Last Updated 22 Mar 2023

Why Do We as a Society Need a Criminal Justice System?

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The criminal justice system is comprised of a basic formation, the law enforcement agencies, the courts, and the correctional services. This system has existed since ancient times and although the three facilities haven’t completely been replaced over the centuries, there has been a lot of change and amendment to how the system is used to investigate, deter, and keep order and control in today’s society.

It is a fundamental part of our society and we know that comprehensive, effective, and nondiscriminatory implementation of criminal justice system powers is essential to ending violence, both for freeing individual and for ending the worldwide epidemic of violence against one another.

Although the system has evolved over the years to adjust and accommodate people of different status, class and provide a multicultural aspect to society, just as any other system there will always be some impediments and inconsistencies such as, financial restraints, inequality, selective law enforcement and public influence such as media ideas and images of crime. Why we need a criminal justice system It would be unrealistic of people in society to believe every crime could be prevented and every criminal caught and incarcerated.

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Its however not unrealistic to expect to live in a safe society that is provided with equality, fairness, and is reliable and respected. Without the criminal justice system the entire society would disintegrate and it would be overrun with crime and wrong doing. The law enforcement, the courts and the correctional arms of the system each take on a responsibility to follow procedures laid down by the government, who determine what society needs more or less of at any particular time.

From the data below (Government expenditure by sector 2004-2005) we can quite clearly see how the criminal justice system has changed in order to meet the needs of society; this is an example of how the government prioritises the needs of society at any particular time. The education sector of the chart is obviously the highest in priority which shows that government is now trying a different perspective as was used years ago by now educating the public and society on how to help prevent crime themselves and teaching parents how to help prevent their children from deviating against them, and becoming another statistic.

Coming in second to education is the health expenditure which shows that there is quite a high need for medical and health attention for those that come in contact with the criminal justice system. The government is becoming more aware of the need for chances of rehabilitation for mentally ill and suicidal persons, where these issues are not now seen as a crime but now as a personal issue and the government is now taking it extremely seriously the need for a solution and not punishment to their mental states which may have led them to their criminal ways instead of punishing them for their illness.

As we see community services are the next most important thing the government is seeing as a need in the criminal justice system. The law enforcement, courts and correctional facilities only deal with the law and order in society and maintaining social control, but without the community services (Eg: Housing, education, financial services, legal services) the people going into and coming out of the criminal justice system would have nowhere to go for support. The community services is a crucial element to the criminal justice system for the individuals of crime, the families and everyone affected, by providing the additional support needed.

The system for punishment has changed many times over the decades the criminal justice system has been around, from corporal punishment (whipping, removing of hands for theft and even execution), to lighter punishments such as community services, probationary periods, and parole for less serious offences to prison terms for more severe offences. The less serious of offences such as vandalism by a juvenile will more than likely obtain a community service punishment to remove or fix the damage caused there by ridding the community of the vandalism and educating the convicted, in turn the convicted is less likely to reoffend.

So in most cases such as theft, vandalism, and minor assault cases, if the case is finalised in court by conviction (typically by a defendant's entering a plea of guilty to the offence or to a less serious offence), the defendant may receive a non incarceration sentence such as parole, community service or probation. From this narrowing of cases Daly et al. (2006) p 275 found from a large number experienced by victims to a trickle of defendants convicted and sanctioned has the appearance of a funnel and saves resources and space in prisons and other correctional facilities for the more serious defendants.

As the above pie chart (Composition of government expenditure on criminal justice 2006-2007) shows us the police services are at the head position of the overall expenditure of the three arms of the criminal justice system. The government is aware of the vast need for more funds into the policing sector, for the fact this arm is the division that provides the law and order and is out there addressing the issues that are affecting society and apprehending the criminals in, to ensure the criminal justice system continues to function in a fair and equally sufficing way.

The police have moved to further advance their policing techniques, from general law enforcement to ‘Community policing’, which focuses more on ‘conciliatory rather than a coercive approach to police work’, which involves the community and individuals in playing a co-participatory role in the act of crime prevention. In conclusion the overall principle of the criminal justice system is to provide justice for everyone in society and to keep society safe and in order by convicting the criminals and rehabilitating them not to offend again, and to support them as the re-enter society.

The criminal justice system works with other organisations to help prevent crime and bring those who to offend to justice and also educating society and keeping them involved in ways they can help. Even with the inconsistencies and impediments, without a criminal justice system, societies all over the world would be overrun with chaos and society would cease to function. In order to keep society smooth running and the people safe maintenance of the criminal justice system is vital for social order and control.

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