Briefly discuss the three main challenges to the administration of criminal justice agencies: discipline, liability, and labor relations
The three challenges of a criminal justice agency administration (discipline, liability, and labor relations) appear to be interrelated. The liability within the system of criminal justice is always a challenge. In general, the cases of police brutality (or perceived police brutality) are typically controversial, and the guilty party is not always easy to find. An example is the death of Eric Garner, which was caused by an officer when he did not release the man who was claiming to be unable to breathe (Susman & Haller, 2015).
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The public was outraged by the case, which is understandable, especially since Garner was unarmed, but the officers’ community felt unprotected and unsupported as well, which is similarly understandable given the specifics of their job. Similarly, controversial is the case of corrections workers who are responsible for the people in their custody and can be sued if, for example, an inmate commits suicide (Peak, 2011).
As pointed out by Peak (2011), corrections workers were the last to form a professional union, which only proves the need for the protection of their negotiated rights. As a result, a criminal justice agency administration is torn between the need to protect the people from their employees’ misconduct and uphold the reputation of the institution and, at the same time, to protect the employees, who carry out their duties in most unfavorable circumstances, from unjust accusations.
However, it is apparent that one of the best ways to ensure employee protection from the cases of misplaced liability consists of providing them with related rules and guidelines. In other words, the primary tool of discipline maintenance is the documents from official policies on various aspects of conduct to recommendations and codes of ethics. In case the employees are provided with clear rules and the rules are consistently enforced through the various tools mentioned by Peak (2011), it is e easier to ensure their protection from the cases of false accusation.
Similarly, the same activities are directly connected to the improved protection of the population from the justice system employees’ misconduct. In the end, the reputation of the agency and the justice system as such depends on the maintenance of discipline. Thus, it can be concluded that the three challenges of a criminal justice agency administration are indeed interrelated and interconnected, which means that the resolution of issues in one of these fields is likely to improve the situation with the two others.
Discuss how state and federal legislation and case law have shaped the way the criminal justice system has operated and changed over the past several decades. Have the rights of the accused increased or decreased? Provide examples to support your position
The criminal justice system is naturally dependent on the changes in legislation. In the US, there exists a combination of federal and state laws, which director, as Stojkovic, Kalinich, and Klofas (2011) put it, frame the criminal justice system. Also, the case law, which is the law based on precedents, affects the legislation and the justice system, as, for example, the case of Whren v. the United States justified pretextual stops in 1996 (Greenhouse, 1996).
The impacts of the changes appear to be quite diverse. While it is apparent that the legislative developments are guided by the aim of improving security, they often need to balance out unintended consequences, which can be very costly for the accused. In my opinion, the rights of the accused are changing in diverse ways, and the varied legislation that has been developed in the past 30 years has different intentional and unintentional consequences. For instance, invasive experimentation in prisons was banned, even though the suggestions about removing the restrictions keep being voiced (Urbina, 2006).
The improbability of informed and non-dubious consent from the inmates justifies the restrictions. However, the accused are apparently not considered to be pressured when plea bargaining is concerned, even though the latter is quite often based on literally “trading” one’s rights and liberties. At the same time, as pointed out by Stojkovic et al. (2011), the development of technology and the related legislation for its use raises the chances of justice being served, for example, via DNA evidence, which can be used to balance out the possibility of confessions made under pressure (p. 58). However, the collection of DNA from the accused can be considered a violation of rights as well. In other words, the current legislation is forced to seek the balance between security and liberty.
The mentioned situations are only some of the examples of the way relatively recent developments in the justice system and legislation affect the accused. However, the justice system also indirectly affects the lives of the families of the accused, which is hardly beneficial for the accused as well. As was pointed out by Stojkovic et al. (2011), the number of incarcerated soared about 20-30 years ago (p. 55), which implies that the number of the collateral victims must have also grown significantly.
Finally, the law and the justice system affect the life of the whole population. While it is apparent that the legislators attempt to balance out security and freedom in the majority of cases (as in the example of pretextual stops and the danger of racial profiling), some of the initiatives are extremely suspicious (for example, the supposedly “due” hardship that American women in some states have to go through to have an abortion). Since the accused are a part of the population, they are affected by these developments as well. To sum up, the effects of the changes in the legislation and justice systems are not one-dimensional, and while nowadays we work towards the expansion and protection of the rights of the accused and non-accused population of the US, the outcomes, both intended and unintended, can be positive and negative.
Greenhouse, L. (1996). Supreme Court Upholds Police Methods in Vehicle Drug Searches. New York Times. Web.
Peak, K. (2011). Justice administration (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., & Klofas, J. (2011). Criminal justice organizations (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Susman, T., & Haller, V. (2015). Demonstrators echo Eric Garner’s ‘I can’t breathe’ cry again, a year after his death. Los Angeles Times. Web.
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Urbina, I. (2006). Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials. The New York Times. Web.