The criminal justice administration in the courts plays many roles one of them being to ensure that justice is passed to a criminal in accordance with the Constitution and existing federal and state laws. This always entails the assessment of the available evidence obtained by the police and other law enforcement officers who took part in the arrest and subsequent interrogation of the accused. It also entails analyzing the statements given by the witnesses and the victims (if still alive). However, the criminal justice administrator needs to ensure that proper procedure was followed during the arrest and interrogation of the accused. For instance, if the accused was arrested at his home and a number of evidence materials were collected, the administrator has to establish whether the law enforcement officials had a warrant and whether they conformed to the other prerequisites of the “search and seizure clause” of the Constitution. This is because one of the duties of the criminal justice system is to protect the rights of individuals as stipulated in the Constitution. In addition, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty and until then, his rights as a human being need to be respected. The administration of justice also requires that the defendant be well represented by a professional and competent attorney. In cases where the defendant cannot afford a private attorney, the criminal justice administrator should provide the defendant with one. This is one of the rights granted to the defendant by the Constitution (Joy and McMunigal, 2009).
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The role of the criminal justice administrator has both satisfactions and challenges. One of the greatest satisfactions of being a criminal justice administrator is the positive outcome of any trial. It is indeed comforting for a criminal justice administrator to see a suitable sentence passed down to a criminal based on the type and degree of the crime committed. This ensures that the criminal pays for the crime he committed and also offers the victims of the criminal justice. A second satisfaction arises when the criminal justice administrator has passed down a sentence to a criminal following the existing laws to the letter. Such precautions always prevent criminals from escaping from their punishments and instead ensure that justice is served. This is because failure to follow the laws can provide a loophole through which a criminal can easily escape from justice. Despite such satisfactions, criminal justice administrators often have to face several issues and challenges daily.
The United States is a highly diverse society with different ethnic and cultural groups living together. Studies show that majority of the most serious crimes such as homicide and illegal drugs trafficking are committed by members of ethnic minority groups. On the other hand, courts in the US are mostly run and managed by members of the White community. In societies with such diverse cultural and ethnic groups, the problem of language always arises and this is a reality in the American courts. If a person of an ethnic minority group is arrested, the use of an interpreter is necessary to interpret the defendant’s statements to the jury and vice versa. The interpreter can also be required to interpret the statements of the witnesses if they are also from a different cultural community. However, most courts lack qualified and competent interpreters and may be forced to rely on incompetent ones who are not well trained and lack adequate experience. This can always lead to biased information being presented and misinterpretation of statements given by the defendant and witnesses. In the end, the duty of the criminal justice administrator to ensure a “fair and impartial administration of justice” is threatened (Kahaner, 2009, p.224).
A second challenge facing criminal justice administrators is the rise in new crimes such as terrorism and transnationalized organized crimes such as gangs. Whereas the criminal justice administrator has a duty of ensuring that justice is served to such criminals issues such as tracking down such criminals become a big hindrance. In addition, crimes such as terrorism are likely to be committed by non-Americans (as was the case in the 9/11 terrorist attacks). Racial profiling has therefore arisen based on this notion and many innocent people have been apprehended because of their races. As a criminal justice administrator, how is he supposed to protect the rights of such people who pose a grave danger to the entire society yet there lacks evidence to prosecute them? Such are the questions that any criminal justice administrator has to deal with in this new century that has brought with it globalization and new crimes (Lind and Van den Bos, 2002).
A third challenge facing the criminal justice administrator is a budget deficit. An effective administration of justice relies on a pool of different personnel performing different roles but all working together to achieve a common goal: a fair administration of justice. This personnel includes the members of the jury, interpreters, prosecutors and attorneys among others. All these people rely on the department for their remuneration. The number of personnel involved in the court process depends on the size of the budget allocated to the court either by the state or federal government. In times of economic recession, such as the currently experienced one, courts are forced to deal with smaller appropriations of funds following the governments’ resolve to cut budgets in all sectors of the economy. With a smaller budget, the criminal justice administrator is forced to cut down on the number of personnel involved in the administration of justice procedures. As a result, the same workload is now performed by fewer people thereby leading to overworked staff. In addition, budget cuts can lead to reduced remuneration of the personnel thus creating workers with low morale. The effects of overworked and non-motivated workers on justice are too obvious. On the one hand, defendants are likely to be represented by attorneys who lack interest in their work thereby leading to poor defense and wrongful convictions. Gould argues that “overwhelming workloads and significantly lower salaries of public defendants threaten to undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor,” (2008, p.130).
The course of criminal justice administration has adequately prepared its students to work in the criminal justice system in different capacities and areas such as the juvenile system, law enforcement, intelligence, investigation, courts and corrections departments. The course has not only laid the basic foundations of the system through theories, but it has also made it possible for students to have a look at what exactly happens in the criminal justice system through “real world” practical scenarios. Students are therefore prepared to embark on the numerous opportunities available in the safety and security of their homeland.
- Gould, J.B. (2008). Indigent defense – a poor measure of justice. Judicature, 92(3), 129-131.
- Joy, P.A., and McMunigal, K.C. (2009). Incriminating evidence: Too hot to handle? Criminal Justice, 24(2), 42-46.
- Kahaner, S.M. (2009). The administration of justice in a multilingual society: open to interpretation or lost in translation? Judicature, 92(5), 224-231.
- Lind, E.A., and Van den Bos, K. (2002). When fairness works: Toward a general theory of uncertainty management. Research in Organization Behavior, 24, 181-223.