History of Law Enforcement

Topics: Police, Law, Criminal justice Pages: 6 (2027 words) Published: April 9, 2010
“Criminal Justice System, As Seen By Me”.

CJS 100
Final Project

History of Law Enforcement
In Ancient China law enforcement was carried out by “perfects.” The notion of a “perfect” in China has existed for thousands of years. In both the Chu and Jin kingdoms of the Spring and Autumn periods the prefecture system developed. Within the Jin kingdom, dozens of perfects were spread across the kingdom, each having limited authority and a length of service. Over time and under the rule of Dang Lin Wang, an new judicial system emerged in which perfects were considered government officials appointed by local magistrates, who in turn were appointed by the emperor of the dynasty; a figure very similar to a head of state. The prefects oversaw the civil administration of their “prefecture,” or what is known today as a jurisdiction. Prefects usually reported to the local magistrates, just as modern police report to judges. Under each perfect were “sub prefects” who helped collectively with law enforcement of the area. Over time the concept of the “prefecture system” eventually spread to other cultures.

For the most part, crime was viewed as a private matter in Ancient Greece and Rome. Even with offenses as serious as murder, justice was the prerogative of the victim's family and private war or vendetta the means of protection against criminality. Publicly-owned slaves were used by magistrates as police in Ancient Greece. In Athens, a group of 300 Scythian slaves was used to guard public meetings to keep order and for crowd control, and also assisted with dealing with criminals, manhandling prisoners, and making arrests. Other duties associated with modern policing, such as investigating crimes, were left to the citizens themselves. During the middle Ages, crime and punishment were dealt with through blood feuds or trial by ordeal between the parties. Payment to the victim or their family was another common punishment, including for violent crimes. For those who could not afford to buy their way out of punishment, harsh penalties included various forms of corporal punishment. These included mutilation, whipping, branding, flogging, and execution. The code of law specifies exactly how much to pay, if anything, depending who was slain. The primary form of state-administered punishment during ancient times and the Middles Ages was banishment or exile. Though a prison existed as early as the 14th century in, incarceration was not widely used until the 19th century.

The establishment of law enforcement and criminal justice during the Middle Ages and Ancient China was used as a model and other nations or civilizations formed their rules in which one should govern themselves by. When early colonists first came to America, they did not include trained lawyers or other law-knowledgeable persons. They followed the common law system; which included set of rules that were used to solve problems in society. It was based on the history of decisions that previous judges had made instead lawmaking codes or laws. This system made a distinction between two basic types of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors. The legal process, mostly for more serious crimes, involved a grand jury, composed of members of the community, which loved to commit crimes, which decided whether there was enough evidence for prosecution. However, in these proceedings no district attorneys or public prosecutors were available. The victim of the crime was responsible for instigating the prosecution and financing it. It was these fundamental principles that stuck with the colonists and were used selectively to create a new and unique criminal justice system. Many factors influenced the colonists’ selection process by which they constructed their approach to criminal justice. Being that there were no professional lawyers this left a lot of room for creativity and mistakes. The colonists were pretty much left to their own devices concerning the details of their developing...
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