Criminal Justice in America

Criminal justice involves the study of matters revolving around the police, criminal courts, and other correctional institutions. Criminal justice is different from both criminology and from criminal law. The study of criminal justice was started in the United States back in the 20th century. The gap between the actual work that the agencies of criminal justice should do and what the law expects of them to do increased after the Supreme Court of the country increased the rights of the criminal defendants based on the due process clause in the constitution. Since then, more effort has been put into place in order to strengthen these particular agencies (Schmalleger, Frank, et al, 33). One of the efforts to strengthen the agencies was by providing grants to college students and encouraging them to take some of the common courses related to criminal justice. The number of universities and colleges that offered degrees in criminal justice increased gradually hence strengthening the criminal justice agencies. However, there are a number of issues or rather problems associated with criminal justice.

America is classified among one of the countries with the largest prison population worldwide. More than 2 million adults have already been incarcerated in the countries state prisons and county jails. More than 5 million people in the country, both the citizens and the non-residents were either on probation or on parole. There has been an increasing rate of cases of re-offense in the prisons and hence people keep getting in and out of prison (Cole, George, Christopher, " Christina, 45). People commit offenses, they are sent to jail and after being released they still commit other offenses. This is basically because most of the prisons in the country do not have skills programs for the inmates and besides, there is no support offered to the inmates upon release. According to the National Institute of justice, every time prisoners are released, three-quarters of them end up getting arrested again within a period of five years. And considering those who had been rearrested, half of them end up being arrested again within a period of one year. This only indicates that there is a major issue surrounding criminal justice since it should be a place of correction but it turns out that it does not play its role to most of the inmates.

The criminal justice system has for a very long time been associated with cases of racism. Most black people who end up in prison go through a lot of harm inside that institution. About 60% of all the prisoners in the country are either African Americans or the Hispanics. This is despite that these two groups of people make up only about a quarter of the entire US population. These prisoners usually are arrested due to drug-related offenses. The crackdown against cocaine in the country is meant to target mostly the African Americans. The black people who are caught with cases of drugs abuse are sentenced with longer jail terms as compared to the whites (Cole, George, Christopher, " Christina, 64). This is pure racism in the criminal justice system since both the whites and the blacks should be given similar sentences as long as their offenses are similar. Despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the cocaine users in the country are either the whites or the Hispanics, more than 80% of those arrested are in the federal courts are the blacks. Most of the African Americans families are left without father figures since their fathers are often arrested under very weird circumstances.

Any citizen who has a criminal record finds it very hard to secure a job. Despite the fact that employment is essential for one to cater for their daily needs and those of the entire family, people with criminal records are left to suffer without any source of income. For this reason, therefore, most of the inmates wish to remain in custody since they know they will suffer even more in the outside world. Even though they are released, they are forced to commit the crime once again since they do not have any hope in the life out of prison (Schmalleger, Frank, et al, 62). Most of the companies in the United States have to check the background of an individual before hiring them in order to find out if they have any criminal records. According to the U.S. Probation Office, all the criminals on probation should disclose their offenses to the employer and this only reduces the chances of securing a job. Besides, in cases where criminals secure a job, they usually receive a lower pay as compared to other people’s pay. Besides, they only secure manual labor jobs that most people are not willing to do. It is almost impossible for people such as sex offenders to secure a job.

There are too many laws in the country such that most people are not even aware of half of them. In most cases, people are arrested but they do not even know the offense they committed in the first place. According to estimate. An average person breaks more than three federal was daily without even knowing that it is breaking the law in the first place. This is the main reason behind the high incarceration rate in the country. Nobody actually bothers about these particular minor violations that highly affects the Americans. Besides this, the majority of the Americans do not actually understand their rights and for the few who do understand their rights, the law enforcement does not care for them (Cole, George, Christopher, " Christina, 76). For instance, when a police officer pulls a citizen over in the name of questioning, this is definitely a violation of rights but in most cases, the individual being pulled is not even aware of that. The police are only authorized to arrest law offenders but without violating anybody’s rights. Most agencies that are involved in law enforcement do not want questions from agents that want to find out whether their procedures violate the rights of the citizens. For this reason, therefore, they prefer individuals who are less intelligent since they can easily evade the questions. They know for a fact that most of their procedures violate the rights of the citizens and hence they have to try and evade the questions.

The laws associated with sex offenses are definitely harmful to sex offenders. They usually interfere with both the privacy and security of the sex offenders. There are no clear regulations determining the actual sex offense that warrants rough punishment. For instance, rapists and child molesters are often classified together with the offenses that do not have actual sexual offenses such as urinating on the roadside or watching pornographic materials (Schmalleger, Frank, et al, 47). It is possible that you would find the two groups being in one cell under the same offense, which is asexual offense but in the real sense the magnitude of the two offenses is completely different. This is definitely not right since the criminal record of the individual who urinates on the road will indicate that he once committed a sex offense which is not the case.

The Federal Criminal Justice system is based upon the idea that long-term sentences will help in reshaping the inmates and correcting their bad behavior. On the contrary, this has only turned out to be worse. There is no actual proof that long jail term sentences have anything to do with the reduction of crime. For this reason, therefore, the criminal justice system has got some policies that affect the people negatively instead of helping them. For instance, the long jail term causes the inmates to get worse since there are no platforms meant to support the inmates and to motivate them that life will be better once they get out and change their past behavior (Cole, George, Christopher, " Christina, 91). In other words, the current policies governing the criminal justice system condemns the criminals instead of acting like a platform where they can change their past behavior. The criminal justice system should change the policies to ensure that they create a platform for motivating the inmates and encouraging them to be better persons once they get out of prison. Prison should provide platforms whereby inmates can grow their talents and skills while still in prison.  Besides, people should be educated about their rights and these particular rights should never be violated by policemen. After being released from prison, it is important that people be given the chance to secure jobs since this may be the only way they can change into better citizens. Finally, racism in the criminal justice system should be completely eliminated.

Work cited

Cole, George F., Christopher E. Smith, and Christina DeJong. The American system of criminal justice. Cengage Learning, 2018.

Schmalleger, Frank, et al. Criminal justice today. Prentice Hall, 2014.

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