Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system is an institution or a set of institutions and processes that maintain order within a governmental system. This is achieved by ensuring legal protection of innocent people and punishment for the guilty ones. The functioning of this system varies from one case to another, depending on the jurisdiction that is in charge of the political entity, whether it is a county, city, state, federal, military, or tribal. The most common systems of criminal justice have three major components that include police, criminal courts, and corrective agencies. However, other states have more elaborate systems with up to five components that include law enforcement, prosecution, defense attorneys, courts, and corrections. Even in such unique elaborate systems, these three major components as stipulated above are still common.
The police are the first agency in this system that deal with any crime. The main function of the police is to identify the crime, conduct an independent and lawful investigation as well as maintain public safety. The court, therefore, depends partly on the investigations and evidence presented by the police to decide on all the cases presented before it.
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Another agency that is of great importance in this process is the criminal court. Though the court system exists at various hierarchical levels, their main function is to prosecute suspects in a fair hearing and prove them to be innocent or guilty. This is based on the evidence presented by a suspect and complainant. The judges play a crucial role in expediting all the court processes necessary for the final decision as to whether one is guilty of an offense or not.
The last agency in this order is the correction agencies such as prisons, probations, remands and other correctional facilities. These come into action only if the suspect has been proved guilty by the court beyond any reasonable doubt, otherwise, the process would end at the court. At this stage, the criminal is given punishment that is deemed commensurate to the crime as stipulated by the law and directed by the court. The punishment is meant to reform rather than to harm.
In conclusion, it is important to acknowledge that the criminal justice system is very vital in the society. Attaining perfection is a challenge since not all criminal cases are reported and even among those reported some may lack proper evidence to build a case.
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