Crime and the Components of the Criminal Justice System
The following discussion overviews crime, outlines the models that define criminal acts, and highlight the basic components, which combine to create the infrastructure known in the United States as the Criminal Justice System. Crime
The word “crime” oftentimes invokes a negative connotation. Many immediately turn to anecdotal stories to shape the definition of crime. A formal legal definition of crime is succinct: “an offence against a public law” (The ‘Lectric Law Library, 2012). A more common reference, the Miriam Webster dictionary defines crime as, “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law; especially: a gross violation of law” (“Crime,” 2012). Summarized from both definitions, two separate variables exist together to describe crime: a law and a violation of the law. Although it can be inferred from these definitions that crime is bad and thus crime prevention would be good, the impact of crime is omitted from this discussion. An entire infrastructure is dedicated to defining criminal activity, promoting crime prevention while protecting the freedoms and liberties of citizens. Components
The Criminal Justice System is composed of three separate entities: Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections (Schmalleger, 2011). Arguably, each of these divisions should be a separate but equally important member of the Criminal Justice System contributing to a unified goal of protection of justice. However, two distinct models present very different methods in which these entities interact to attain the collective goal of justice. Once codified, police officers, and detectives are charged with upholding the laws through identification and detention of those suspected of breaking the laws. The police are assigned the specific duties of enforcing the law, investigating crimes,...
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