For many students, learning about the US Criminal Justice System can be quite the challenge. There is much to learn about, from crime detection and prevention to prosecution and corrections. The system is designed to protect the rights of both the victim and the accused within a process of crime management. The study embraces constitutional provisions designed to ensure fairness at all levels of the system.
The aim of this book is to assist the new student of criminal justice in their understanding of the process and the conventions that underpin it. This guide presents a brief but clear narrative of the basics of the US Criminal Justice System. The following topics are covered: Basic principles of the Criminal Justice System (offenses, police powers, the court system and corrections.)
The criminal justice system is complex. It is also bureaucratic by design and has evolved over the years from simple unstructured peacekeeping units to the large complex crime-fighting system that it is today. Many of those who work within it find it challenging and unwieldy. Many of those who are accused of an offense find it confusing and intimidating. This goes for citizens and foreigners whether they are competent in the English language or not. For most members of ethnic minority groups, the experience can be harrowing and often fatal.
The criminal justice system is the collective institutions through which an accused passes until the accusations against her have been disposed of or the assessed punishment concluded.
There are three components to the system. These are:
Law Enforcement Police, Sheriffs and Marshals
The Judicial System Judges, Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys
Corrections Prison Officials, Probation Officers and Parole Officers