Federal vs. State Policy Comparison

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Laws and policies are written in different aspects of the criminal justice system. Some of these policies are written within the federal government and some are written on a smaller scale in the state government. The two seem rather simple to understand on the surface. The federal government handles the entire United States whereas the state government handles just what it says and that is within that specific state, such as New Jersey (N.J.). The following paper will contain information which will compare and contrast the policies written from both types of governments and how they relate to the criminal justice system. There will be information on how these policies have been developed and how they are implemented. Some explanation will be given as to how offenders are prosecuted and how their level of court is decided upon by the prosecution. The severity of the crime is equal to the severity of the prosecution and then finally the sentencing.

When the topic is criminal justice, there are four theories. Those theories are punishment, deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation. There is a belief that when sanctions for a crime are imposed, society will get justice and peace (Criminal Law - Guide to Criminal and Penal Law, 1995-2010). Sentencing for a crime is the most prominent part of a trial, and when a defendant pleads guilty to their crimes, they look to the sentence they will be given. The defense lawyer will give their client the best and worst case scenarios when it comes to the sentence and even what the presiding judge will be likely to do (Wright, 2006).

Wright (2006) explains “Because of remarkable growth in the reach of the federal criminal code over many generations, a huge potential overlap now exists between federal and state criminal justice. Especially for narcotics and firearms crimes, precisely the same conduct could lead to criminal charges in federal court, in state court, or both.” (para. 7). There is an estimate that...
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