Week 1 and 2 Notes

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Criminal Justice Notes: Crime

What Is Crime?
When you hear that a crime has been committed, what do you think of? Maybe a robbery or a murder? Crime is defined as “conduct in violation of the criminal laws of a state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction, for which there is no legally acceptable justification or excuse.” Crimes can involve violence but do not have to do so. Unfortunately, crime is not rare in the United States.

Three Components of the CJ System
Our criminal justice system [The aggregate of all operating and administrative or technical support agencies that perform criminal justice functions. The basic divisions of the operational aspects of criminal justice are law enforcement, courts, and corrections] consists of three component agencies. The police, the courts, and the corrections system all work together to ensure that justice is carried out. None of these three components operates independently of the others. If someone is arrested by the police, their guilt or innocence is determined by the courts, and any potential punishment after conviction is handled by the corrections system.

Some scholars believe in the consensus model [A criminal justice perspective that assumes that the system's components work together harmoniously to achieve the social product we call justice] that assumes that these three components of the justice system work together harmoniously to achieve justice.

Other scholars follow the conflict model [A criminal justice perspective that assumes that the system's components function primarily to serve their own interests. According to this theoretical framework, justice is more a product of conflicts among agencies within the system than it is the result of cooperation among the component agencies] that assumes these three component systems function primarily to serve their own interests, thereby making justice a product of conflict among the police, courts, and corrections system. Regardless, under both theoretical models, the police, courts, and corrections system must and do interact at various stages in each criminal case.

The Police

* Enforce the law
* Investigate crimes
* Apprehend offenders
* Reduce and prevent crime
* Maintain public order
* Ensure community safety
* Provide emergency and related community services
* Protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals

Correctional Agencies

* Carry out sentences imposed by the courts
* Provide safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders * Protect the community
* Rehabilitate, reform, and reintegrate convicted offenders back into the community * Respect the legal and human rights of the convicted

Criminal Courts
* Conduct fair and impartial trials
* Decide criminal cases
* Ensure due process
* Determine guilt or innocence
* Impose sentences on the guilty
* Uphold the law
* Require fairness throughout the justice process
* Protect the rights and freedoms of anyone facing processing by the justice system * Provide a check on the exercise of power by other justice system agencies* *Fairness professionalism, integrity, and impartiality are expected of all criminal justice personnel at every stage of criminal case processing, and it is a special duty of the courts to ensure that these expectations are met. History of Crime

Since the beginning of time, there have been various forms of criminal behavior. Although what is criminal today might not have been an issue for earlier civilizations, all societies throughout history have defined which actions are acceptable and which are not. In America, crime is commonly referred to as cyclical, meaning that it comes and goes. Over the course of American history, increases in criminal activity are often associated with external factors, such as social upheaval, legislative decisions, and societal trends such as drug use. The level of crime...
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