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The Criminal Justice System: An Overview PowerPoint PPT Presentation

The Criminal Justice System: An Overview Fundamentals of Criminology Dr. Lydia Voigt Components of Criminal Justice Components of Criminal Justice The Criminal Justice System Police Courts Corrections American Criminal Justice in Historical Perspective

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The criminal justice system an overview l.jpg

The Criminal Justice System: An Overview

Fundamentals of Criminology

Dr. Lydia Voigt

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Components of

Criminal Justice

Components of Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice System




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American Criminal Justice in Historical Perspective

Gradual organizational changes in the CJ system have been brought about by increased urbanization, increases in the incidence of crime, and the expansion of due process rules and procedures.

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The Criminal Justice System: Discretion at All Levels:

  • Police: - whether to make an arrest or not

  • Prosecutors – whether to reduce charges against alleged offenders

  • Judges – whether to set sentences within some minimum and maximum range of punishments

  • Correction personnel – whether to assign offenders to specific types of facilities, award privileges, or punish disciplinary infractions

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Police Work and Law Enforcement

  • History of Police

    The English legacy: The London Metropolitan Police Act – 1829

    Early American Police agencies: New York City police force – 1845

    Current characteristics of the police force

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Role of the Police

  • Maintain public order

  • Provide community service

  • Enforce criminal and traffic law

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Maintaining Public Order

  • Police intervene when public order has been breached (e.g., crowd control, break-up fights, manage traffic after accident).

  • Peacekeeping function allows wide personal discretion in how actual or threatened breaches to public peace are managed.

  • Emphasis is on creating a sense of safety and security.

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Providing Community Service

  • Police officers devote considerable time to such things as transporting the sick to hospitals, finding lost children, giving first aid, helping stranded motorists, giving road directions, etc.

  • 70-80% of police calls are service related (Jerome Skolnick and David Bayley, The New Blue Line (1986))

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Enforcing the Criminal Law

  • Police officers exercise their power to sanction the breach of criminal laws by giving warnings, making arrests, issuing traffic citations, or searching for and collecting evidence of crimes.

  • Police in crime-fighting role have been described as gatekeepers of the CJ system, because their discretionary power can have life-altering consequences for citizens.

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Issues in Policing

Among the occupational hazards of the police is the contradiction embedded within the police mandate to achieve maximum order within the framework of maximum legality.

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Police Effectiveness and Reform

  • Foot patrol

  • Community-oriented policing

  • Problem-oriented policing

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Foot Patrol

  • Contributes to improved police-community relations by virtue of “personalizing” the police presence in the community, and to improved morale and job satisfaction among patrol officers

  • Police foot patrols deter crimes simply being visible

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Community-Oriented Policing

  • Foot patrol implemented

  • Elicit citizen cooperation

  • Public safety

  • Order maintenance

  • Inter-agency cooperation (schools, churches, social services)

  • Identify neighborhood problems and needs

  • Set a course of action for an effective response

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Problem-Oriented Policing

  • Community-oriented, problem-solving approach

  • Emphasis on identifying, assessing, and addressing crime-related community issues

  • Crackdowns – involves targeting a particular problem area and reallocating resources

  • Hot-spots – focusing on high crime rate locations, e.g., bars, malls bus depot, certain neighborhoods

  • Stages: scanning,analysis, andresponse

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Role of the Courts

  • To seek truth & obtain justice

  • To adjudicate & sentence

  • Consists of:

    • lower courts

    • superior courts

    • appellate courts

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Prosecution and Defense

  • Opponents in an adversarial system

  • Prosecutor represents the people

  • Defense represents the accused

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The Criminal Justice Process

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Juvenile Justice System

Clients are:Delinquents (juveniles who commit crime)

Children in Need of Supervision(Abandoned, abused children)

Status Offenders

(truants, runaways, incorrigible or unmanageable juveniles)

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Outcome of 1,000 Serious Cases

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The Common Law: Historical Roots

Formal law in the colonies was adopted from existing English law, which today is known as common law.

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U.S. Criminal Law Systems


  • Common law crimes

  • Statutes

  • Court decisions

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More serious than misdemeanor

Punishable by death or imprisonment in a penitentiary


A less serious crime

Punishable by fine, probation, community service, or jail time (less than a year)

Comparison of Felony and Misdemeanors

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Procedural Law

Procedural laws control the action of the agencies of justice and define the rights of criminal defendants.

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Bill of Rights

  • First ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Purpose is to prevent government from usurping the personal freedom of citizens.

  • Applied to state actions through the use of the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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Exclusionary Rule

  • The Exclusionary Rule is not in the Constitution. It is the product of the United State Supreme Court.

  • The rule disallows illegally obtained evidence at trial, and effectively enforces clauses of the 4th Amendment.

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The “Handcuffing” Impact of the Exclusionary Rule

  • Research evidence indicates that only a tiny fraction of felony cases (between 1% and 3%) are dismissed or lost because of exclusions based on Miranda or search and seizure violations (e.g., C. Uchida and T. Bynum. “Search Warrants, Motions to Suppress and ‘Lost Cases’ : The Effects of the Exclusionary Rule in Seven Jurisdictions.” Journal of CriminalLaw and Criminology 1991 (81): 1034-1066

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Fifth Amendment

  • Deals with admissibility of illegally obtained confessions and self-incrimination.

  • Miranda v Arizona governs custodial interrogations.

  • Contains double jeopardy clause.

  • Contains “Due process” as it applies to the federal government.

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Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

  • You have the right to remain silent.

  • It you decide to make a statement, the statement can and will be used against you in a court of law.

  • You have the right to have an attorney present at the time of the interrogation, or you will have an opportunity to consult with an attorney.

  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you by the state.

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Sixth Amendment

  • Right to speedy and public trial

  • Right to impartial jury

  • Right to be informed of charges

  • Right to confront adverse witnesses

  • Right to be provided assistance of counsel

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Fourteenth Amendment

Used to hold states to similar standards

as the federal government.

Theories of


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Procedural Safeguards of Due Process

  • Notice of charges

  • A formal hearing

  • The right to counsel or other representation

  • The opportunity to respond to charges

  • The opportunity to confront or cross-examine witnesses

  • Freedom from self-incrimination

  • Opportunity to present own witnesses

  • Decision based on substantial evidence and facts

  • Written statement of reason for decision

  • Appellate review procedure

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Concepts of Crime

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Effects of the Crime Control Perspective

  • Mandatory sentencing

  • “Three strikes and you’re out”

  • Preventative detention

  • Abolition of parole

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Effects of the Due Process Perspective

  • Exclusionary rule

  • Right to attorney at all stages of the process

  • Due process rights given to juveniles

  • Granting prison inmates fundamental legal entitlements

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The Structure of the Criminal Justice System

  • The federal system

  • State courts

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The Criminal justice Process

  • Arrest

  • Booking

  • Initial Appearance Hearing

  • Pretrial Release or preventive detention

  • Preliminary hearing

  • Indictment

  • Arraignment

  • Guilty pleas

  • Criminal trial

  • Sentencing upon conviction

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Major Actors in the Judicatory Process

  • The public prosecutor

  • Defense attorney

  • Judges

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Methods of Determining the Factual Issues of Guilt or Innocence

  • Plea bargaining

    implicit pleas

    explicit pleas

  • Criminal trial

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The Felony Trial

  • Selection, instruction, and swearing of jury

  • Reading grand jury indictment containing specific charges at the arraignment

  • Opening arguments of prosecutor and defense attorney

  • Direct and cross-examination of witnesses

  • Closing arguments (summation), first of prosecutor and then the defense

  • Judges charge and instruct the jury

  • Jury deliberation

  • Jury’s verdict or mistrial

  • Sentencing upon conviction

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Criticism of the Courts

  • Overcrowded dockets

  • Assembly-line justice

  • Too many inducements to plead guilty

  • Too few jury trials

  • Speedy trials are unattainable

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Sentencing Options

  • Fines

  • Probation

  • Community service

  • Restitution to victims

  • Incarceration

  • Capital punishment

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Types of Sentences

  • Indeterminate sentence

  • Determinate sentence

  • Mandatory minimum sentence

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Death Penalty Issues

  • The moral question: Is it right?

  • The utilitarian question: Does it work?

  • The fallibility question: Does it Killinnocent people?

  • The fairness question: Does it discriminate?

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Role of Corrections

  • Community supervision

  • Probation

  • Confinement

  • Parole

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The History of Prisons

  • Pennsylvania prison system

  • The Auburn system

  • The modern prison era

    Minimum security prisons

    Medium security prisons

    Maximum security prisons

    Ultra-maximum security prisons

  • Private prisons

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Incarceration Issues

  • Overcrowding

  • Aging prison population

  • Prisonization effects

  • Prison violence

  • Prisoner rights

  • Recidivism

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Alternatives to Incarceration

  • Community based corrections

  • Probation

  • Shock probation and split sentencing

  • House arrest

  • Electronic monitoring

  • Restitution

  • Fines and forfeitures

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“The contemporary criminal justice system is monumental in size. It consists of more that 55,000 public agencies, and now costs the federal, state, and local governments nearly $150 billion for civil and criminal justice; this amounts to more that $500 for every resident in the United States” (Siegel 2003: 460).

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