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Criminal Justice System

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Criminal Justice System

Crime and Justice are two very important pillars of the society. In fact, I believe that both crime and justice have become equally essential for functioning of human society - crime because it is a part of human behavior and justice to prevent the society from crime and live peacefully. The criminal justice system is made of three parts - Police, Courts and Corrections - and all three works together to protect an individual's rights and the rights of the society against crime. According to Merrian-Webster, crime is defined as "an act that is forbidden or omission of a duty that is commanded by public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law." When all the three parts work together, it makes the criminal justice system function like a well tuned machine.

In this paper, I propose to talk about how all the three parts of the criminal justice system works and also delve a little bit on the issue of racism in context of the criminal justice system as a lot of people believe that the system most of the times acts keeping the individual's race in mind.

When an individual enters the criminal justice system, it always begins with the police. So in order for police to be involved in any situation, there has to be a crime committed or violation of any law which has been put in place by the government. As the police act as the enforcement agents of these laws, they are the first ones to be involved. There are four steps that police follows when there is a crime - the crime itself, the report of the crime, the investigation of the crime, and the arrest to finish this process - these are the very basic avenues which police follows.

We have already established that for the police to be involved, the crime has to be committed. Once the crime is committed, someone has to report about the crime being committed and when the report has been made, the police begin its job and starts investigating that report to determine if a crime have been committed. Once it is determined that a crime has been committed, police moves to the next step of arrest. Several things need to happen in order to make an arrest - if the suspect is on the scene, an arrest can be made; if a suspect is absconding, then the police will have to apply for an arrest warrant through the court and once the arrest is made, the police books in the suspect and depending on the crime, either detains him or allow him/her to post some type of bond to assure the suspect's appearance for the court date.

The court is the second component of the justice system - once the suspect is arrested, s/he is referred to as a defendant. It is now up to the court to decide if the police had enough evidence for probable cause for arrest - if the determination is positive, then the defendant gets an opportunity to plead innocent or guilty. Once the court establishes that the defendant is innocent, s/he is released; on the other hand if the defendant is found guilty the court decides the type of punishment and then the defendant is turned over to the Corrections for the follow up of the punishment.

While the defendant is in the custody, Corrections is responsible for probation, prison and parole. When the defendant is found guilty and sent to prison, s/he will be housed away from society for a given period of time and while in prison, corrections is responsible for humane treatment of the defendant. Correction also takes up the responsibility of rehabilitation of that individual and tries to make them productive members of the society. Based on their behavior, the court and corrections officer decide if they want to place someone on parole while they are completing their term in the prison. This is to ensure that the defendant will comply with the rule of the society once they get out of the prison.

I will take the O.J. Simpson Trial to explain how O.J had to never enter the Corrections part of the criminal justice system and still the justice prevailed. So this is the famous case from 1994 and we all have heard about this case in one way or another. We all know that he entered the criminal justice system through the report of a crime of murders of his ex-wife and her boyfriend. The police became involved once someone called them reporting the murders. The police arrived to the scene and conducted an investigation which eventually led to O.J. Simpson's arrest after a slow vehicle pursuit through the streets of Los Angeles. Once arrested, he was



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