Most if not all of our criminal justice issues originates from outside of the courthouse and beyond the judge’s bench. Our system of justice has been devised to enforce the laws of our cities, states and federal government and as such we have in essence three categories accessible for contemplation within our justice system. From each of these components we branch out with subunits.
The first branch component which we encounter is the policing agencies or the law enforcement component. This category embraces the local police officers and individual detectives who formulate the police department and their chief of police or the sheriff. These are the professionals who are accountable for locating and capturing the individuals who have broken the laws. The law enforcement personnel hold the responsibility for apprehending the offender, establishing crucial allegations against the perpetrator and for gathering evidence to ensuring a case will be robust enough when presented in court. While awaiting his or her trial the person is likely to be placed in a jail cell until they are scheduled to appear before the judge.
The second component of our justice system is the judiciary division or the court itself. This includes the judges, the prosecutor, the defense attorneys and if necessary the juries. Their combined responsibility is to ensure that the accused individual is provided a fair and impartial trial. The judges will hear the case and preside over the court ensuring that all the established laws are adhered to. Many minor cases may merely be presided over by a judge. However, in the event of a high-profile case a jury of 12 citizens will be selected to determine the accused guilt or innocence based upon the facts presented within the trial. In selected cases the jury may make recommendations as to a viable sentence but the judge will ultimately decide the actual sentence. If sentenced for a crime the individual can receive one of several forms of punishment. These punishments can take the form of fines, probation, house arrest, public service or prison. If placed on probation a court appointed probation officer will be assigned to them. This person would be responsible for knowing exactly where the offender is at all times. He periodically checks to ensure the offender meets all scheduled appointments and carries out the rules for his release. If the crime is substance abuse related the person may be required to attend specific classes as part of their release agreement.
Our third component consists of the corrections division. After being judged guilty of a crime in a court of law the offender is placed in the custody of the various corrections authorities. As so aptly suggested punishment is a necessary part of social life for those who break the rules of society thus this fraction of our justice system upholds and administers the sentence handed down from the judges and the juries. The corrections component will include the jails and prisons along with the warden and the correctional officers who overseer the prisoners behavior while in prison. An assortment of probation and parole officers will be assigned to the person upon their release from the prison. These individuals are assigned the task to ensure that the punishment and its stipulations are effectively carried out.
Copyright @2012 Joseph Parish