Discretion in the Criminal Justice System

Topics: Crime, Criminal justice, Criminal law Pages: 5 (1914 words) Published: May 21, 2012
Discretion In The Criminal Justice System

Discretion is the eminence of once behavior or the way of speaking in order to avoid any offensive occurrence or speaking up any private issues or information in public. It is the self-determination for someone to choose or think what should be better to be done in particular circumstances. Especially for a judge, a public official or other private party has the authority to make decisions on any legal matters or other big official subjects. Thus, a person who is authorized with the power of discretion often thinks about how to apply the given supremacy.

In the criminal justice system, discretion is often performed by the police, prosecutors, judges and juries, correctional officials and paroling authorities. They are the ones to decide who should be the ones for criminal penalties and what kind of punishments they should be given. For example: Police are the ones who decides which person has committed grievous crimes and that the person should be arrested or not. They also decide on enforcing specific laws, examine detailed crimes, investigate crime scene locations and search criminals and victims. Prosecutors are the ones to file charges against someone with complaints. They are the ones to make an official decision about a problem or dispute. They look for a formal accusation of a serious before presenting to the grand jury. And they have the authority for reducing charges for someone. Judges or magistrates are the one to set up bails and state of affairs to release a prisoner. They accept pleas, determine criminal behavior, release paroles, enforce sentences and withdraw probation. Correctional Officials are securities who maintain protection and precautions within one institution or in prison for staffs’ and prisoners’ health and safety. They are also authorized to punish for penalizing infringements. Paroling authorities are the ones to determine the dates and conditions for paroles and invalidate paroles.

Many of the correctional officers would love to come to work every day only if they are assured about their coworkers and accurate. They always want to make sure that there are no certain problems taking place in any community, institution or within prison itself. Sometimes the term ‘Officer Discretion’ is a way of pretending of having the authority in front of people so that they have the fear that the officers might take a brutal action on people and which creates fewer offenses to occur within the community. Most of the policies and procedures carry or have officer discretion as part of their law. It is a special and important part between staff members and paroles. However, some officers who have been in this job for a while feel that people are aware of their exercise and so these people would corporate less with them. This is also true for the prisoners to behave like same way after some time which is not a good idea.

In a case of Cate v. California State Personnel Board, it shows the example for discretion as the local agencies usually use discretion to examine the level of discipline being used. In this case, Thomas Norton was being employed then as the correctional officer at the California Institute for women during November 23rd, 2006. He was responsible to work and maintain the Support Care Unit (SCU), a place where people with mental illness were being kept. Courts estimates castigation for any abuse in the use of discretion. Later, few actions amount of 12 were taken against Norton and was about to get terminated. The accusation was that he failed to fulfill the responsibility to take care of one of the mentally ill patient who later tried to attempt suicide. Thus, in this case it shows that the discretion was used appropriately. Later a case was held by the Administrative Law Judge. There were two witnesses among whom one of the witnesses stated that Norton was not any irresponsible person and he would not just go to an ill person and tell...

Citations: “How the Criminal Justice System Works; How Discretion Is Exercised in the Criminal Justice System”
Roscoe Pound, "Discretion, dispensation and mitigation: The problem of the individual special case," New York University Law Review (1960) 35:925, 926
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