As the Criminal Justice System has aspects which are controversial, the pros and cons of the process are often based on individual views. After being incarcerated over a decade, learning from inmates who go through the “swinging door,” it is this writers opinion that the methods in which the American justice system deals with criminals has not made society any safer. Matter-of-fact, it seems to be making issues with the criminal worse. When one looks at the local politicians and the media who think the process of correcting the system is “get tougher on crime,” can see that this is not the way, it only makes matters worse.
It is the purpose of this article to give this writer’s views and opinions and recommendations of how the criminal justice system could be changed and improved. According to a report from Washington D. C. There are almost 2. 4 million people incarcerated in the United States. It is the concept of the Justice Policy Institute (JP) “U. S. Policy makers should look outside the U. S. Borders for examples of criminal justice policies that can save money while improving the well-being of both individuals and communities. ” This writer must agree with the JP.
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The incarceration rate in America is ridiculous. Incarcerating a first- time offender for a non-violent crime and giving the maximum sentence allowed, is a waste of money and is detrimental to the system. The United States seems to depend on detention for lawbreakers, however, it is this writer’s opinion that the bureaucrats need to be looking at how other countries have been successful in controlling non-violent offenders. There needs to be more community-based treatment programs for the addicted drug/alcohol offender, domestic violence, and petty theft crimes.
The Legislator’s need to realize that instead of thinking “incarceration first, they deed to be thinking ‘rehabilitation’ first. More attention needs to be placed on the rehabilitation of the offender, rather than the imprisonment of him or her. By placing the offender on probation, making attendance to treatment programs required, paying of fees or fines, and community service will significantly influence rehabilitation, than incarceration. Other countries recognize these before incarceration and have been successful.
The united States is more likely to incarcerate an offender, even though it is more costly and does not offer lower factorization rates. Another issue is the length of mime an offender is given (Hughes, 2013). According to Will McMahon, policy director of the Centre of Crime and Justice Studies in London, “Instead of ensuring that people do not become justice-involved in the first place, the U. S. Has instead invested in mass incarceration and needlessly lengthy terms of imprisonment without a significant benefit to public safety.
The criminal justice policies of the United States should be avoided by other nations and serve as a harrowing example of the problem of an excessively punitive system” (Hughes, 2013) According to the JP report, they suggest ending immemorial bail, require more treatment programs, shorten sentence lengths, especially for drug offenses, improve reentry services, raise the age for criminal responsibility, end transferring to criminal courts, and invest in effective institutions (Hughes, 2013).
The above is the perception of professionals of what they think is wrong with the American Judicial System and their recommendations, many which this author agrees makes sense, and could remarkably fix many of the American system’s problems. As said before, being incarcerate for over a decade and learning the process from the inside, instead of most American’s learning the process from the outside, looking in, there are many more issues than one can imagine. This study will also consider these issues and provide recommendations to improve the system from the inside to the outside.
According to the American Criminal Justice System, a person is “innocent until proven guilty. ” This is not always the case, because of media coverage, many accused are found “guilty’ even before a trial begins. The media has a way of distorting the truth as they sensationalist the information, which in most cases causes the world to roommate an opinion before they have ever heard the facts. Of course, there are instances where the media is forgiving to a guilty party, and plays a “sympathy” care, in which causes a person Of guilt to go free.
In this writer’s opinion, freedom of speech is citizens right, and am all for it, however, when it comes to the media’s hyping the story up to get the ratings, this is not sufficient. Another issue that comes to mind that is terribly wrong with the American Criminal process is the fact that when a person is arrested for a crime he or she is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This rule can help to preventives and judges from convicting a defendant even though the evidence did not connect him or her to the crime.
On the other hand, this rule can let those who are responsible a chance to escape imprisonment. For instance, if an individual is arrested for murder, but there is insufficient evidence against him–or his legal team is highly skilled–he might be found not guilty (Hughes, 2013). Major problems that this writer witnessed first- hand is that when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, and are impoverished, their representation is less than satisfactory. They are pointed a Public Defender (Public Pretender, as inmates call them).
These Court appointed attorneys are not for the defendant, but for the Courts. This is the reason, in this writer’s opinion; they push “plea bargains” so intensely. As the state has access to unlimited funds, this brings a tremendous advantage to the prosecution, as the Public Defender is under paid and over worked, thereby in most cases provide the defendant with limited representation, thereby losing the case for their clients. It has become apparent that to have a Public Defender representing the accused is less than favorable.
What is to the defendants advantage is to have a wealthy client, in order to get the best representation as possible. These issues lead to an unfair justice system. In order for the system to be considered reasonable, a trial should be a swift one, with everyone on the same playing field. Many times this is not the case. There has been situations where it has taken years for the accused to be arrested, tried, a verdict presented and incarceration of the guilty party. These delays were not because of the lawyer’s seeking delays, but due to under funding, over crowded Court dockets.
In the case of the resection delaying trials, is so as they can discover more evidence, ignoring the fact that before an arrest was made, the prosecution should have already had the evidence collected that showed the guilt of the accused. This is a example of where the Justice system is unfair and does not support the Constitution’s right of a person to a “speedy trial. ” Because of these delays, the prosecution has a better chance of obtaining a plea bargain, leading to the “admission and conviction” of the person accused, and unfortunately, many times the person is innocent of the crime.
Many times an accused arson, has no clue of the legal system and are scared to death, especially if the accused is a first-time offender. Because the Judicial System is underfeed and overcrowded, plea bargains have become popular with defense attorneys, public defenders and the Courts as it saves them time and money. However, it is a threat to the unknowing newbie to the criminal justice System. As this author learned, once one takes a plea bargain they lose their rights to any appeal that would normally be afforded to them.
It also threatens any chance they have of being found innocent of the crime in which hey were accused by jury. Plea bargains are no more than a violation of the accused rights to a fair trial. On the other side of the coin, plea bargains can be a MIS-justice as it allows a responsible person a opportunity for a lesser charge and sentence. On the same token, the guilty individual could receive probation for informing on another criminal involved in the crime. Plea bargaining is just another way for unfair and unequal justice in the Criminal justice system.
The final recommendation that this writer would do; is to regulate the chances of corruption in the Criminal Justice system, from law enforcement, to prosecutors, judges, attorneys and all the way up to the nation’s leader, the President. Over the past decades, this author has watched the deterioration of the integrity of the judicial system. It is a shame how many go into law enforcement with an intention of pursuing a noble and just profession, only to become corrupted by their peers, and the public.
As for Corrections officers, many come into the prisons with it in their minds to help rehabilitate the inmate, only to be rehabilitated in a negative way by the “convict. ” This writer has seen so many C. O. S who came in as useful and encouraging individuals, only to get hard-nosed, brutal and corrupt officers after only a few months in an extremely negative system. In conclusion, the points in which need to review and implemented in order to improve the Criminal Justice System is educating the public, law enforcement and legislators of the truth of the MIS-injustices happening in today’s judicial system.
The prisons need to get involved with rehabilitation instead of “warehousing. ” Media needs to be restricted on their printing of criminal activity. In other words, if they cannot print the truth, then they need not print anything at all. After all, these members of the media hold people’s lives in their hands. The propaganda they produce can and does destroy lives. Law enforcement, government officials and other people in power, need to be monitored for illegal activity, including the prison staff who use the prisoner on a daily basis with threats of sending them to the hole, and stopping their release dates.
The public defender’s need to have an increase in wages and need to be re-educated of the basis of their job – “is to protect and defend their client. ” As far as plea bargains, I think they should be banned altogether, r if not, they are fully explained to the accused of all the possibilities of taking the bargain, including the fact that the Judge does not have to take the appeal, they lose their right to appeal if the Judge does decide to accept it, then they lose and a chance they had to prove their innocence.
Another issue that needs to be changed is the sentencing of first-time, non-violent offenders. Instead, give them probation, or house arrest, ordered to attend mandatory programming, and help to rehabilitate them before they end up in prison. The flaws in which the American Criminal Justice system is suffering room today are horrifying and unjust ?? it is time to do something to change the criminal justice system into a fair and just system that is equally serving to all people not just the wealthy.