are constructed so that the wrongdoer can be silent in there and think of the wrongs he has committed. This theory imagines that while in there, the person is transformed spiritually and they get rehabilitated while the restorative theory works to bring back and reincorporate wrongdoers back to their homes after their prison term ends. It holds the belief that the correct rehabilitation is effective during the time when a person from prison is let back into the community and combines both rehabilitative and retributive theories. Its main aims include preventing future and criminals of the past from perpetrating crimes because the failure of obeying the law results to incarceration. Secondly, it incapacitates the perpetrator from putting others in danger; thirdly the criminal is punished by staying in jail with a restricted life. Lastly, they are let into the societies. The importance of these two areas of learning is the fact that at the end of the day the offenders get the right kind of correction for an effective criminal justice system (Lochner, 2007).

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Explain the Structure of the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is a crucial segment in a state that incorporates all the factions of government. Laws that address crimes and the punishments for the crimes must be made. The laws must then be put into force, and the magistrates and judges must have an authority that appoints them to the office. Those are areas of learning in this second competency. The functions mentioned above are carried out by the legislature, judiciary and executive branches of the government. The staff in the system of criminal justice are a wide range. There are those who are active participants in coming up with punishments for wrong doing and then the others offer support services. The faction that is actively involved in coming up with sentences for crimes includes supreme court judges, appellate, judges assigned to specific areas and finally the local magistrate (Terrill, 2012). The attorneys and lawyers in their part give defense and prosecutorial services but dependent on whether they represent the accused or the plaintiff. The paralegals and the police offer services of legal support and investigation respectively. The magistrate is an individual among the workers serving the system, but his scope concerning the kind of cases that he or she should handle are determined by the government. Despite the fact that the duties of a magistrate are limited, he or she is supposed to hold the integrity of the highest level because they have to come across ethical considerations. These areas of learning enable the different working groups to do the right thing as the law requires in the administration of justice.

The Processing of Criminal Court Cases

The third competency is that of processing of criminal court cases. Crimes are put into two categories. Misdemeanors and felonies. A felony described as a wrongdoing that leads to the jailing of one or more years in jail or any other kind of enclosed facility (Spohn, 2009). In the United States, there are various types of felonies, and they include non-grid felonies, off-grid felonies, non-drug felonies and drug felonies. Nongrid felonies are usually about battery in domestic areas or driving while intoxicated. Off grid felonies, on the other hand, have the offenders sentenced to a life sentence and are normally related to child sex crimes and murder. Drug felonies consist of sale, manufacture, use and possession of illegal drugs.

The moment a suspect is under arrest, a defense lawyer is assigned to the individual if he or she lacks the ability to afford one. He is the attorney that acts, presents and advises the defendant in court cases or proceedings after conviction (Marcus & Backus, 2006). During an arraignment, this lawyer appears with the accused whereby the accused either pleads not guilty, guilty or no contest. In case the accused pleads not guilty to the allegations, the defense attorney becomes a representative of the defendant through the different phases of the court process.

Being a representative of the defendant, the attorney goes procuring evidence to prevent the defendant from conviction. On the other hand, the prosecutor puts up a spirited effort to have the offender convicted. This prosecutor can be viewed as a lawyer who represents the state, and his aim is to get a conviction in a court of law against the accused. The police, whose responsibility is to investigate then file the arrest paperwork which the prosecutor reviews and goes through state legislation to decide whether the arrested individual deserves a formal charge with the crime.

Serious crimes such as terrorism and murder do not have a limitations statute. These statutes are state and federal laws that come up with time periods for which a criminal or civil action must be acted upon (Douglas et al. 2013). The purpose of these laws is to make sure that the accused received a fair chance for rebuttal of the claim. The prosecuting attorney continues to analyze the files, and they may contact law enforcement and ask that more investigations are done. During this period, it could be possible to chide the prosecuting attorney into charging the offender with a lesser charge or not filing charges at all.

The charge is then filed and the number of appearances determined by the case type. An appearance in court is defined as the act of going to court to prosecute or defend a case and to make an appearance and register with the court that the accused has the intention to put up a defense for an action. The initial court appearance is the arraignment whereby it is carried out in a court which has the jurisdiction for hearing the criminal case. The defendant's identity is established when a court of law arraigns an individual. Statutory and Constitutional rights are then made known to him after the charges are read out. At this point in the process, bail terms can be agreed.

The accused then enters a plea which differentiates the first appearance of a defender from arraignment. It is impossible for an arraignment process to take place until the prosecutor prepares a set of charges in writing. For a serious crime, the prosecutor has to call upon a grand jury before bringing charges upon a defendant. The suspect is then convicted of the wrongdoing, and the process of sentencing can begin.

In practice, the law makes use of certain factors to decide how a convicted felon should be punished. They include the history of the defendant and how severe the crime is. The different kinds of sentences are probation, restitution, fines, imprisonment and capital punishment. A bad criminal past leads to severe punishment.

Also, the judiciary has no discretion when it comes to following these guidelines. The guidelines for sentencing provide the workers in the criminal justice system an overview of presumed felony punishments. The moment an individual is convicted of a crime, by being found guilty in trial or pleading guilty, the magistrate orders for an investigation before the sentencing and gets the finding from probation officers.

Analysis of the Criminal Justice Issues

The fourth and last competency is the criminal justice issues whose areas of learning include crowding of prisons and alternative sentences for drug felonies. Every criminal justice system is a reflection of a society and the times of the society. Social trends and public sentiment are influential on the acts that are considered criminal and the appropriate methods of punishment. Dynamic circumstances also change the pressure exerted on the system. Economic conditions also shape issues in the system of criminal justice.

Prison crowding is among the most pressing criminal justice issues in the United States. The crowding is attributed to minimal prison space for which the answer remains the construction of more correction facilities. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the globe (Liptak, 2008). They have one in every hundred citizens under the watch of the criminal justice system. The high rate of jailing is also attributed to the stipulated minimum sentences for crimes associated with drugs.

A high jail population comes with enormous running costs which have necessitated a majority of administrative bodies in the prisons to eliminate or cut drug education and treatment initiatives. These areas of learning have come up with the solution of making the public committed to drug treatment rather than throwing offenders in jail. The solutions include programs for court diversions, justice boards in the community and other options for sentencing.


Douglas, J., Burgess, A. W., Burgess, A. G., & Ressler, R. K. (2013). Crime classification manual: A standard system for investigating and classifying violent crime. John Wiley & Sons.

Liptak, A. (2008). 1 in 100 US adults behind bars, new study says. New York Times, 28.

Lochner, L. (2007). Individual perceptions of the criminal justice system. The American Economic Review, 97(1), 444-460.

Marcus, P., & Backus, M. S. (2006). The Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases, A National Crisis.

Spohn, C. (2009). How do judges decide?: the search for fairness and justice in punishment. Sage.

Terrill, R. J. (2012). World criminal justice systems: A comparative survey. Routledge.


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