Criminal Justice, Chapter one book notes
Criminal Justice, Chapter one book notes 1100-001
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Date Created: 09/13/16
CJUS 1100001 Book Notes Chapter 1 What is the Criminal Justice System? The Rules that Bind: Norms and Laws Myth/Reality o Myth: some behaviors are so wrong that they are crimes in all societies o Reality: It isn’t the nature of an act that makes that act a crime; it’s the nature of society that defines a particular act as a crime in that society Norm: rule that makes clear what behavior is appropriate and expected in a particular situation Deviance (abnormality): violation of a crime o Whether an act is considered deviant or not depends on many factors: Context, place, time, and the individual(s) judging it No behavior is inherently deviant Social Norm: rule that specifies how people are supposed to behave o Informal rules that aren’t written but regardless we know and follow them Learned from parents, peers, and teachers Informal Social Norms Waiting in line to purchase tickets at a movie theater Not eating mashed potatoes with your fingers Can evolve into legal norms Formal Social Norms “legal norms” Formally written o Forbid theft and assault Violation of which sets the criminal justice system in motion What is Crime? Myth/Reality o Myth: People are either criminal or not o Reality: Virtually all people commit crimes at some point in their life Whether they are considered criminals depends on their offenses Crime is an act that breaks a law o Two broad categories of crime: Mala in se Mala prohibita Can crimes be inherently wrong? o Mala in se: a behavior categorized as morally wrong “evil in itself” A given behavior would be bad in any context even if there is no law against it o There is no such thing as an inherently criminal act Crime is created by labeling actions as such o Mala in se offenses are violations of basic universal social values Crimes prohibited by law o Mala prohibita: statutory crime that reflects public opinion at a moment in time o What motivates a society to criminalize some behaviors and not others The consensus prospective The conflict perspective Consensus and Conflict Perspectives o Consensus Perspective: view of crime that sees laws as the product of social agreement or consensus about what criminal behavior is Criminals are individuals whose behavior expresses values and beliefs at odds with those of mainstream society Promotes solidarity Example: Murder…violates a consensus belief in the sanctity of life Those who subscribe to the consensus perspective believe that defining some behaviors as criminal is necessary because it is in everyone’s interest to control those who deviate o Conflict Perspective: view of crime as one outcome of a struggle among different groups competing for resources in their society The people who own and control societies resources are able to influence those who determine what laws are passed Instead of looking at individual wrongdoers this perspective looks at the process that determines who is or is not a criminal Unequal distribution of resources in society generates competition, and hence conflict, among the groups vying for power o The basis for a particular law also may change over time The Consequences of Crime Numerous and varied for victims and perpetrators o Example: Victim of assault Broken nose and time off work Offender Spends five years in prison Sanctions o Sanctions: prescribed consequences intended to reinforce people’s conformity to norms Positive or Negative Positive sanctions can sometimes be even more effective than negative sanctions in shaping people’s behavior Formal or Informal Informal o Someone who behaves badly in public is likely to be met with disapproving glances o Generally, don’t carry the weight of formal ocunterparts Formal Negative Sanctions o Minor crime Driving 10 miles over the speed limit…. offender given a fine o Major crime Vandalism…. Probation and avoidance of drugs, alcohol, and others on probation Robbery or Assault…. Incarceration o Impact of Crime on Victims Victims are the targets of illegal actions by others Can suffer physical, sexual, or emotional harm, or even death Criminals and victims tend to be of the same race, age range, live in the same area, belong to the same socioeconomic strata, and are the same sex Of course with the exception to rapists Suffering can be made worse by neglection through the criminal justice system Leads to being less willing to cooperate with the prosecution Victims Right’s Movement early 1970’s Victims are now being treated better and can now receive compensation for their injuries The Structure of the Criminal Justice System Criminal Justice System: the interdependent actors and agencies law enforcement agencies, the courts, the correctional system, and victim services at the local, state, and federal levels of government that deal with the problem of crime o Process by which adult offenders are handled o Major Institutional Components Law enforcement Judiciary Corrections Victim Services is an emerging element Law Enforcement o Part of the Criminal Justice System familiar to most U.S. citizens o Law enforcement officers are expected to resolve many of society’s problems and are entrusted to use force only when necessary Make decisions quickly, use discretion, show courage and sacrifice in the face of danger, treat individuals with dignity and respect even when threatened, harassed, abused, or assaulted o Recently moved into the educational setting School resource officers The Courts o State Courts: System in which state crimes are prosecuted; it includes both trial and appellate courts o Federal Courts: System in which federal crimes are prosecuted consisting of district courts, appellate courts, or circuit courts, and the U.S. supreme courts o Appellate Courts: Courts that hear appeals from trial courts or other lower courts o Steps: Prosecutor decides whether to prosecute a case Presents the case against the defendant Grand jury decides whether the case goes to trial Prosecutor then argues the case in trial Defense attorneys protect the legal rights of the defendant If the case goes to trial, the defendant is entitled to fair procedures Judge makes sure rules are abided by and provide the jury with instructions on making a decision Corrections o Corrections: Systematic, organized effort by society to punish offenders, protect the public, and change an offender’s behavior Realized through programs, services, and facilities that deal with the offender before and after conviction o Purpose: Achieve the goals of sentencing Retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, reintegration, and restitution o Once convicted offenders are either imprisoned or serve their sentences under supervision while on probation May also be given an alternative sentence or probation Alternative Sentence: A sentence that is served in a treatment facility or in community service Probation: alternative to jail or prison in which the offender remains in the community under court supervision, usually within the caseload of a probation officer o If sent to prison an offender can be freed on parole Parole: early release from prison conditional on complying with certain standards while free Supervised by a parole officer Can be sent back to prison if they violate parole Victim Services o Until the late 20 century the criminal justice system focused primarily on the criminal Changed in the 1970’s o Victim Services: range of resources shelters, transitional housing, counseling, and 24hr hotlines aimed at reducing the suffering and facilitating the recovery of victims especially those who participate in the criminal justice process o Other services focus on victim’s legal needs Appointment of a victim advocate Victim Advocate: professional who assists the victim during the post victimization period o Initial crisis…Investigation…Case Adjunction…Offender’s Release o Work in government and nongovernment organizations Victim/witness units with distinct attorneys’ offices Probation departments Apart of special units in police departments or within correctional institutions o Goals: Lessen victims suffering Facilitate their recovery o If the victim is a family member of the offender Divorce and custody, supervised visitation, orders of protection, and mediation (to ensure mutual agreement is reached on specific issues) o Also includes helping victims apply for victim compensation Victim Impact Statements: Victims written statement usually in the Presentence Report about how the experience with crime affected him or her Sometimes victims are asked to read this statement in open court prior to sentencing and at probation and parole hearings o Elocution o Secondary Victims: Family and friends of an individual who has been victimized Victim advocates also work with them Help them cope with the victimization of a loved one o Also includes removing a dependent individual from a violent environment Followed up by site visits at the new location Assisting in obtaining jobs How Criminal Justice Works: The Realities Myth/Reality o Myth: almost all criminal cases go to trial o Reality: high percentage of cases drop out of the criminal justice system without ever getting to trial or before a trial is complete The criminal justice funnel and the wedding cake model o Criminal justice funnel Result of decision by criminal justice professionals, suspects and others The process begins as a large number of people are arrested, many fewer of whom, through a process of filtering, ultimately go to trial or are sentenced A variety of factors influence criminal justice professional’s decisions regarding whether a defendant should enter and proceed through the system Quality of the evidence Time and money needed to take a case to trial Justice can be obtained without a trial Can’s be done if crimes aren’t reported o 50% of the time o Wedding Cake Model: Explanation of the workings of the criminal justice system that shows how cases get filtered according to the seriousness of the offence 4 different layers Layer 4 o Misdemeanor cases result in a sentence of 1 year of incarceration or less o Infraction cases are even more minor Generally considered not serious or worth much of the systems time Minimize the amount of resources expended on these cases Layer 3 o Less serious felonies or ones in which the defendant has not previously had trouble with the law Dispatched with rather quickly Layer 2 o Serious felonies such as murder cases, defendants with many prior offenses, and cases that include victims who were strangers to their perpetrators More likely to result in trials than the cases in layers 3 and 4 Layer 1 o Celebrated cases Such as serial killings Garner most media attention May or may not involve celebrities but the defendant becomes a household name o Involves a long trial Unlike how criminal justice is perceived through media… Justice is not usually swift o Some believe it isn’t deliberate enough Crime Prevention o Crime Prevention: measures taken to reduce the opportunity for crime commission by individuals predisposed to such Central element of law enforcement Mostly focused on high crime activity o Hotspots policing, target hardening (neighborhood crime prevention and environmental design) Also has specific application to victimization The Crime Control Model o The Crime Control Model: a model of the criminal justice system that emphasizes the efficient arrest and processing of alleged criminal offenders Value system underlying this model considers the repression of criminal conduct as the most important function of criminal justice Reduce, quickly respond to, and punish criminal behavior Failure to do so leads to the breakdown of public order vital condition of human freedom Has dominated the public debate over how the criminal justice system should work since the 1980’s Led to a toughoncrime stance that doubts whether perpetrators can be rehabilitated Offenders have historically been treated too leniently The Due Process model o Due Process Model: model of the criminal justice system that emphasizes individual rights at all stages of the justice process More concerned with the threat to procedural rights of the offenders Better to let guilty free than convict innocent Describe procedural protections for the accused Reached its height in the 1960’s When the U.S. Supreme courts extended constitutional due process requirements to local and state criminal justice agents Influences on Criminal Justice Myth/Reality o Myth: people fear strangers as being very likely to victimize them o Reality: individuals are more likely to be victimized by someone they know Fear of Crime o In the US people think there is more crime than there is Example: Women are always told they should fear strange men and not walk alone at night o However, more likely to be harmed by someone they know then don’t 50% of women are afraid to walk alone at night o Various factors affect how we view crime and the level of fear we experience Gender, age, past experiences with crime, ethnicity, income, educational attainment, area in which we live o Moat fearful are less likely to be victimized o Those who have experienced it have elevated fears o Fear can be positive Generates caution Less vulnerable to victimization Purchase alarms and security systems Avoiding situations they perceive as dangerous o Downside… Unreasonable fear of crime influences public policy Crime policies based on irrational conclusions rather than sound reasons Media Coverage o Inflates individuals level of fear o Moral Panic: reaction by a group of people based on exaggerated or false perceptions about crime and criminal behavior o Those who watch local news are more likely to fear crime than those hwo watch national news, listen to the radio, or receive news from the internet Can affect people’s policy positions Death penalty Gun ownership o Most crimes are not those against persons However, that’s where media puts the focus While homicides make up over 25% of media coverage, murder is a very rare occurrence o Media typically covers crimes done by minorities o Public responsibility to report the news but they also need to make money for their shareholders Politics o The criminal justice system is a part of the larger political system Politics influence the administration of justice in many ways Legislations o How much money will be spent on prisons, policing, the court system, and victim services US Congress o Change isn’t required by passing new laws Raising drinking age to 21 Wasn’t required by every state but those who didn’t didn’t receive transportation funds o Interest Groups: individuals who seek to influence the administration of justice Mothers Against Drunk Driving Discrimination o People in jail, prison, or on probation are disproportionately people of color Raises questions regarding fairness in the name of justice Per 100,000 US residents imprisoned o 410 white males o 3188 black males o 1419 latinos 1/3 of black males 2029 are under criminal justice supervision on any given day o Discrimination with drug use Young blacks reportedly use less alcohol and drugs than white males Blacks are however much more likely to be arrested for the possession of illicit substances Challenges to Criminal Justice Today System must consider how the system must adapt to the changing needs of the twenty first century Global and domestic challenges o Putting significant strains on the resources on the CJS Global Challenges o What makes crime go global? Freeing of commercial markets, increased ease of transportation, internet growth Examples: o Porn, gambling, and counterfeit procedures are easily distributed through the internet o Trafficking of illegal goods such as drugs and weapons Capitalized on lower freight costs and increased numbers of transportation Human trafficking 27 million world wide o Biovilence Various bacterial agents can be altered to increase their lethality to resist antibiotic treatments Released as bioweapons o Unique quality… Ability to replicate and spread o Preventing global cybercrime and terrorism Governments agenda and need to gather information can clash with the constitutional rights of the people Surveillance, interception of communications, detention for indefinite periods without formal charges Domestic Challenges o Within the US Prison populations In 2007 prison population increased more rapidly than US resident population o 2.3 million inmates o Recidivism relapse into criminal activity o Lack of reentry policies and programs Concern o Mentally ill Rate of mental illness among inmates is four times higher than that for the population at large Psychiatric hospitals closing lead to the overcrowding of prisons Don’t have the correct resources for treatment Mental health courts Reverse overrepresentation of mentally ill in incarceration