Disaster and the Criminal Justice System

Topics: Police, Criminal justice, Law enforcement agency Pages: 17 (5684 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Who’s in Charge Here?
Some Observations on the Relationship
Between Disasters and the American Criminal Justice System

Robert J. Louden, Ph.D.
Professor and Program Director, Criminal Justice
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice
Georgian Court University
900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
(732) 987-2711 loudenr@georgian.edu www.georgian.edu

Abstract: Since the beginning of time the world has experienced a wide range of disasters. Responsibility for organizing and directing responses to disasters has varied over time and from place to place. The core functions of the American criminal justice system were established between 1776 and the adoption of the US Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights in 1789. However, it was not until 1967 that our federal government produced a schematic that graphically presented both the process and the major decision points of the criminal justice system. Although disaster related activity has been present and accepted as a central function of many criminal justice agencies, it did not appear in this significant document. A brief overview of the American criminal justice system is offered. The aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 09/11/01 and the hurricanes of 2005 have illuminated many problems and concerns confronting the criminal justice system as a major component of government response to disasters. Practical experiences in NYC and New Orleans are highlighted. Broad based recommendations for research are suggested.

As with any discussion involving links between disasters and a given discipline, the relationship between this subject and the criminal justice system are extensive and complex. In our society criminal justice is perhaps the ultimate multi-disciplinary discipline. At a minimum, aspects of the law, political science, public health, public management, psychology, and sociology influence the practical, tactical and legal activities of criminal justice system agencies on a daily basis. All of these sometimes complementary and sometimes contradictory interactions converge in disaster planning and response. Disaster in this paper is regarded to be a nonspecific event and includes natural and man-made incidents. There are numerous overlapping practical associations that one must be concerned with when considering this topic. One set of issues is relevant to the mandate of an individual criminal justice organization; a second is the interconnected bureaucratic concerns of police, the courts and corrections. Another is the involvement of the machinery of criminal justice with the broader community that it is part of. Within this context one must also remember that given the nature of governmental and political sub-divisions in the US: federal, state, county, and local, linkages are far-reaching and potentially confusing if not conflicting. The concerns of issues related to ‘states-rights’ and ‘home-rule’ have influenced the development of criminal justice agencies, and their organizational mandates, throughout the country. Although our federal government does not directly control most of the criminal justice agencies in the US, there are several ways in which local policy and practice may be influenced by Washington through various court decisions, rule settings, investigative bodies, oversight mechanisms and funding. All of this has had an impact upon the role of law enforcement in emergency management in the United States. This paper reflects on the topic of disaster and the discipline of criminal justice from a number of perspectives: inter and intra operations of criminal justice agencies, and the collaboration or lack there of, between criminal justice agencies and other aspects of governance. Portions of this paper are anecdotal in nature, based on the author’s participant-observer status during an active twenty-one year career in policing and a subsequent eighteen year career...

References: ABA. June, 1974. Standards Relating To The Urban Police Function. Washington, DC:
American Bar Association.
American Bar Association, Judges’ Journal (1998) 37 No.4 Judges’ J.
Asbury Park Press (October 6, 2005) “Sheriff denies allegations of death, abandonment at New Orleans Jail”. (p.A12).
Bittner, Egon. 1975. The Functions of the Police in Modern Society. New York: Jason
Confessore, Nicholas. (April 23, 2005) “Mayor Says It’s Best To Let Police Control Terror
Scenes.” New York Times (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?tntget=2005/04/23).
Connolly, Ceci (November 8, 2005) “Thousands of Katrina Calls Went Astray.” Washington Post. (www.washingtonpost.com/11/07/2005)
Corbett, Glenn
Cordes, Joseph G. 1971. "Why the Police Exist”, unpublished paper, New York: John Jay
College of Criminal Justice.
FEMA. (February, 1994). “Report of the Joint Fire/Police Task Force on Civil Unrest:
Recommendations for Organization and Operations During Civil Disturbance.
Flin, R. and K. Arbuthnot (Eds.). 2002. Incident Command: Tales from the Hot Seat.
Goldstein, Benjamin,"Non-Police Duties of Today 's Policemen", Connecticut Government,
Institute of Public Service, University of Connecticut, June, 1966.
Giuliani, Rudolph W. 2002. Leadership. New York: Miramax Books.
Haberman, Clyde. (April 26, 2005) “What’s Normal About Security and Harmony?” New
York Times.
ICMA. 1979. Managing Fire Services. Washington, DC: International City Management
Lee, Melville. 1901 A History of Police in England. London: Metheun,
Louden, Robert J
Report, Observations on Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Record on the Anniversary of 9/11” in Legal Times, Vol.XXV, Number 35, p.51, September 9, 2002.
McGeehan, Patrick. (June 22, 2005). “In an Old West Virginia Tunnel, a Team of City
Rescuers Rehearses for the Worst.” New York Times.
Millhollon, Michelle (September 19, 2005). “La. Frees, assists Orleans inmates”. The Advocate. (http://2theadvocate.com/cgi-bin/printme.pl 9/19/05).
New York State Special Commission on Attica. 1972. Attica. New York: Praeger.
Nickerson, Brian. (May 31, 2005). “White Plains’ Lesson for NYC Cops, Firefighters.”
The Journal News
Perstein, Michael. (January 9, 2006) “When the flood ruined DNA samples at NOPD headquarters, it washed away hope for inmates trying to prove their innocence.” The Times-Picayune.
Pfiffner, John M., 1967. "The Function of the Police in a Democratic Society”,
Unpublished paper, University of Southern California, 1967.
Platt, Rutherford H. 1999. Disasters and Democracy: the politics of extreme natural
Police Executive Research Forum. (October 2, 2001). “Local Law Enforcement’s Role
In Preventing and Responding to Terrorism” Discussion Draft, Washington, DC.
President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. 1967.
President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. 1967.
Randolph, Ned (October 10, 2005) “Orleans DA says he may have to shut down.” The Advocate. (www.2the advocate.com/cgi-bin/printme.pl 10/24/2005)
The Constitution of the United States.
Tucker, Eric (September 22, 2005). “Criminals Among Katrina Refugees Sought” Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com 9/22/05).
Urban Academy. 1979. “New York City Mayor’s Emergency Control Board: Emergency
Management Plan.”
Useem, Bert, and P.Kimball. 1989. States of Siege. New York: Oxford University Press.
Useem, Bert, et al. 1995. Resolution of Prison Riots. Washington, DC: NIJ.
Wills-Raftery, Dorothy. 1994. Four Long Days: return to Attica. New York: American
Life Associates.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Crime and the Criminal Justice System Essay
  • Race in the Criminal Justice System Essay
  • The Criminal Justice System Essay
  • The American Criminal Court System Essay
  • U.S. Criminal Justice System Essay
  • Criminal Justice System Paper
  • cultural concerns in the criminal justice Essay
  • The Criminal Justice System Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free