Local Policy Paper
The criminal justice system of Texas (U.S.A) covers both criminal justice and civil justice, consist of law enforcement, law adjudication (the court system), and criminal corrections.
Law enforcers includes; attorneys, sheriff and police departments, and the state Department of Public Safety. Whilst, criminal corrections includes; prisons, pardons, and paroles.
Additionally, the criminal justice in Texas involves Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The Office of the Attorney General is the state’s top lawyer and law enforcer, which is elected by the citizens of Texas. The prime responsibility of the Office of the Attorney General includes; defending the laws and constitution of the state, represent the state in lawsuit / court cases, and commend on bond issues.
In addition, the responsibilities of the Office of the Attorney General includes; “heading of state agencies and other state officials and agencies, defending against challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the state, issuing legal opinions when requested by the Governor, and serving as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government”.
The Antitrust and Civil Medicaid Fraud Division and Consumer Protection Division investigate in violations of state and federal antitrust statues, and consumer fraud and civil lawsuits. Both bureaus of the state are responsible in prosecuting such cases.
Types of Law
The justice system of Texas are divided into; Civil law, Criminal law and Administrative law. The civil law covers ant disputes between; individuals and / corporations in the state. Criminal law encompasses crimes committed against the state, and any violations under the laws of the state.
Administrative laws include laws set and enforces by the government other than the legislative body of the state. For example, the state sets curfew among minors and imposes fines to violators. To be able to put on trial the alleged citizen, the government of the state does have local courts, district (law) firms, lawyers, forensic laboratories, police and jails.
Criminal Justice System
In general, most citizens wanted to punished criminals harshly, treat them as they wouldn’t create any crime in the future. In most of the states, the justice system provides a moral trade-off between public safety and the protection of the rights of the criminals. Texas criminal justice system prefers immediate and strict punishment for the citizens violating the laws of the state.
The criminal justice system in Texas has three components; law enforcement and criminal prosecution, criminal trial and appeals, corrections. Each component of the criminal justice system of Texas comprises hundreds of employees. The Department of Public Safety as part of the criminal justice system of the state patrols roadways and other facilities of the state.
The court system of Texas follows a hierarchy, in which, local courts are decentralized among municipalities of Texas. The Supreme Court of Texas functions to regulate policies and laws among local courts. Unlike in other countries, the states in America do have each supreme courts and the county (state) are considered autonomous / taken apart from the country’s policies and laws.
Each of the components of the criminal justice of the state does function separately, with its own structure and implementation of its duties. Even though the criminal justice system of the state set standards on how the crimes will be investigated and prosecuted, this varies among localities / municipalities in the state. On the other hand, the criminal justice system in Texas performs strict policies despite its decentralization of the system. Most of the criminals are prosecuted and put up into jail (Brauchli, 2005).
Sentencing and Penalties
Sentencing among criminals is based on the graded penalties which specify the degree of penalties to be imposed with regards to the degree of crime the accused done. The degree of crime is differentiated between misdemeanor and felonies. Misdemeanors are crimes with lower degree of punishment compare to felonies. Misdemeanor does involve petty crimes such as, minor drug possessions, generally crimes without involvement in injuring a person / citizen of the state. On the other hand, felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. This includes; theft, homicide, and damages of state’s property. Both cases are prosecuted in district courts, severe crimes are prosecuted at the Supreme Court of Texas (The Justice System, 2006).
Misdemeanor are considered minor crimes with minor punishments (graded in classes) while felonies are penalized by degrees. Upon committing felonial crime, the criminals are convicted to death. Repeat offenders; involve assigning higher degree of felony. The criminal in return, may be convicted to a higher degree of punishment and in worst scenario, amputation of human rights of the accused.
Implications of Policies to Criminal Justice System of Texas
The society set standards to what their state would behave and the policies to be implemented. The policies and laws imposed to provide the criminal justice system of the state a guide on how the system will investigate and prosecute crimes, accused the criminals, and punish them accordingly to the degree of the crime they committed. The criminal justice of the state is transparent, meaning that the system works to defend the constitution, protect the citizens of Texas against criminals, and provide the citizens policies in order to maintain peace in the state.
The criminal justice system of the state is not being harsh and cruel to its citizens; the system only maintains upright decisions on which the citizens can expect fair treatment among any individuals. Weak implementation of policies and laws confers unfair justice, abuse of public property and upheaval.
Wherever the citizens vote for the Sheriff and / or the Attorney General, the state shows the importance of democracy in Texas. The fast punishment to criminals made the justice system of the state respectable and fair. Criminals are subjected to prisonment if the court found the accused guilty. In short terms, the policies and laws are applied and not misused.