Flawed Criminal Justice System in the United States
The Criminal Justice System of the country is under scrutiny as many researchers believe the inadequacy of the system to punish law offenders. Ideally, the justice system is there to defend society from its own people who violate specific laws that govern social order and peace.
But it has been criticized for much other reason.
One of which is that the criminal justice system is integrally corrupt and flawed.
One major flaw of the criminal justice system in the country is that it demands a category of financial capability, or else you can get out of jail. It is very easy to get out of your term in jail. If one can afford the bail, then less time in prison will be charged. The more money one has, the less time he or she has to stay in prison to avail of the crime he committed. Such is the case of many prominent and influential families in the country.
But judging from statistics, many people convicted with crimes are more or less poor to afford the standardized bail in the justice courts. Judge who process the hearings are also a major factor in determining how much would one criminal pay to get out of jail, and if one person is lucky, the judge may sympathized with his/her situation in terms of his/her finances, and bail conditions are much less than the average. This is one of the major flaws in the criminal justice system, money matters.
“You can get a person out of the ghetto, but you can not remove the ghetto out of him”. The aphorism mentions how much the environment one person lives affects his behaviour towards society and the people. Another problem criticized in the criminal justice system is the increasing recidivism rate of prisoners in the country. This explains former criminals not just going to jail once, but gets arrested for either the same crime or a new one.
The question that remains is whether the criminals are punished enough for the crimes committed, becomes reality persists that criminals return to prison after some time. As cited in Scott (2004) study, about 1500 men in the Chicago metropolitan alone returns to their communities each month.
The ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system to rehabilitate the ex-convicts into leading a more productive and moral life is being questioned. There are about 44 percent of ex-prisoners rearrested after being released from prison and that says how much inadequate the penalties for law offenders in the country.
There are many factors contributing to the rising number of criminals every year, majority of which due to the influence brought about by drugs and the selling and retailing of drugs.
As mentioned by Henslin, there is the prevailing “medicalization of human problems” caused by several “mood elevators” such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine and marijuana. Using these drugs has serious effects on the user, and thus actions are affected primarily with each use. From the use of different drugs arise many other consequences that contribute to the alarming rate of criminal acts in the country.
Henslin suggested that in order to “rehabilitate” these offenders with such influence from drugs, the society must entail the conscious effort to restrict the influence of the drugs and evoke a sense of acceptance without any punishment or even treatment of punishment to criminals. In the sense, what he is implying is that society must not react with such incidents with harsh punishments, otherwise, offenders will not learn.
But the rule of law applies to every individual and the state must protect each citizen for each account of violation, if the suggested action is more participatory and society-oriented, that is permitted given that punishment is also given to offenders.
The system only dictates its role as the primary body which governs all action against criminal offenders, but there also arise the role of the communities and other people involve modifying the system and putting a human touch in the rehabilitation process of the offender.
Yes, the suggestion is definitive of what the system needs in terms of more action from the society and how society shall respond, but the law must still be applied because it is the only way to govern peace and order in the society.
As mentioned, many researchers have proposed a more socially-oriented way to improve the justice system in the country. Human intervention between rehabilitation groups must exist to support the need for self rehabilitation of offenders. In such suggestions, it also implies the society to immediately relieve all influences in the media, society and community of possible sources of influence such as alcohol commercial and advertisements.
That will be very effective if the people in communities themselves adopt the role in which they will take part in rehabilitating these offenders. There must be support groups which aim to assist the offenders in a more righteous path. The criminal justice system must think of more innovative ways to relive the system of increasing recidivism of offenders.
Social policy also contributes to the problems in the criminal justice system. The justice system is concerned with major drug use, but as the readings entails, from a medical standpoint, all drugs are considered harmful when taken in excess. The society and the justice system must specify the definition of these terms in order to devise a more distinct approach in solving the problem with drugs.
Another approach taken into consideration in remedy of the flawed criminal justice system is the “get-tough policy”. This is in contrast with the approach presented earlier that involves the society and the community in rehabilitating offenders. The get-tough policy entails a more rigorous and strict pursuit of offenders in the society. More harsh punishments that will evoke a sense of restriction to anybody who attempts to do harm.
There is nothing wrong with the policy because there is the sense of responsibility given by the authority and the state in protecting the welfare of the people. But somehow, it questions that extent of this policy in terms of human rights.
Or how harsh is the state going to be in punishing offenders? These questions are answered with the right attitude and concise definition of the policies that will be implemented under the rule of law.