Criminal Justice System

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Criminal Justice System

Barbara Johnson

CJA/204 Introduction to Criminal Justice


Erica Veljic

Criminal Justice System

Crime and the criminal justice system: what are they, how do they interact with each other, what are their goals and are they a system or just a process. Each of these will be discussed in detail throughout this paper as well as the process of how the criminal justice system works.

The definition of crime is any action or activity that is punishable under criminal law. It is usually considered an offense against society and is punishable by sanctions that include loss of freedom or life. What is determined as criminal law is decided by society using one of two common models: consensus and conflict. The consensus model is as it sounds: as society comes together its members come to a basic agreement about what is acceptable and what is not. The conflict model creates laws based on what group is in power at the time. There are four main theories as to how or why crimes are committed. These are legalistic, political, sociological, and psychological ("Cji Interactive", n.d.). Legalistic theory of crime is that crime is committed when laws exist already saying that the action is a crime. Political theory is based around the conflict model saying that what is a crime is based on who holds the power. Sociological and psychological theories are based around norms set up by society and an individual’s ability to follow those norms.

Now that crime is defined, the components and structure of the criminal justice system and its goals can be discussed. The criminal justice system is made up of three major components: the police, the courts, and corrections. Simply put, the police enforce the law, the courts adjudicate the law, and corrections apply or enforce the law. These components work together to control crime, prevent crime and provide and maintain justice. According to the CJi Interactive website ("Cji Interactive", n.d.), these...