CCJS 100: Section 0107
Sabahat A. Choudhry
May 1, 2012
Improvements to the U.S. Justice System
The U.S. Justice System works day and night to provide citizens of the United States a sense of safety and comfort as they go about their daily lives. However, this does not mean that the U.S. Justice system is perfect in any sense. There is always room for improvement in my different sectors of the justice system. The U.S. Justice System is ranked 20th around the world according to The World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2011 (Mustafa). There are 19 countries that are above the U.S. on this list so there are 19 countries doing something right that the US are doing wrong. In this essay I am going to discuss and analyze parts of the U.S. Justice System that can be improved to work towards an ideal American Criminal Justice System. The three major parts of this sector that the U.S. Justice System needs to improve on are the issue of Juveniles transfer to an Adult Court, the issue of the Death Penalty, and the Three Strikes Laws. In addition to this, I will also discuss and analyze the parts of the Justice System that are working well, such as, Drug Courts, Intensive supervision for Juvenile offenders and more police involvement with urban and suburban communities. Improvement #1: Transfers of Juveniles to Criminal Courts
The transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Courts is an individual state decision based on the rules and laws of the state in which a certain crime has been committed. There is too much variance on this subject matter between each state in the U.S. Criminal Justice System; Some states will not charge a teen as an adult for a serious crime if they are under the age of 18 but some states will charge a 14 year old as an adult if the crime is serious enough. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states, “Original juvenile court jurisdiction extends through age 17 in 37 States and the District of Columbia, age 16 in 10 States, and age 15 in 3 States… 24 States added crimes for which juveniles can be criminally prosecuted, and 6 States lowered the minimum age for transfer to 14. (OJJDP)”
The U.S. Department of Justice needs to establish rules or guidelines that can be instated nationally to provide a joint effort in Juvenile Justice. The national guidelines will help judges and juries in deciding whether a teen should be charged as an adult in a serious crime and help bring equality in the Justice System. The guidelines can set forth a certain age when a serious crime will be charged as an adult or crime that is punishable as an adult no matter what your age. Certain crimes should be charged as an adult if you intentionally commit the crime. Rape or Murder is a serious crime for which there is no repentance; if you have the mental capability to intentionally commit a crime of such a high level of seriousness, you have the mental capability to know that the crime is punishable as an adult. Improvement #2: The Death Penalty
One of the hottest topics in the U.S. Judicial System is the issue of the Death Penalty. Should it be abolished, remain the same or revised? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a sub-division of the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 3,158 inmates in death row around the country (Snell). The number of people on death row in the United States has skyrocketed since the 1970’s when there was a time when no people were executed within the U.S. Justice System. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1977 and 2010, there were 7879 criminals on death row, however, at the start of 2011 there are 3158 people (Snell). Off the 7879 criminals on death row in those years, 39% of those were not executed they received other dispositions. Some of these citizens were acquitted of their crime due too new evidence surfacing which proved them innocent. On average, criminals have to wait at least...