The federal government and every state have written constitutions that are separate and are used to define the powers and general organization of the government. Constitutional law is always expressed within the documents and is considered as the United States constitution used by the country and the state constitution for respective states. Criminal law contains prohibited behaviors and possible sanctions for the behaviors. In each state, there is a criminal code, state and federal codes and constitutions are readily available.
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Crimes are defined as the specific act which includes the act itself and circumstances surrounding the occurrence of the act. For example, the crime of burglary in common law includes breaking and entering into other persons dwelling places without his consent. Crime is also defined as failure to act due to the mental state of a person where criminal intent at different levels is defined by knowledge, elements of purpose, recklessness, and negligence. A person may purposely commit a crime due to the desire to engage in criminal conduct in order to cause a criminal result. Criminal negligence occurs if a person deviates from the standard that a reasonable person is supposed to use given the same circumstances.
In the United States Constitution and bill of rights, many of the fundamental rights used by the citizens originate from classical criminology. These rights include, right to have a public trial, rules against vagueness, right of being judged by peers, right of dismissing certain jurors, right not to have unusual punishments, right to have a speedy trial, and right of examining the witness. The tortured and coerced confessions are invalid and there is the right to be informed about the acts of the person who is accused.
The classical school of criminology is growing steadily in popularity. The criminology theory of making rational choices takes classical ideas and makes them relative to the issues in the United States today. The theory of rational choice believes in a free will where rational choices to commit crimes are made by individuals, pleasure or pain are used in making rational choices where choices made by people are the ones that increase their pleasure. (Sam, 2000)
The government deserves the right and duty of preserving the common good and severe, swift, and certain society punishments give the government control of behavior and choices of people by use of punishment and incarceration in preventing crime. The theory of rational choice deals with specific and general issues of deterrence and the use of incarceration. In general deterrence, crime is not committed by the general public because they fear being caught, severely punished, and prosecuted. Specific deterrence occurs in a situation where a deviant is known and punishment is used to prevent him from committing the crime in the future or the criminal gets enough punishment after committing a crime making him not repeat the same crime in the future.
Incarceration is punishing criminals using prisons by taking them outside the society so that they may not do new harm. Recent policies in the United States are influenced by the work of Beccaria in the field of criminology. In looking at the truth in sentencing, swift punishments, determinant sentences, and corporal sentences, crime should be looked at but not the criminal, punishment to be used but not treatment. People choose crime rationally and judicial discretion is less. All state governments have not been able to adopt these ideas because most of them have adopted and many are still to follow.
The recent trend of gun control is against the right to bear arms. According to the utility of gun control, the idea of utility is false because of sacrificing thousands of real advantages for the trifling inconvenience because fire should be taken away from men because it burns and water because it can drown people. This is only a remedy for destruction but not for evils because laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm the people who are neither determined nor inclined to commit crimes.
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The principles of the classical school of criminology led to the implementation of problem-solving and community-oriented policing which was proposed by the federal government in order to nature policing in the United States. There were some encouraging reports from communities but controlled and systematic evaluation studies need to provide the actual impact of the strategy and know the cost of effectiveness to ensure there is the potential use of policymakers. The commitment to carry out an evaluation of new public policing relates to a growing consensus among the general public where government services and institutions are accountable with respect to efficiency and effectiveness. (Conley, 1996)
Conley P. (1996): The bill of rights and the states; the colonial and revolutionary: Littlefield publishers.
Sam F. (2000): The declaration of independence and the constitution of United States: Audio Bookshelf.