Criminal justice is one of the major areas of government expenditure in any given country in the contemporary world. This study concentrates on the system of criminal justice in the United States of America as it has the best system of study in the world. Crime trends have been in the upward trend in the world with no signs of a positive change in the future due to the various unpredictable factors that affect criminal activities in the country. Consequently, there will be huge government expenditure in this area, hence a rise of the same at each particular budgetary moment.
Three crucial components of the criminal justice system in the United States exist, viz. law enforcement, courts, and correction centers. To begin with, law enforcement is the biggest component of the criminal justice system not only in the United States but also in other countries across the world. This institution is mandated with the role of ensuring security by maintaining and enforcing law and order to the citizens. The main role of law enforcement is to prevent the occurrence of crimes and contain them in case of their occurrence (Kasper, 2010).
There are two main law enforcement agencies in the United States, which include Federal and State law enforcement agencies. Federal Agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Unit, U.S Immigration and Customs Unit, Coast Guard Unit, and Transport Security Unit. On the other hand, State law enforcement agencies include State Police, State Bureau of Investigation (normally under the office of the Attorney General of each state in the United States), State Patrol, and Highway Patrol Units.
According to the American Constitution, a law enforcement agency is supposed to maintain order, enforce the law, and give service to the American citizens (Kasper, 2010). Hence, the law enforcement code is designed about the constitutional right of an American. In the case of a crime, law enforcement is required to investigate and arrest the suspected criminal(s), after which then the law enforcement agencies forward the case to the court for the determination of punishment and justice, as is stipulated in the American law.
Secondly, the court is a crucial component of the criminal justice system in any given country across the world. Unlike in many developing countries where courts are not fully independent, courts in the United States are very independent as stipulated by the American Constitution, hence making it easy for the control of criminal justice trends in the country. Independence of courts enhances the reduction of the high rate of criminal activities in the country due to fairness of issuance of justice to the culprits; otherwise, the dependence of courts on other state parties negatively affects the process of justice issuance due to favoring of some parties (Kasper, 2010).
There are three forms of courts in the United States, which include federal, state, and territorial courts. State and territorial courts operate within the state and they deal with minor offenses such as the violation of traffic rules and other state laws. However, federal courts deal with offenses that violate federal laws and the court may handle cases from different states at a particular given time. At the federal level, there are three forms of courts, which are trial, appellate, and finally the United States Supreme Court. Trial courts do the hearing of the cases and make judgments that may be reviewed by the court of appeal in the case of dissatisfaction by any of the case parties. Judgments of the court of appeal may also be reviewed by the supreme courts, which are of two types, viz. where one deals with civil matters and the other deals with serious criminal cases. Both the American constitution and Congress acts have given the courts the power to operate fully independently from any other state party to ensure fair judgment to the citizens.
Finally, the third major component of the criminal justice system of the United States is the Correction Department. The correction department is normally the major component of the system where law offenders are held up as they serve their trials. The main objective of the correction department of the United States is to change the mentality and behaviors of the convicted prisoners and make them better statesmen and stateswomen. Prisons are normally divided into two categories, viz. juvenile and the prisons. The juvenile category is for persons under the age of eighteen years and is referred to as children by the constitution. On the other hand, prisons are for persons above the age of eighteen years, who are recognized as adults by the American constitution.
In the United States, the Department of Justice carries out jail census through the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Jail census is essential for the development of the United States in both economic and social development. The exercise started in 1980 and it has been giving out the findings to the government of the United States through the Department of Justice. The main sources of data are both the federal and state prisons in the entire United States. By the year 2010, renowned statisticians of the Bureau of Justice of Statistics, Lauren E. Glaze, carried out the statistic exercise and found that the number of adult prisoners had declined by 1.3% compared to his earlier findings done in 2006. The total population stood at 7.1 million in 2010 as compared to 7.6million in 2006 (Glaze, 2011). He had also included data from the adults under the authority of community supervision, often referred to as the adults under probation.
Further analysis of the data found the ratio of adults under probation to adults in the entire population to be 1:48 (Glaze, 2011). However, the ratio of the adults in jails or parole, in the federal collection department, to the adults in the entire population too was found to be 1:104. Those ratios are alarming to the government of the United States in the budgetary allocation of the departments of the criminal justice system in the sense that the ratio of decline was too small to predict a future decline in the population of inmates in the country. Hence, no reduction in the budgetary allocation bearing in mind the events of the economic depression of 2008, which could have contributed to a major decline in the criminal activities in the entire country as the majority was worried about their economic future (Glaze, 2011).
Law enforcement is normally the point of attention for any government in issues related to national security and hence the major benefit of budgetary allocation amongst the other criminal justice components (Blumstein & Rosenfeld, 1998). Every government across the world believes in the elimination of crime activities rather than concentrating much on the law offenders as the most effective way of enhancing security in the entire nation. Hence, the government of the United States, after the assumption that the crime trend was rising, put measures of strengthening law enforcement agencies as the most effective method of containing the vice. Those measures included the increases in the annual budgetary allocation and the number of recruitments at all levels of the department of justice and internal security.
On the other hand, other departments of criminal justice could not have been behind in the government’s considerations as they too play a major role in ensuring justice and correction to the American citizens. The pre-assumption was a rise in the criminal trend, which indicated an increase in the criminal cases, court cases, and finally the population of prisoners. Hence, through the principle of prudent management in the business world, a forecasted risk can be evaded or its impact reduced through the implementation of some measures presently. Therefore, the government opted to increase the number of facilities in the entire department. Some facilities included the state and territorial courts, which would speed up the trials and reduce the pressure at the current courts (Wiseman, 2011).
The second measure was the increase in the number of juveniles in some states as they were found to be under the pressure of increased juvenile prisoners. Thirdly, and the most important move was the change of management in the entire department of justice and internal security. A new change of management enhances security due to changes in the management system, thus making every agency more effective than its earlier state. For instance, a change of guard in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) brings with it benefits to the country as matters of investigations are completed at a much shorter time than before (Kasper, 2010). According to Kasper (2010), police supervision is the most effective way of enhancing security and hence the government of the United States has embarked on increasing supervision of law enforcement agencies.
Blumstein, A., & Rosenfeld, R. (1998).Explaining Recent Trends in Criminal Justice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 88(4), 1175- 1216.
Glaze, E. (2011). Correctional Populations in the United States, 2010. Washington, D.C. Department of Justice.
Kasper, J. (2010). Progressive Police Supervision: A Simple & Effective Approach for Managing a Police Agency. Washington, D.C.: Looseleaf Law Publications.
Wiseman, J. (2011). Strategic Cutback Management: Law Enforcement Leadership for Lean Times. New York, NY: DIANE Publishing.