Sudip Chandra Halder:
Crime is a problem around the world and represents a significant negative externality to the quality of life in a society. Criminal Justice System is an apparatus to control & reduce crime in the society. The notion of a ‘System’ suggests something highly rational-carefully planned, coordinated and regulated. So, Criminal Justice System is a systematic process for enforcing criminal law with a set of legal and social institutions and works together with the view to establish the Rule of Law.
Different Jurisdiction have different laws, agencies and way of managing Criminal Justice Process. In the United States of America, there are separate federal, state and military Criminal Justice System and each state has separate system for adults and juveniles.
To prevent & control of crime, Criminal Justice System, in general, involves the process of arrest, trial, conviction, sentencing punishment or treatment and finally rehabilitation. To perform this process, the Criminal Justice System is comprised multiple interrelated process, consisting of legislatures, law enforcement agency, prosecution & defense lawyer, courts, and correctional institutions. Victims also constitute an important role in Criminal Justice System, but in most of the jurisdiction, unfortunately, after the crime is reported and criminal motion is brought into force, the entire focus tilts towards the accused.
All of the institutions in the Criminal Justice System are highly interdependent and different parts of the system interact with each other. Each component has, no doubt, a distinct role, but all the components are interconnected with each other.
Existing systems include some components that are very ancient, for instance-Jury Trials, alongside other that are of quite recent in origin like specialised Drug Courts. However, it differs from one Jurisdiction to another. Some jurisdiction also have a sentencing guidelines commission. Very interestingly, each of this actors in Criminal Justice System has substantial unregulated discretion in making particular decision e.g. the victims discretion to report a crime, enforcement agency & Prosecutorial discretion whether & how to apply the criminal law, judicial discretion in the setting of bail & the imposition of sentence, and correctional discretion as to parole release, parol or probation revocation, prison discipline etc. Nevertheless, all of the institutions act together to promote criminal justice system to control & reduce crime and work together to maintain law & order in our communities.
It is an important component in Criminal Justice System, as all laws emanate from the floor of the legislatures. They create all the laws that disclose to us what conduct is taboo and give punishment to participating in restricted conduct. These laws empower the courts to choose blame or blamelessness and the remedial sub-frameworks to rebuff or endeavor to restore the convict. Notwithstanding, the lawmaking body does not constitute an operational part of the framework, but to feature that the whole framework’s method of reasoning relies on the laws, which they make and whose infringement are required to be controlled or decreased.
Law enforcement is one of the important pillar of the Criminal Justice System. Because it is the system that individual first encounter when they go against the law. Law enforcement is made up of police officers, criminal investigators, detectives, government agent who works to enforce legal policies & protect our communities. Law enforcement agency is responsible to register cases/complains & the States, usually, have come across the crime incidents through reporting the cases/complains to the law enforcement by the crime victims. Some of the important task of the law enforcement agency includes selectively enforce the law, protecting the public, arresting suspected law violators etc. Law enforcement are responsible to keep the public in safety. Their primary goal is to maintain law and order in communities, ensure citizens are protected.
Prosecution & Defense Lawyer:
Prosecution is made up of lawyers who represent the state. They review the evidence collected by law enforcement and take a decision whether to drop the charges or file charges to present in the court.
The lawyers who defend the accused against the state’s allegation are called defense lawyers. They are either hired by the accused or are assigned by the court if the accused can not afford to hire one.
The courts are responsible for assuring that suspected criminals receive fair trials and for determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. Courts decide upon the cases based on the law and pronounce judgements. Courts are always most significant body to perform any type of justice.
In some jurisdiction, jointly prosecution, defense lawyer and court are called the adjudication body as a single entity to perform justice.
Corrections and Prisons:
If the offender are convicted they are put in jail or in the community in probation or parole. Correction officers supervise convicted offenders who are serving sentence in prison. Probation officers play an important role in helping people re-adjust to mainstream life and enter society at a functional level.
The victims constitute a significant role in any Criminal Justice System, but in most of the jurisdiction like USA, UK, India & Bangladesh, the victims are sometime termed as ‘forgotten entity’ or ‘marginal entity’. But in France jurisdiction, a crime victim is entitled to become parties to the Criminal Justice System. The jurisdiction of New Zealand and Canada entitle much involvement of a victim in Criminal Justice System than our subcontinental perspective. In India, Justice Malimath Committee on the Reform of Criminal Justice System suggested that the victim should have the right to participate in criminal trial.
The agenda for Criminal Justice System is reflected the socio economic and moral values of the society. All the components of the system and segments are interrelated with each other and has a direct bearing upon the other components or segments.
Writer: Sudip Chandra Halder
LLB [Honours], University of London, UK
LLM [Pursuing in Criminal & Security Law]