Overview of the Criminal Justice System
American Intercontinental University
This presentation will address the components of the criminal justice system and the stages of the criminal justice process. Police, court and corrections are the main components in the criminal justice system; they each play a significant role in the various stages. The content will be an overview of the criminal justice system as well as a description of the police officer, district attorney, defense attorney and local magistrate roles. The prosecution should become involved in a case post arrest and stay out of the original stages of the investigation to avoid a miscarriage of justice. A defense attorney can become involved in a case before the person is investigated or arrested because everyone has the right to counsel at any time. A magistrate judge’s function begins after the police file a criminal complaint and ends when the case proceeds to trial.
The criminal justice system is the combination of legal and social institutions used to enforce criminal law in accordance with a defined set of rules and limitations. The main goals of the criminal justice system are deterrence, retribution, restoration, incapacitation and rehabilitation (Mutchnick, 2011). The purpose of deterrence is to prevent criminal behaviors through the fear of punishment and prosecution. Retribution seeks to take revenge on a criminal by punishing them and making them pay for their crime. Restoration attempts to repair the damage done to the victim by building back the relationship between the victim and the criminal and between the criminal and the community. Incapacitation takes away the criminal’s ability to further harm the community by removing them from society, incarcerating them in a proper facility. The final goal of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation which tries to reform a criminal by providing the skills and emotional strength to live without committing a crime. The main components of the criminal justice system consist of the police, the courts and the corrections (Mutchnick, 2011). These components play different roles in the criminal justice system and can involve various offices and agencies. The police protect individual’s property and life by enforcing the law and dedicating their time to reduce and prevent crime. Police maintain the public peace by apprehending offenders and investigating crimes. Next, the courts protect the rights of individuals by ensuring due process was followed and conducting fair and impartial trails (Mutchnick, 2011). The court system determines innocence or guilt of an individual and decides on criminal cases. The third component of the criminal justice system is the corrections which provide custody and supervision for convicted and sentenced offenders. The corrections system tries to rehabilitate, reform and help to reintegrate criminal offenders back into the community. The criminal justice process consists of five major stages: investigation and arrest, pretrial activities, trial, sentencing and corrections (Mutchnick, 2011). Each stage involves the different components of the criminal justice system the police, the courts and corrections. The first stage of investigation and arrest involve issuing a warrant to gather evidence to reconstruct the crime scene. An officer of the court directs a law enforcement official to perform a specific act related to the investigation of a crime by using a warrant which provides legal protections for the search and seizure of evidence and property. The police will arrest the alleged criminal and process them into the corrections system which is also known as “booking”. Pretrial activities include the first appearance, preliminary hearing, information or indictment and arraignment (Mutchnick, 2011). A suspect must be brought before a magistrate judge within 48 hours of their arrest for an initial court appearance. The magistrate will explain...
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