Essay Sample - Criminal Justice Organization Structure

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1168 Words
Date:  2021-04-02

Organizational structures are the various level of management deemed with the responsibility of policy making which the members of that organization must follow to the later. There are different body structures within which a given organization may operate. The difference in the body structure is based on the operations of an organization, its mission, and vision statements. There are also external forces which determine the body structure of a given organization. Environmental conditions (political, legal and technological), as well as public demands, are some of this external forces that determine an organization's organizational structure.

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There are different types of organizational structures being used by various agencies. Some of these different organizational structures include open organizational structures as well as closed organizational structures (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). The closed organizational structure takes the form of a pyramid. There is an authoritative leader at the top and other officers below him with a lower rank and then rank order flows down to the last member of the organization who has the least rank. In this structure, information takes the vertical form; it flows from the leader at the top down to the members of the group and vice versa (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). Here the leader has the privilege of keeping certain information as access to some of this information is a symbol of power (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). One advantage this kind of structure enjoys is like its certainty in positions of leadership as well as the responsibilities (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). Certainty in responsibility distribution helps members using this type of structure to effectively deliver their services. It is faced with the drawback of its inability to possess the capacity to change as well as its lack of structural mobility (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). Its lack of structural mobility is its major drawback. However, in an open organizational structure, the non-hierarchical form is taken. Of this type, there are no restrictions to the membership as anyone who agrees with the charter of the organization can subscribe to that group (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). This means that it is open for all who wish to join the organisation with this type of structure. It takes an all-rounded form of communication; vertical, horizontal, from inside the organization to the outside and vice versa (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). In substitution to hierarchy as in the closed organizational system, the open corporate system has work groups (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). These work groups operate on the principle of trust to one another so as to achieve the organizations objective. Each group has its charter that guides its operation and still coincides with the organizations charter. As opposed to closed organizational structure, this one possesses the capacity to change and that it has structural mobility (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). Another advantage this type of organization structure has is the ease with which access and flow of information is enabled. Better still, uncertainty in positions and responsibilities is its major drawback (Knutsen & Brock, 2014).

Different criminal justice agencies apply different organizational structures in their mode of operation based on their functions. The correction agency, for instance, uses a closed organization structure for efficiency in the conduction of its duties. In the correction agency, the director, who is appointed by the governor, takes the top position and the rest of the officials follow who are named differently work under him. Information such as orders, notices and directives on task performance come from him as the head and is passed to the various officials on him to the point the data is destined to reach. This type of structure is advantageous to the correction agency since the different officers under the director understand the significance of rank and heed to every instruction given by him. Better still, information stored with the commissioner and other top officials is kept secret from the public since their leakage to the public may lead to increased criminal activities.

Question two

Environmental Factors Affecting Operation of a Law Enforcement Agency

Different factors may influence the functioning of a law enforcement agency. These factors are grouped as either external or internal (Dunham & Alpert, 2015). Some of the external factors include environmental factors and that they affect the institution in various ways. There are different forms in which environmental factors affect the operation of law enforcement agency, and they include legal environment and external resources.

The legal context is a major environmental factor affecting the law enforcement agency (Dunham & Alpert, 2015). The Canadian police, for instance, have the responsibility of policing. However, according to the common law, they can only enforce the law but not charge someone. Section 4 of the Youth Offence Act (YOA) implies that a youth has the right to alternative corrective measures provided that they accept the commission of the offense for which they are accused by the law enforcers. This is a clear indication of how the legal environment affects the operation of the law enforcement agency since a convicted youth may admit to an offence committed just to be released. The youth ends up not getting punished for their wrong. Here the correct action to be taken by the law enforcers is not followed due to provisions in the law.

External resources also affect the operations of the law enforcing agencies significantly (Dunham & Alpert, 2015). The availability of a wide range of public and private resources as an alternative to formal processing influences a police officer's decision on whether to apply discretion rather than the youth court. On application of discretion; then the right processes of handling a case wold not have been followed. This factor is a clear indication of how their operations are affected by external resources. In addition to that, research shows that an example of the type of external resource affecting the operations of the law enforcement officers is, Section 69 of the YOA allows for the formation of Youth Justice Committees (YJCs). These committees increase the number of youth cases being dealt with by the police officers since they take a restorative justice approach in handling cases.

In conclusion, both the legal environment and the external sources are factors that hinder efficient operation of law enforcement agencies. The legal context offers legislation that counters the responsibilities police officers are supposed to be delivering as it allows for criminals to opt for alternative corrective measures and external sources provide for alternative ways in which cases can be handled and also influence a police officers decision on whether to use the court or discretion thus affecting the functions of the law enforcement agencies. This and many other environmental factors hinder the operations of the law enforcers and are a matter that should be put into consideration with utmost urgency to ensure justice prevails.


Knutsen, W. L., & Brock, K. L. (2014). Introductory essay: From a closed system to an open system: A parallel critical review of the intellectual trajectories of publicness and nonprofitness. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25(5), 1113-1131.

Dunham, R. G., & Alpert, G. P. (2015). Critical issues in policing: Contemporary readings. Waveland Press.

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