Criminal justice system is one of the vital institutions of a country. The law and order in a country is maintained with the help of the criminal justice system. The core of American criminal system is that no innocent person should be punished even if thousands of criminals escaped. Some of the major parts of American criminal system are magistrates’ courts, juvenile courts, trial by jury, bail, probation and parole, policemen etc. Judiciary, Parliament and Executive are the three pillars of democracy and criminal justice system functions under judiciary. This paper briefly analyses some of the features of American criminal justice system
American criminal justice system
American criminal justice system consists of three separate organized parts; the enforcement or police, adjudication or courts and corrections (jails, prisons, probation and parole) with each of them have specific tasks (Criminal Law). These three distinctive agencies work together to maintain law and order in America. Police take necessary actions to maintain law and order in the country. Those who break law and order will be arrested and brought to the court for trial. Judge, prosecutor and defense attorney are the three basic elements of a court. In the court, the culprits have the right to prove their innocence with the help of a counsel. The court can relieve the culprits from criminal charges if the culprit proved his innocence in the court. Otherwise he/she will be sentenced and sent to the prisons for a fixed time period. Mandatory, fines, fixed period of jail terms, execution etc are some of the major punishments given to the criminals by the court, depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime established. In prisons, these criminals have the opportunity to correct themselves. Prisons authorities will take every action to correct the criminals. If the prison authorities feel that the culprit has changed a lot because of the corrective measures taken inside the jail, parole or probation can be allotted to such criminals to test their behavior in the real life environment or in the external world.
American criminal justice system has undergone many changes in the last few decades because of the changes in life philosophies and views. Earlier, criminal justice system focused more on punishing the criminals. The police officers behaved brutally at the criminals and they engaged in all sorts of brutal punishment activities in order to establish a crime. But the current police officers are using intelligent methods to establish crime rather than the cruel punishment based interrogation. Community policing is one of the modern ideas in which police officers should be behaved as a friend to the community rather than a threat. Earlier people looked suspiciously at the police officers because of the immense power these officers enjoyed. But now police has realized that it is impossible for them to establish crime without having the proper assistance from the people. So, they have changed their tactics now. Instead of creating panic among the people, most of the current police officers try to establish friendship with the public in order to get more cooperation from them. The courts are also more focused on the correction aspect rather than the punishment aspect. The value of human life is important which is recognized by the courts at present. Execution like brutal punishment is given only in rare cases now by the courts.
American criminal justice system is part of judiciary which comprises of police, courts and correction. The law and order is maintained in America by the combined effort of these agencies.