The criminal justice system is purposed to provide ‘justice for all. The actual goal of providing justice for all is to protect the innocent and establish a fair justice process. The existing institutions in the criminal justice system are designed to process a case from the beginning to the end, from inception through trials to punishment. The three institutions of the criminal justice system are law enforcement, courts, and correctional institutions.
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The process of the case begins with an investigation of the crime, gathering pieces of evidence, and then proceeds to the court system. The court’s point is to weigh all the collected evidence and decide whether the subject is guilty. If the subject is convicted and the charges include jail time, he would be sent to the correctional institutions for punishment. The punishments, in general, are just merely to protect Americans from criminals (Bachman and Schutt 441). The jail terms usually do not exceed one year; prison terms for serious felony offenses, on the other hand, are generally longer than one year. Depending on the depth of committed crimes and punishment terms, a person may be jailed or imprisoned.
Hence the Constitution of the United States guarantees rights for all citizens, including criminals, several amendments of the constitution apply to criminal law to protect the subjects before, during, and after convictions. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unnecessary searches of their bodies or property. The Fifth Amendment declares that a person cannot be legally forced to give information if that information could incriminate themselves. The Fifth Amendment also ensures that an individual is only trialed once for a crime. Next, the sixth amendment covers the rights of the subject during trials – the right to have a lawyer represent the subject and have the case heard in front of a jury. Lastly, The Eighth Amendment exists to ensure that the punishments are fair and match the crimes committed.
Although society tends to reject criminals, the criminal justice system ensures that dangerous criminals are prevented from committing crimes. The criminal justice system also protects innocent individuals with lawyers to represent them in court. The amendments protect the citizens and help with matching the punishments to the crime.
Bachman, Ronet and Russell Schutt. The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 7th ed., Sage, 2020.