Crime in criminal justice system and who effects

Crime Justice Policy—A Review of
Evidence and Perspectives

 Crime is a part
of most people’s life in one fashion or another. In this essay I will define
what crime control policy in general and how it how crime control policy
effects crime in the United States. With this you will be able to understand
what takes place in criminal justice system and who effects many types of laws
and changes. After reading you will be able to decide if the direction the
United Stated Crime control policy is headed is the best thing or in need an
overhaul.

First
let’s define what the Crime control model is really. “The Crime control model
refers to theories of criminal justice which places emphasis on reducing the
crime in society through increased police and prosecutorial powers.” (US Legal, 2017) “Crime control prioritizes the
power of the government to protect society, with less emphasis on individual
liberties.” (US Legal, 2017) U.S. Legal provided a good overview
from a layman’s view of crime control. The goal is to protect the public’s
needs but not too loose power as the government. There is one major problem
with this, who determines what is legal and what is not. The answer to that
question is the government or the people in power with the most money.

Although
there is clearly a crime problem in the United Stated, people’s definitions of
the problem vary considerably across time and space. (Worral,
2015) As far as laws are concerned many
things are made into laws but it is the legal, social, and cultural factors
that influence law and determining what is criminal and what is not.
Individuals have rights, to an extent, but only as long as they do not affect
the ones that hold all the power. The example I have provided below is a quick
reference:

To look at this in a perspective I
can explain, take drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin these drugs were
not illegal in the United States prior to the 20th century. Since these drugs
were found to be “bad” by the money in the United States they now attract some
of the most severe punishments criminal law.

The
basis of how laws are made come from “legal, social, and cultural factors that
influence the decision to criminalize or not criminalize unwanted behaviors.” (Bittle, 2003) Crime is a
result of various things in our life but the main thing is money. When you look
at the money of it you can see that “crime control policy is politically constructed.” (Scheingold, 2000) The ones with the money are the
ones who control the legal system and they use lobbyist to achieve this goal. “Public policy is the ultimate
output of a political system and influencing policy is the main intent of
interest groups.” (Grossmann, 2012) Grossmann explains how much influence lobbyist have one the process:

“According to
policy historians, interest groups are involved in significant policy
enactments quite often. Interest groups were partially credited with 279
significant new laws passed by Congress (54.8 per cent of all significant
legislative enactments), 31 significant executive orders (41.3 per cent of the
total), 35 significant administrative agency rules (39.3 per cent of the total)
and 46 significant judicial decisions (36.8 per cent of the total).” (Grossmann, 2012)

“The crime control model stands
in contrast to the due process perspective. It emphasized the importance of
controlling crime, perhaps to the detriment of civil liberties.” (Worral, 2015) When looking at the goals of crime control “there are differences in
the goals people believe should have priority. (Worral, 2015) These difference in goals effect how the process works and if it allows
it to work the way it should of not. To this day there is still the debate on
“weather faith or fact, crime control or revenue generation, or political or
ivory tower thinking dominates in criminal justice.” (Worral, 2015)

After how and why laws are
created come the process of enforcing these laws. This is where the theory of
tradition policing coming into play. “Traditional policing consists of simple,
common sense, and generally unimaginative police approaches to the crime
problem.” (Worral, 2015) With all the research in to “tradition policing and the ways it works
with crime control “traditional policing approaches do not appear to affect
crime rates.”  (Worral, 2015) Since traditional policing does not show to work you have to reply on
new ideas of policing such as proactive, directed and other new age ideas. The
next step of the process is the partnership between police and corrections.

The shift to a new way of
thinking in prosecution is referred to strategic prosecution. “Strategic
prosecution represents a marked departure from the traditional role of the
prosecutor.” (Worral, 2015) With this strategy the shift is from looking at each case that is
submitted to the district attorney’s office and to look at the overall picture
in reducing crime rates. Under this policy there are several things that assist
in the process and make it harsher on some crimes. There
are problems with any policy and plea bargaining is still a major downfall in
many people’s eyes. The majority, “90 percent by some estimates”, of criminal
cases are decided in the plea bargain area and never are tried. There are good
things with plea bargaining just as there are bad. Many believe that justice is
not served when a plea is taken just to get a conviction and “that the practice
actually contributes to inefficiency.” (Worral, 2015)  On the other side “if every
defendant demanded his or her right to a jury trial and succeeded in such
demand, the criminal justice system would literally collapse.” (Worral, 2015) New ideas need to be brought in to the court system to be able to allow
people to not just take a charge because they can’t afford to wait.

A quick look into sentencing will
make you think about how the next step really works. “Fines are the most common
punishment used by the criminal justice system today.” (Worral, 2015) This is because fines are the quickest and easiest way to “punish”
someone for a crime they have committed. Incarcerating someone is the next step
up from fines or probation. “The research concerning the relationship between
incapacitation and crime is uncertain at best.” (Worral, 2015) So, by looking at sentencing there are several ways to “punish” a
criminal from fines, fees, forfeiture, incarceration, touch sentencing
approaches and overall deterrence.

 With the explanation of how the system works
it’s now time to look at it all together and look at if the current crime
control policy and methods work. I do not think this is an answer than can be
said does not work or not because it is much more complex than that. There are
things that can be effective on crime control and things that are not
effective. In Worral’s book Crime Control in America he lists over one hundred
ideas on what is effective, what is not and the ones not you cannot explain.
Some examples of effective ways of reducing crime would be the hiring and
implication of more police officers on the streets, numerous educational
programs and ways to improve environmental criminology. Some of the high points
on the failures are college degrees for police, moving police towards community
policing, gun buybacks and programs like scared straight. The list for
uncertainties is the longest because the research has not been done and they
just have not been in place long enough to tell one way or the other.

As stated at
the beginning crime
is a part of most people life no matter what is done. After the explanation of
what crime control policy is and the glimpse of many steps in the process of
criminal justice the main question is how does it affect crime. Thought this
essay ideas have been shown to how the practice works and does not work. To say
overall, “the overall combination of justice system efforts and individual,
family, schools and community efforts help to make America safer.” (Worral,
2015) Then there are many programs that
are “a colossal wash of money, though they continue to flourish.” (Worral,
2015) Overall, there is much more
research which needs to take place to be able to accurately stated if our crime
control policy works or not but as shown you can see some of the ideas that do
work. 

Top 10 list of
information/perspectives to citizens

America has a crime problem but it has decreased in the
last years.

Violent crime has dropped in the past twenty-five years there based on a
few reports. The main two
cited reports that measure national crime are the FBI and Bureau of Justice
Statistics. Both the FBI and BJS data has shown a decline in violent crimes
since the early 1990s. “Using the FBI numbers, the rate fell 50% between 1993
and 2015, the most recent full year available. Using the BJS data, the rate
fell by 77% during that span.” (Gramlich, 2017)

Criminal justice policy is greatly influenced by politics
and money

Money and interest groups are the makers of laws not what is best for
the people. “Public policy is the ultimate output of a political system and
influencing policy is the main intent of interest groups.” (Grossmann, 2012) Grossmann
talked about how interest groups were credited with “279 significant new laws
passed by Congress (54.8 per cent of all significant legislative enactments),
31 significant executive orders (41.3 per cent of the total), 35 significant
administrative agency rules (39.3 per cent of the total) and 46 significant
judicial decisions (36.8 per cent of the total).” (Grossmann, 2012)

Hiring more police officers lowers the crime rate

In Worrall’s Crime Control in America,
a valid conclusion is made from research. “annual expenditures on police are
approximately $60 billion, so the cost of the 14 percent increase in police is
$8.4 billion a year…if the increase in police reduced crime by 5-6 percent,
then the corresponding benefit of crime reduction is $20-$25 billion, well
above the estimated cost. Thus…the investment in police appears to have been
attractive from a cost benefit perspective.” (Worral, 2015) Let’s think about
the for a few minutes. For every 15 percent increase in police a year, crime
can drop 5-6 percent. What if the increase in spending was 30 percent would
that give up a 10-12 percent drop in the crime rate? By educating the public on
criminal justice proceeding and explaining how the money is spent can go a long
way.

Better equipment such as military equipment for police
lowers the crime rate.

“Militarization”
of law enforcement has been a discussion because many people do not like the
look but they do not look at the benefits that come along with it. A recent
study done by Harvard’s Kennedy School showed that “A 10 percent increase in
the total value of military aid given to a community leads to a decrease of
5.9 crimes per 100,000 population.” (Trilling, 2017) When you look at a
decrease of 6 crimes per 100,000 people this can mean a lot in a large city.
The main drops were largely in robberies, assaults, burglaries and car thefts,
minus murder, these are the harsher crimes one would encounter. With a drop of
the harsher crimes in a city it is easy to conclude that better or more
equipment does in fact help lower crimes rates. One thing that is interesting
about Harvard’s study is the cost relationship with equipment and crime rates.
“Based on the average cost of a crime, the authors conduct a cost-benefit
analysis that reasons $5,800 worth of military gear can save society about
$112,000. Thus, military aid is “a very inexpensive crime-reducing tool” when
compared to the costs and benefits of hiring additional police officers.”
(Trilling, 2017)

Deterrence theory does not have much effect on crime
rates.

When looking at the different
deterrence theories the one that most people know is general deterrence. This
is the one that is the hardest to prove but is used by departments all over to
be able to be harder on crime. According to Worral, there are a few reasons why
crime control is not affected on crime. The first being “that offenders are
knowledgeable, but literature clearly shows that many serious offenders lack
the ability to associate criminal activity with potential punishment.” (Worral,
2015) Second, many offenders have a drug
problem making them not able to look at the consequences as a normal person
would. The final being, “the most important, the criminal justice system has a
poor track record of catching lawbreakers.” (Worral,
2015) With this information you can
conclude that deterrence does not have the effect that most would think it
should.

Community policing has its limitations but can help
police.

One of the best things that
community policing has done, in theory, is to bring trust back to the police by
the community. “Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agencies
and the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety and
effective policing” (Department
of Justice, 2017) Without the trust of the community
it would make the job of police much harder. If the public is not going to
provide information about crime because they do not trust the police, leads
would never be found. With the issues of use of force and many believing what
the news says or what they don’t know, the trust in the police must be strong
or we will continue to have riots and protests.

There is a plea-bargaining pandemic just to get convictions.

There are problems with any policy and plea bargaining is still a major
downfall in many people’s eyes. The majority, “90 percent by some estimates”,
of criminal cases are decided in the plea bargain area and never are tried. (Worral,
2015) There are
good things with plea bargaining just as there are bad. Many believe that
justice is not served when a plea is taken just to get a conviction and “that
the practice actually contributes to inefficiency.” (Worral,
2015)  On the other side “if every defendant
demanded his or her right to a jury trial and succeeded in such demand, the
criminal justice system would literally collapse.” (Worral,
2015) New ideas
need to be brought in to the court system to be able to allow people to not
just take a charge because they can’t afford to wait.

Prisons are overcrowded.

The United
States has about 5 percent of the world’s population it holds almost 25 percent
of that behind bars. This equals about 2.2 million people. “Over the past four
decades, the nation’s get-tough-on-crime policies have packed prisons and jails
to the bursting point, largely with poor, uneducated people of color, about
half of whom suffer from mental health problems.” (Collier, 2014) “While the
United States has 707 incarcerated people per 100,000 citizens, for example, China
has 124 to 172 per 100,000 people and Iran 284 per 100,000. North Korea is
perhaps the closest, but reliable numbers are hard to find; some estimates
suggest 600 to 800 per 100,000.” (Collier, 2014)

Treating drug addiction can assist in keeping repeat
offenders out of the system.

This is
something I never thought I would be saying but after reading several studies
on the matter I have to agree. Researches of the past 30 years have been
looking into drug abuser in the criminal justice system. “Research has
consistently shown that community-based drug abuse treatment can reduce drug
use and drug-related criminal behavior. A meta-analysis of 78 comparison-group
community-based drug treatment studies found treatment to be up to 1.8 times
better in reducing drug use than the usual alternatives” Another study showed
that “patients who received methadone plus counseling were significantly less
likely to use heroin or engage in criminal activity than those who received
only counseling.” With less criminal activity among drug users would be a drop
in the crime rate. 

(Redonna K. Chandler, Bennett
W. Fletcher, & Nora D. Volkow, 2009)

The war on drugs is a for profit government implicated
policy.

There always is an extraordinary amount
of money spent towards law enforcement’s war on drugs but “while little
evidence supports the use of police crackdowns to reduce the number of drug
market participants and sales over the long term, there have been indications
that crackdowns can have a time-limited impact on drug markets (D. Décary-Hétu,
2016). One of the main reasons why drugs never go away is because it is a
business for quite a few people. With the demand for drugs on the street
growing day by day there will always be more people beginning to have a need.
Law enforcement cannot keep up and thus does not stand a chance in ever having
a true effect on the street drug epidemic. “Fighting a war with inappropriate
strategies and/or weapons hardly ever guarantees winning it” (Alexandris
Polomarkakis, 2017).