Historical Policy Comparison
The past 50 years has changed and evolved in such a way that the criminal justice policy accommodates the changes through processes that are in place. Evolution of the criminal justice policy impacts the courts, the police and the corrections system. Criminal justice policy includes various steps related to crimes and policy participants that help change the way policies are written in the past, present, and future. When the criminal justice policy starts there are four types of policies; morality, regulatory, redistributive, and distributive that play a huge factor in the development of the courts, the police ,and corrections (Marion & Oliver, 2006, p. 68). Evolution, technology, and smarter criminal behaviors form the policies that leaders look at to change, and adapt to. Which policy is used to change a law or change the way that the federal government or state government’s aids society depends on the issue at hand. The more citizens complain about certain crimes and criminal behavior the more recognition takes place for criminal justice policy change. The courts, police, and correctional facilities make up the criminal justice system. Their significance plays a crucial role in the development of public policy issues. A comparative analysis is conducted over the past 50 years of how the courts, police, and correctional facilities impacted these policy changes. Additionally various opportunities exist between the criminal justice policy and the criminal justice system. Police back in the 1970’s viewed crimes in a different matter. Domestic violence was not something an officer would actually respond to because the police considered it a family matter (Marion & Oliver, 2006, p. 78). With civil rights and woman movements in the 1960’s and 1970’s things turned around for domestic situations. Policy change was demanded for police to get involved in domestic situations and not let families settle disputes on their own. Domestic violence became more of an issue and by 1980 many laws were written to involve the police in domestic matters. This enabled the police officers to actually make arrests in domestic situations where signs of physical abuse were evident. By 1990 all states passed laws enabling these arrests to occur (Marion & Oliver, 2006, p. 78). The evolution of policing was not just in the domestic arena. Driving while intoxicated back in the 1960’s was not a huge concern to police, local, or federal government agencies until a public process of identification realized the impact on society. There were times when a person was pulled over for drinking and the police officer would allow for someone to come get that person. No ticket, just drive home safe with someone sober. Times evolved from this type of policing as deaths became on the rise from intoxicated drivers and the public awareness wanted a policy to be in place. Groups began to develop like Mothers against drunk drivers (MADD). The MADD group became recognized by the Regan administration and eventually a policy change enacted. The first step in changing the policy was to identify the problem, set an agenda, form a policy, implement the policy and enact it. In society today many policies are viewed and some overlooked. Police officers now have more rights than they did 50 years ago. This is because of technology, the war on drugs, criminals, terrorist groups, gangs, and cyber-crime. Police have more tools to help them detect and fight criminals and work with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that policies enacted upon and followed appropriately. Working hand in hand with other agencies helps produce more policies and laws to gain ground on criminal behavior of all kinds.
The court system of 1963 was an entirely different creature than the one it has evolved into over the past 50 years. 1963 was essentially the very last year of public innocence regarding the court system. The American public was introduced to, and began to receive a steady diet of news about the power of, as well as the operation of, the court system beginning about 1964.
First, and foremost, the American public began to generally take notice of the courts as a result of the beginning of the civil rights litigation stemming from civil libertarians systematic dedication to the evolution of black civil rights as they began to challenge the established methods of segregation through use of, so called, “Jim Crow” laws. The process of establishing racial integration as a functioning reality within the United States and its possessions was something in which every American citizen had both an interest, as well as an opinion. The news media covered the constant battles as integration transformed the United States and awareness of the courts was inevitable. From coverage of the criminal prosecutions of the unlawful activities of segregationist to the multitude of varying civil judgments rendered by courts across the country, Americans were learning the power, and operational methods, of their court systems. Every time they read a newspaper or watched a television newscast, they were informed of differing accounts of court actions as the battle over integration was fought across the entire United States.
Our innocence lost, and our knowledge created, we came out of the ‘60’s with a new understanding of our judicial system as well as an entirely new system of social awareness. Since then, citizens have utilized the court system in a somewhat frenzied fashion as they have attempted to impose their own versions of a utopian society upon all those other poor bohemians. We have used the court system to redress our grievances concerning everything from operation of our local governments, through a wide variety of alterations of our social customs, and on to the methods of attacking our perceived losses in the war against the criminal activities of others.
As we begin the second 50 year period following the Civil Rights era, we find that we have instilled so much power, and faith, in our judicial system that we may very well spend the next 50 years involved in just as extreme a battle as we attempt to protect those very freedoms we willing surrendered under the guise of obtaining our own safety. Please remember what Thomas Jefferson warned when he said “A man who would trade his freedom for security deserves neither one.” The Field of Corrections has not changed much in regards to Criminal Justice Policy over the last fifty years. The main focus on policy changes in the field of Corrections has been in the form of rehabilitation rather than incapacitation. With the rapid growth of drug charges throughout the US in the 60’s prison reform became a higher concern to the general public and policy makers. The boom in drugs meant a dramatic rise in drug arrest and to a rise in the incapacitation of drug offenders. All of the arrest and incapacitation of offenders shed light on the underlying problem of drug abuse and the possibilities of rehabilitation became a strong headway in the field of Corrections. In the more recent years the corrections policy has now taken a dominant rehabilitation role as the main form of correction. While in the fifties anyone could be imprisoned for their crimes the role of corrections today is now to correct the problem that the offenders have and through that correct the offender. So now the prisons offer several programs to offenders who are held in prisons and other correction center throughout the US. These programs are geared to help the offenders become more efficient members of society. This role of corrections has proven to be more effective than placing a person in prison for a term of ten to twenty years, and having that person go right back to crime upon release. In many ways the Criminal Justice System has evolved over the past fifty years. It has changed in the field of Policing with the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements. The changes have been rather dramatic in the sense that less than half a century ago the police would turn a blind eye towards crimes against blacks and women. The Courts have changed in regards to the public has become more aware of the court functions. Fifty years ago the ways of the court was foreign at best to the general public and know there are shows on the television like “The People’s Court” and Judge Joe Brown and so on. The court system has been brought out of the shadows and is now a common thing for the average person. In regards to the field of corrections there have been changes to the way in which we deal with the majority of offenders. Fifty years ago incapacitation was the answer and now the view has shifted to rehabilitation in lieu of incapacitation.
Marion, N. E., & Oliver, W. M. (2006). Public Policy of Crime and Criminal Justice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Dunn, W.N. (2008). Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.