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Overview of the Criminal Justice System

Test Review

1) Types of news stories dominates local television news shows

2) Institution of social control

3) Jurisdiction

4) Booking process typically involves

5) Charging document

6) Summary trial

7) Of criminal defendants plead guilty to the charges

8) Bench trial

9) The crime control model

10) The due process model

11) Appeal

12) Jurisdiction

13) Grand Jury Indictment

14) Ordinance Violation

15) Arrest

16) Felony

17) Misdemeanor (1)

18) Misdemeanor (2)

19) Arraignment

20) Booking

21) Complaint

22) Grand jury

23) Arrest warrant

24) Plea bargaining

25) Complaint

26) Summary trial

27) Bail

28) Parole

29) Bench trial

30) Identify five responsibilities of dispatchers

31) What are the three main types of HazMat & give an example of

32) Identify eight responsibilities of Fire Fighters

33) What is the primary goal of EMS

34) Describe or diagram the interaction of agencies in the Public Safety

35) American CJ system, why it is often called a “non-system” – ID 2

36) Influence that the media has upon the CJ system – ID 2

37) Influence Institutions of Social Control have on you

38) Differences between CJ system and other Institutions of Social Control – ID 2

39) Dispatcher

40) HazMat

41) Firefighter

42) Police

43) Chemical

44) Biological

45) Prevent Crime

46) Detect Crime

47) Emergency medical system

48) EMT

49) EMS

50) Security

51) Shrinkage

52) Private investigator

53) Proprietary security

54) Contract security

55) Private escorts

56) Prosecution

57) Prosecutor

58) Solicitor

59) Defense

60) Judge

61) Jailer

62) Corrections officer

63) Warden

64) Probation

65) DFaCS

66) CDC

67) DHS

68) Jurisdiction

69) Venue
Be able to put these in order from first to last:
1) Arrest Made

2) Grand Jury

3) Suspect Booked

4) Sentencing

5) Bail Offered (in most cases)

6) Preliminary Hearing

7) Plea Bargaining

8) Crime Committed

9) Trail (either bench or jury)

10) Arraignment

Notes from PowerPoint slides:

  • The Law & Justice System

  • An Overview

  • Crime in the United States

  • Every day we are flooded with reports of crime in the news media. Crime is seen in television docudramas, fictional crime shows and an entire network is dedicated to bringing us the latest breaking news concerning crime and criminal justice.

  • Crime in the United States

  • It’s no wonder crime and criminal justice are a concern of the American public.

  • However, the sensational crimes reported by the media do not provide a very accurate picture of crimes typically committed nor do they accurately depict crime which police respond to daily

  • Crime in the United States

  • A more accurate picture of crimes typically committed can be seen by examining Table 1.1 on the following slide.

  • Keep in mind that the police rarely respond to the sensational crimes reported by the media. The calls to which they respond often do not involve crimes at all.

  • Crime in the United States

  • Criminal Justice: An Institution of Social Control

  • Criminal justice is an institution of social control, as are:

    • The family

    • Schools
    • Organized religion

    • The media

    • The law

  • Criminal Justice: An Institution of Social Control

Defining an institution of social control:

An organization that persuades people,

through subtle and not-so-subtle means to abide by the dominant values of society.

  • Criminal Justice: An Institution of Social Control

  • As an institution of social control, criminal justice differs from the others in two important ways:

    1. It is concerned only with behavior that is defined as criminal.

    2. It is society’s “last line of defense” against people who refuse to abide by dominant social values and commit crimes.

  • Criminal Justice: The System

  • Criminal justice in the United States is administered by a loose confederation of more than 50,000 agencies of federal, state, and local governments. Together they are commonly referred to as the “criminal justice system.”

  • The police, courts, & corrections

  • Criminal Justice: The System

  • The criminal justice system operates differently in some jurisdictions, but there are also similarities.

  • A jurisdiction is: a politically defined geographical area. (a city, a county, a state, or a nation)

  • Criminal Justice: The System: An Overview

  • The following slides provide a brief overview of a typical criminal justice response to criminal behavior.

  • Figure 1.1, the next slide, is a graphic representation of the process.

  • A more detailed examination of the criminal justice response to crime and delinquency will be provided later.

  • The Criminal Justice System: The Police
  • The criminal justice response to crime begins when a crime is reported to the police, or when the police discover a crime has been committed.

  • Police investigate the crime.

  • If the investigation is successful, police arrest a suspect.

  • After the arrest, the suspect is booked at the police station.

  • Arrest and Booking

  • Arrest: The seizing and detaining of a person by lawful authority.

  • Booking: The administrative recording of an arrest. Typically, The suspect’s name, the charge, and perhaps the suspect’s fingerprints or photograph are entered in the police blotter.

  • Courts

  • After a suspect has been arrested and booked, a prosecutor reviews the facts of the case and the available evidence.

  • The prosecutor decides whether to charge the suspect with a crime or crimes.

  • If no charges are filed, the suspect must be released.

  • Charging Documents

There are three kinds of charging documents:

  • A complaint – a document specifying that an offense has been committed.

  • An information – a document that outlines the formal charge against a suspect.

  • A grand jury indictment – a written accusation by a grand jury that a person has committed a crime.

  • Misdemeanor and Ordinance Violation

  • If the offense is a misdemeanor (a less serious crime generally punishable by a fine or by incarceration in jail for not more than one year) or an ordinance violation (usually the violation of a law of a city or town) then the prosecutor may prepare a complaint.

  • Felony

  • If the offense is a felony (a serious offense punishable by death or by confinement in prison for more than one year) an _______________ information is used in about half the states; a grand jury indictment is used in the other half.
  • Arrest Warrant

  • On rare occasions, police may obtain an arrest warrant, (a written order directing law enforcement officers) to arrest a person, from a lower-court judge before making an arrest.

  • Pretrial Stages

  • After the charges have been filed, the suspect, who is now the defendant, is brought before a lower-court judge for an initial appearance and given formal notice of the charges against him/her and his/her constitutional rights (for example, the right to counsel).

  • Pretrial Stages

  • In the case of a misdemeanor or an ordinance violation, a summary trial (An immediate trial without a jury) may be held.

  • In the case of a felony, a hearing is held to determine whether the defendant should be released or whether there is probable cause to hold the defendant for a preliminary hearing.

  • Probable Cause

A standard of proof that requires sufficient evidence to make a reasonable person believe that, more likely than not, the proposed action is justified.

  • Pretrial Stages

  • If the suspect is to be held for a preliminary hearing, bail (bail is usually a monetary guarantee deposited with the court to ensure that suspects or defendants will appear at a later stage in the criminal justice process) may be set by the judge.

  • Pretrial Stages

  • If the judge at a preliminary hearing (a pretrial stage at which a judge determines whether there is probable cause) finds there is sufficient probable cause, the defendant is bound over for possible indictment or arraignment.

  • Pretrial Stages

  • A primary purpose of the grand jury is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed the crime with which the prosecutor has charged him/her with.

  • Pretrial Stages

  • Once an indictment or information is filed with the trial court, the defendant is scheduled for arraignment.

  • About 90 percent of criminal defendants plead guilty to the charges against them, in an arrangement called plea bargaining.

  • Trial

  • If a defendant pleads not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity, a trial date is set.

    • 10 percent of criminal cases go to trial.

    • 5 percent of criminal cases are decided in a bench trial. A trial before a judge, without a jury.

    • 5 percent of criminal cases are decided in a jury trial.

  • Trial

  • Corrections

Currently, five types of punishment are used

in the United States:

    1. Fines

    2. Probation

    3. Intermediate punishments

    4. Imprisonment

    5. Death

  • Appeals

  • Defendants can appeal their convictions either on legal or constitutional grounds.

  • Legal Grounds: Defects in jury selection as defined by the state

  • Constitutional Grounds: Illegal search and seizure, Improper questioning by police

  • Corrections

A defendant sentenced to prison may be eligible for parole after serving a portion of his sentence. Parole: the conditional release of prisoners before they have served their full sentences.

  • Criminal Justice: The Nonsystem

  • Police, courts, and corrections are commonly referred to as the criminal justice system.
  • However, the depiction of criminal justice or, more specifically, of the interrelationships and inner workings of its various components-as a “system” may be inappropriate and misleading for at least two reasons.

  • Criminal Justice: The Nonsystem

  • First, there is no single “criminal justice system” in the United States. Rather there is a loose confederation of many independent criminal justice agencies at all levels of government.

  • Criminal Justice: The Nonsystem

  • This loose confederation is spread throughout the country with different, sometimes, overlapping jurisdictions.

  • The only requirement they all share is that they follow procedures permitted by the U.S. Constitution.

  • Criminal Justice: The Nonsystem

  • Second, if “a system” is thought of as a smoothly operating set of arrangements and institutions directed toward the achievement of common goals, one is hard-pressed to call the operation of criminal justice in the United States “a system.”

  • Criminal Justice: The Nonsystem

  • Instead, because there is considerable conflict and confusion between different agencies of criminal justice, a more accurate representation may be that of a nonsystem.

  • Overview of Public Safety

  • Roles and Responsibilities

  • Dispatcher


  • Answers 911 calls

  • Determines best response

  • Dispatches correct agency(ies)

  • Provides instruction for caller

  • Checks status of officers

  • Fire Department


  • Site fire suppression

  • HazMat – Hazardous Materials

    • Chemical

    • Radiological

    • Biological

  • Fire Department

  • Medical Response

  • Vehicle accidents

  • Accidents in general – drowning, construction, etc.
  • Trapped persons

  • Homeland Security

  • Fire Department

  • Fire prevention education

  • Fire code enforcement

  • Special events

  • Fire hydrant checks

  • Equipment maintenance

  • Fire Department

  • Search and rescue

  • Severe weather response

  • Forrest fires

  • Various others – cat in tree, etc.

  • Emergency Medical System (EMS)

  • Usually a part of fire department

  • Sometimes provided by private ambulance company

  • Provides emergency medical treatment

  • Goal is to stabilize patient and transport to the hospital

  • Police

Two common ideals:

    • Prevent Crime

    • Detect Crime

Common Motto:

    • Serve and Protect

    • Much more later

  • Security

  • Traditionally conducted actions similar to police

  • Today private security has an expanding role in internet and data protection for businesses

  • Large % of workforce still guards

  • Security

  • Asset Protection – reduction of inventory loss

    • “Shrinkage” refers to % loss of inventory

  • Employees most common source of shrinkage

  • Security

  • Private Investigators/Detectives – often used in lawsuits/divorce

  • Proprietary Security – In house service run and maintained by company benefiting from service

  • Contract Security – Hired help

  • Security

  • Body Guards/Protective Escorts

    • Increasing demand with spreading of kidnapping schemes
  • Greater responsibility since 9/11

  • Largest job growth in all Public Safety is in Security area

  • Courts

  • Prosecution of crimes

  • Prosecutor – felony cases

  • Solicitor – misdemeanor cases

  • Defense – represents the accused

  • Judge – court referee

  • Corrections

  • Punishment of crimes

  • Jailer/correctional officer – monitors inmates

  • Warden – oversees prison and implements programs

  • Probation/parole officer – oversees persons in the system outside of prison

  • Others Active in PS

  • Military/National Guard

  • DFCS – children

  • Health Department

  • DHS – More advisory

  • CDC – outbreaks

  • Federal Agencies

  • Jurisdiction and Venue

Jurisdiction – a geographically defined area

    • usually affiliated with political authority

Venue – place from which a jury is drawn and in which trial is held

    • Authority to hold trial

  • The Public Safety System

  • Jurisdiction and Venue

Dangerous Environments & Danger to Lives (not caused by a persons behavior) – usually fire/EMS

Crimes & Dangerous People – usually law enforcement

Duties are usually spelled out

  • Interactions Between Levels

  • Interactions Between Levels

Not like on TV where FBI takes over

Protocol is already established

    • Protocol – code of correct behavior

More friction at local level

  • Trouble on the Track!

Southern Rail Service train 507 from Savannah is derailed and on fire in north Atlanta/south Gwinnett county. It is 5PM on a Friday.

  • Witness reports “it exploded”

  • One train car has hazardous gas

  • Trouble on the Track!

  • The only known passengers were crew

  • The train is ½ mile from I-285 and 3 miles from Georgia 400

  • What agencies might respond to this?

  • Trouble on the Track!

  • What agency might hold authority?

  • What conflicts might arise?

  • Two Models of Criminal Justice

  • In his influential book entitled The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, legal scholar Herbert Packer describes the criminal justice process in the United States as the outcome of competition between two value systems.

  • Those two value systems represents two ends of a value continuum.

  • Two Models of Criminal Justice

  • The Crime Control Model

  • In the crime control model, the control of criminal behavior is by far the most important function of criminal justice.

  • The primary focus of this model is on efficiency in the operation of the criminal justice process.

  • The Crime Control Model

  • The key to the operation of the crime control model is a “presumption of guilt.” In other words, advocates of this model assume that if the police have expended the time and effort to arrest a suspect and the prosecutor has formally charged the suspect with a crime, then the suspect must be guilty.

  • The Due Process Model
  • The due process model is based on the doctrine of legal guilt and the presumption of innocence. According to the doctrine of legal guilt, people are not to be held guilty of crimes merely on a showing based on reliable evidence, that in all probability they did in fact do what they are accused of doing.

  • The Due Process Model

  • In other words, it is not enough that people are factually guilty in the due process model; they must also be legally guilty.

  • Fundamentally, the due process model defends the idea of personal freedom and its protection.

  • Crime Control Versus Due Process

  • Since the mid-1970s the crime control model has dominated the practice of criminal and juvenile justice in the United States.

  • But elements of the due process model remain evident in the process of justice.

  • How long this present trend will continue is anybody’s guess.

  • The Costs of Criminal Justice

  • Each year in the United States an enormous amount of money is spent on criminal justice.

  • In 1999, local, state, and federal governments spent a total of $146 billion in direct expenditures for the civil and criminal justice systems.

  • That represents approximately $525 for every resident of the United Sates.

  • The Costs of Criminal Justice

  • The Costs of Criminal Justice

  • State and local governments pay most of the costs of criminal justice. Generally speaking:

    • In 1999, local governments spent 70 percent of the total spent on police

    • In 1999, state governments spent nearly 63 percent of the total on corrections.

  • The Costs of Criminal Justice

  • About 4 cents out of every tax dollar is spent on crime control.
  • Roughly two-thirds of the American public thinks the government should spend more. In a 2000 public opinion poll, for example, 59 percent of people surveyed believed that too little was being spent to halt the rising crime rate.

  • Myths About Crime and
    Criminal Justice

  • Much of the American public’s understanding of crime and criminal justice is wrong; it is based on myths.

  • Myths are beliefs based on emotion rather than analysis.

  • Many ideas about crime or the justice system can be considered myths because they can be contradicted by facts.

  • Myths About Crime and
    Criminal Justice

  • Who is the average shoplifter? Age, sex, race, socio-economics?

  • White upper middle class female in 40s

  • Why?


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