The Criminal Justice Non-System
The present criminal justice system is fragmented and rife with role conflicts among other problems. This makes the criminal justice a non-system, rather than a system. While the overlapping nature of the police, courts, and the corrections that make the criminal justice system arise out of necessity, this does not imply that their activities are coordinated, or logical (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013, p. 7). It is evident that each component of the criminal justice system is highly fragmented. For instance, the police component is comprised of numerous law enforcement agencies that have a varying history of cooperation and antagonism. The corrections component is made up state and federal correctional facilities. Furthermore, this component is also made up of thousands of local jails. The court appears to be the most fragmented component of the criminal justice. Its activities are undertaken by a variety of actors.
Most people working in the courthouse are employed by separate government agencies. These people mainly include the judges, prosecutors, public defenders, clerks, court reporters among others (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013, p. 7). We also have several private citizens working in the courthouse, and their actions can directly affect the activities of the courts, for instance defense attorneys and bail agents. While ordinary citizens, such as defendants and jurors, are normally compelled to be at the courthouse, victims and witnesses can be at the courthouse to facilitate case disposition. The fragmentations of these three criminal justice non-system components have been compounded by the decentralization of the government through the principle of federalism (Walsh, 2013, p. 39). The decentralization is largely responsible for the inherent tensions and conflict in this non-system because of the multiple and conflicting goals arising from the structural arrangement (Bumgarner, 2004, p. 9). Tension and conflict also arise because the others evaluate the task performed by each component.
Criminal justice as a non-system is the most advantageous because the evaluation of work performed by each component by the others enhances their work competencies. The autonomy of these components ensures that the work of one component cannot be compromised by that of the others due to conflict of interest. Criminal justice as a non-system is the best.
Bumgarner, J. B. (2004). Profiling and criminal justice in America: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Neubauer, D., & Fradella, H. (2013). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. New York: Cengage Learning.
Walsh, J. P. (2013). The culture of urban control: Jail overcrowding in the crime control era. Lanham: Lexington Books.