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Criminal Justice 101 Week 1- Chapter 1 notes

by: Renée

Criminal Justice 101 Week 1- Chapter 1 notes Criminal Justice 101

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About this Document

First chapter of Criminal Justice in Action by Larry K. Gaines and Roger Leroy Miller
Justice and Society
Angela Morrison
Class Notes
Criminal Justice




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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Renée on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Criminal Justice 101 at Grand Valley State University taught by Angela Morrison in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 86 views. For similar materials see Justice and Society in Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
Criminal Justice 101 January 24, 2016 Chapter 1: Criminal Justice Today *** All notes aredirectly from the book of Criminal Justice in Action*** ***None of the writing is my work, it is an outline of the notable information from the book*** Determining Criminal Behavior:  Society’s ideas of correct behavior continuously change and so do the laws  Crime: An act that violates criminal law and is punishable by criminal sanctions  Different countries have varying ideals which leads to different laws  The Consensus Model: A criminal justice model in which the majority of citizens in a society share the same values and beliefs. Criminal acts go against these values o Individuals who go pose a threat to society’s beliefs are sanctioned  Morals: Principles of right and wrong behavior, as practiced by individuals or society  The Conflict Model: A criminal justice model in which the content of criminal law is determined by the groups that hold political power in a community o Those that reject the consensus model based on the fact that moral attitudes are not consistent An Integrated Definition of Crime:  By using both models the definition of crime is an activity that: 1. Is punishable under criminal law, as determined by the majority or a powerful minority 2. Is considered an offense against all of society and those who take part in crime get prosecuted specifically by public officials 3. Is punishable by sanctions based upon laws  Deviance: Behavior that is considered to go against the norms established by society o Is very subjective o Can become a punishable act Maintaining Justice:  Criminal Justice System: The interlocking network of law enforcement agencies, courts, and corrections institutions designed to enforce criminal laws and protect society from criminal behavior  The goal of the criminal justice system is to provide justice to all members of society  Justice: The quality of fairness that must exist in the process designed to determine whether individuals are guilty of criminal wrongdoing  The idea of justice is to set all individuals as equal before the law  Members of the criminal justice system, such as police officers, judges, and prosecutors, must decide what is deemed ‘fair’ Protecting Society:  Four specific goals of the criminal justice system: 1. Protecting society from potential crimes of dangerous offenders 2. Determining what are considered offenses and how to deal with them 3. To rehabilitate past offenders so they are able to be reintroduced into society without posing a threat 4. To give support to the victims of crimes and return them to their pre-crime status The Importance of Federalism:  Federalism: A form of government in which a written constitution provides for a division of powers between a central government and regional government  The pro to federalism is being able to establish a strong national government that has the capability to handle large- scale issues, yet letting states have power to accommodate local ideas throughout the territory  Federalism in the United States has changed by allowing the growth of the powers of the government  Like in government, there are levels within law enforcement  Local law enforcement: o Duties are split between between counties and municipalities o The head of a county is usually the sheriff  Elected by vote to a 2-4 year term o Most police are employed at a local level instead of state o Local police have duties to investigate crimes, attempt to lessen crime, apprehend criminals, ‘keeping the peace’ within communities, and now also to provide social services (not all duties listed)  State law enforcement: o Usually two types of state law enforcement agencies  State police  Highway patrols  Concerns self with infractions on public highways and freeways o Other types of state level enforcers are fire marshals and fish, game, and watercraft wardens  Fire marshals investigate suspicious fires and educate the public on fire safety  Federal law enforcement: o In the last decades the areas of the federal governments concern have widened o Almost all government agencies have some sort of police power  Ie: The Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Secret Service o Federal law enforcers usually also work in collaboration with their local and state counterparts  The Courts: o The United States has a duel court system  Two independent judicial systems  Federal  State o The criminal court must determine Informal Decision Making:  The issue with the criminal justice process is that realistically, every crime can not be investigated and law enforcers must decide where to direct their resources  Discretion: The ability of individuals in the criminal justice system to make operational decisions based on personal judgment instead of formal rules or official information  Informational criminal justice process: A model of the criminal justice system that recognizes the informal authority exercised by individuals at each step of the criminal justice process o Relies on discretion and good conscious  Discretion can be negative due to an individual having flawed or biased perspectives or ideas Ethics and Justice:  Ethics: A system of moral principles that govern a person’s perception of right and wrong  A law enforcer must make an intuitive decision or use critical thinking o Intuitive: Reflecting an automatic response determined by a person’s background and experience o Critical thinking: used to make ethical decisions Crime and Law Enforcement:  Crime Control Model: A criminal justice model that places primary emphasis on the right of society to be protected from crime and violent crimes o Aims to lower crime quickly by arresting  Limit the rights of the accused and incarcerate criminals quickly  Due Process Model: A criminal justice model that places primacy on the right of the individual to be protected from the power of the government o Aims to protect the individual accused from the sometimes unjust state  Enforces the constitutional rights of the accused  Allows the nonviolent criminals to serve their sentence in the community  Police have increased their ability to be more efficient in preventing crime o This is called proactive policing, which is when police efforts of enforcing minor offenses increases o Hot-spot policing is when police target high-crime areas instead of evenly throughout areas  An effective tool in identifying criminals is called DNA profiling which uses biological evidence to identify suspects  Biometrics: Methods to identify a person based on his or her unique physical characteristics. Most common type used are fingerprints  Street gang: A group of people (3+) that share a common identity and engage in illegal activities o Most gang related deaths are not connected to crime o Homicides are generally from gangs mixing and having conflict  Drug: Any substance that modifies biological, psychological, or social behavior  Psychoactive drugs: Chemicals that affect the brain, causing changes in emotion, perception, and behavior Homeland Security and Domestic Terrorism  Homeland security: A concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and reduce the country’s vulnerability to terrorism o Ultimate goal is to prevent terrorism o Terrorism: The use or threat of violence to achieve political objectives  The Patriot Act, which passed after 9/11, made the ability to investigate suspects of terrorism easier  Civil liberties: The basic rights and freedoms of American citizens as guaranteed by the U.S Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights o Must have a balance between citizen’s rights and safety  Domestic terrorism: Acts of terrorism that take place on U.S. soil without direct foreign involvement The Emergence of Victim’s Rights  A recent idea that started to be recognized in the 1970’s o Beforehand, victims had no actual rights  Efforts by government agencies now give emotional help as well as financial compensation  Now there are many laws passed that help victims of crimes Inmate Population Trends:  Growing population of inmates started in the 1980’s o Numbers started to go down in 2008  The laws passed in the 1980’s and 90’s made it so it was easier to arrest people and put them into jail. Also usually kept people for long periods of time  Rehabilitation is now something being promoted to keep inmate numbers down  Recidivism: Commission of new crime by a person who has already been convicted of a pervious crime and sent to jail or prison  Ways of keeping low inmate numbers: o Early releasing low level offenders o Focusing on rehabilitation o Keeping ex convicts from committing more future crimes  Capital crime: A crime act that makes the offender eligible to receive the death penalty  Death penalty is becoming less common and even illegal to do in some states  Race is still a factor in likeliness of being arrested and/or sentenced The Social Media Revolution:  Law enforcers now use social media to help solve crime o Also used to interact with the community


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