Chapter 1 Crime and Justice in the US. Crime in the United States. Crime is a top concern of the American public. Crimes presented by the media are usually more sensational than the crimes routinely committed. Crime in the United States.
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Crime and Justice
in the US
There are a variety of responses to crime in the United States, from punishment to prevention.
An organization that persuades people, through subtle and not-so-subtle means, to abide by the dominant values of society.
Criminal justice in the United States is administered by a loose confederation of more than 50,000 agencies of federal, state, and local governments.
The criminal justice system
The criminal justice system operates differently in some jurisdictions, but there are also similarities.
A politically defined geographical area.
The criminal justice response to crime begins when a crime is reported to the police, or when the police discover a crime has been committed.
On rare occasions, police may obtain an arrest warrant from a lower-court judge before making an arrest.
A written order directing law enforcement officers to arrest a person.
About 90 percent of criminal defendants plead guilty to the charges against them, in an arrangement called plea bargaining.
The practice whereby a specific sentence is imposed if the accused pleads guilty to an agreed-upon charge or charges instead of going to trial.
A trial before a judge, without a jury.
If the defendant is found not guilty
The defendant is released.
Currently, five types of punishment are used in the United States:
Judges must impose sentences according to statutory guidelines.
Defendants can appeal their convictions either on legal or constitutional grounds.
The “criminal justice system” in the United States is really a “nonsystem.” Each agency works independently, and often in conflict with others.
A smoothly operating set of arrangements and institutions directed toward the achievement of common goals.
State and local governments pay most of the cost of criminal justice. Generally speaking:
Local governments pay for police.
The federal government works strategically to influence criminal justice policies at other levels of government.
Much of the American public’s understanding of crime and criminal justice is wrong; it is based on myths.
Beliefs based on emotion rather than analysis.