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Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway Essay

Court System

One of the most important things that have to be revised in the US court system is the ability to provide compensation for those exonerated. The situations where individuals are tried for the crimes they did not commit are rather common. The problem here consists in the fact that not all of the states have the laws that validate compensations for the individuals who were exposed to wrongful conviction (Neubauer, 2017). Twenty states do not provide any kind of compensation at all and some of the laws in the remaining states only revolve around token support. Therefore, it has to be understood that the government has to be responsible (both ethically and morally) for sending an innocent person to prison. All of the amends connected to financial support, job training, education, or any other necessities have to deal with by the government. Legislators all over the US have to consider this law, especially in the states where such law does not even exist just yet.

Another problem with the US court system is that it commonly supports sentences that may be seen as too harsh by the general public. Therefore, the attitude toward this issue has to be re-evaluated to minimize the number of people who serve life sentences for the crimes that did not involve violence (Roberts, 2015). The overly-punitive nature of the current US court system has to be addressed as soon as possible because the majority of such sentences are completely unnecessary. For the most part, these convictions fall on the backs of the poor segment and racial minorities. The problem here also consists in the fact that such verdicts cost a lot. It is reasonable to support different programs (Smarter Sentencing, for example) that are intended to minimize the influence of the court decisions on the risk groups stated above.


The very first thing that has to be addressed when it comes to policing in the United States is the process of returning to community policing. For instance, if the law enforcement agents know the individuals they are serving personally, it positively affects the overall outcomes of the law enforcement agency’s activity and provides the latter with the idea of who lives in a particular neighborhood. This may be helpful if they want to find a drug dealer, for example. Trust can only be achieved if there is knowledge. The more knowledge a law enforcement agency possesses, the higher are the chances of informed and instant decisions. As an example, we may take a look at one of the most underprivileged cities in the State of New Jersey – Camden. Here, the community has to deal with serious crime problems. It was really interesting to see that a brand-new community policing program allowed the local law enforcement agency to decrease the occurrence of homicides vividly (Shelden, Brown, Miller, & Fritzler, 2015). It is not going to be easy, but community policing has to be brought back to life in all the states all over the United States.

Another policing problem that has to be addressed is the presence of the death penalty in the list of all possible penalties. This law can be truly considered outdated and discriminatory. More to say, it is rather expensive. As it has been seen through the history of the death penalty, people of color are prone to the death penalty. Another issue with this policy is that millions of dollars are spent on life-ending sentences and that does not make any sense for the reason that the money that is invested in the death penalty could be used for something different rather than merely killing people. Compared to other countries, the United States is still on the previous page of the criminal law books because the government failed to abolish it. It is critical to get rid of capital punishment to achieve a better criminal justice system and eliminate the prejudice that is currently present in it.

Another improvement that can be reasonable within the framework of the US criminal justice system policing is the support of programs that promote alternatives to incarceration. The problem here consists in the fact that too many individuals are involved in the dealings of the criminal justice system. It is a common situation when people are arrested while they are innocent. When the criminal justice process begins, it often blocks out the rights of the people of color and the poor due to the skewness of the current legislation (Neubauer, 2017). We should support programs that offer any kind of alternatives to incarceration – drug treatment centers, school programs, and mental health rehabs. One of the advantages that have to be noticed by the government is the low-cost nature of such initiatives as they do not require intensive funding. Having a healthy community at hand is much better than dealing with an imprisoned one.


When it comes to the corrections, the very first thing that has to be addressed is the improvement of the situation in prisons. It is critical to reduce the amount of violence and recover the leadership practices that are applied at these facilities. The problem here can be explained by the fact that for the people that are convicted, going to prison is already a punishment. Nonetheless, even the individuals that committed non-violent crimes recurrently become the victims of fierce attacks and sexual assault while serving their sentence in prison. The way to make these individuals return to society less damaged is to reduce the incidence of events that may traumatize the inmates (Roberts, 2015). At the same time, the level of recidivism among the incarcerated may be diminished using prisons where the administrators will be keen on decreasing the rates of violence that transpire under their watch.

Yet another reasonable incentive relating to corrections revolves around the concepts of equality and public defense. This may be rather important for the process of developing a successful criminal justice system because public defenders are entitled to protecting the poor from the adverse effects of being accused of a crime. Regardless, the Constitution does not support the efforts of public defenders, and the latter may be exposed to a situation where they do not have enough resources to save the accused from being wrongfully convicted (Neubauer, 2017). Additional funding of the public defense system may lead to more positive outcomes within the framework of the US criminal justice system. Financial support is critical because knowledgeable public defenders can significantly impact the current state of affairs in the country.

Investigative Agencies

The first initiative that is expected to update the US investigative agencies is the cultivation of responsibility among the US prosecutors and law enforcement officers because the misconduct is one of the most important problems impacting the functioning of the latter. This issue is critical because the majority of police officers and prosecutors are rarely punished for their illicit actions. Here, we have to address the actions that may put innocent people behind bars in no time using destroying or even fabricating evidence to overturn the case. This kind of deliberate misconduct has to be eradicated so that any given individual’s life would play a bigger part in the criminal justice processes (Neubauer, 2017).

Expanding on the topic, investigative agencies have to put more effort into the gathering of data concerning fatalities that involved law enforcement agency officers. If signed and approved, this legislation would become a serious step forward for the United States (Reichel, 2013). The only problem with this initiative is that for the most benefit, the administration will have to provide governmental policy-makers with a detailed overview of the new regulation that is going to include all the possible scenarios (Roberts, 2015). This has to be done for the law enforcement agency to be able to collect all the crucial data such as the presence of arms at the crime site, disciplinary history of the wrongdoer, and other key details that are blatantly missed out at the moment by the majority of the investigative agents.

The Rationale for the Changes

The rationale for the changes in the criminal justice system of the United States lies in the concept of evidence. Eventually, the latter (being composed of the information available to law enforcement agencies) is the underlying element of the existing system. Today, we are exposed to many more sources of information, and law enforcement agencies sometimes have to fight with the quantity of information which can be both useful and irrelevant depending on the situation. In all possible lawsuits, this information can be used in the form of evidence. Another problem that adds to the existing list of the issues with the existing criminal justice system is the volume of potential evidence. Often, it may be misleading for the prosecutors because a major part of the available evidence is specialized and cannot be evaluated without special knowledge. This aspect of the US criminal justice system imposes several limitations on the verdicts that are reached in courts all over the country.

Consequently, we still believe that the US system may function on the same basis even though ultimate changes occurred to the field of information that is available to us. Therefore, the fundamental reason for the change consists in the fact that the current legislation presumes that it will be able to function based on the same rudimentary procedures from the past. Using addressing the issue of revising the existing criminal justice procedures, we will be able to deal with almost any kind of civil case without being afraid to misuse any given piece of information. It should be noted that any citizen that becomes a juror has to be capable of evaluating and comprehending the available evidence appropriately regardless of the complexity of the issue at hand.

Nonetheless, the system does not work this way, and it will never do because the criminal justice system has to function based on the decisions that are made by the judge and jury. In other words, the information became a mere tool in the hands of attorneys that prefer the case never to reach the trial. Consequently, it may also be reasonable to suppose that the current US criminal justice system is in the need of more-specialized courts. In that case, the administration could make the best use of the new technologies that are currently on the rise and change the role that courts play in the decision-making process. This rationale hints at the fact that all judges will have to possess specific knowledge and line up their practice against the new rules that are dictated by the technological revolution.

Global Criminal Activity in the UK and Norway

Criminal activity in the UK mainly revolves around particular types of violence. For instance, there were almost 700 hundred thousand person-involved violence that occurred during the last year (Amatrudo, 2016). Also, criminals in the UK tend to commit robberies and burglaries. One of the most popular crimes in the United Kingdom is vehicle theft (almost 900 hundred thousand during 2015). This criminal activity is supervised by approximately 17000 law enforcement officers. Compared to the preceding decade, the occurrence of crimes experienced a slight decline (approximately 4%) (Wahidin & Carr, 2013). The total number of crimes that were committed on the territory of the UK does not exceed 400000. A great deal of these wrongdoings is represented by shoplifting and housebreaking. UK criminals are also prone to non-sexual violence and vandalism (Codd, 2013). The estimated number of prison population decreased significantly throughout the last decade.

In Norway, one of the most prevalent types of crime is murder (Ebbe, 2013). Nonetheless, if one takes a close look at the overall statistics of crimes committed in the territory of Norway, they will see that less than thirty murders took place in Norway during the last year (the approximate percentage is 0,56% to 100000 population) (Sriram, 2013). What is even more important, the number of other crimes continues to drop incessantly. There are quite a few cases of domestic violence but the majority of these cases revolved around minor, non-violent incidents. Physical assault is rarely met in Norway. The majority of the prison population in Norway are outsiders (Dammer & Albanese, 2014).

Cultural Perspectives on Policing, Courts, and Corrections of the UK and Norway

Both the UK and Norway are rather orthodox in terms of their criminal justice systems. Nonetheless, the cultural perspectives for these two countries seem to be positive because their initiatives allowed them to decrease the occurrence of numerous types of crimes. Unlike the US, Norway, for instance, was able to minimize the level of criminal activity using smart monetary investments which led to a better image of Norwegian prisons. Currently, it is well-known that Norwegian inmates have much more freedom in terms of what they are allowed to do on the territory of a penitentiary facility. In perspective, this is expected to have a significant impact on the number of individuals that commit crimes. It is also important to pay attention to the UK’s policy-making and correctional services. This country is much more similar to the US in terms of its criminal justice system design because of the implicit strictness of the latter. Nonetheless, both (the UK’s and Norway’s) criminal justice systems have passed the test of time, and the US government can follow their example to build a better criminal justice system.

Evaluation of International Policing and Investigative Agencies

Overall, it may be concluded that all of the criminal justice systems that have been analyzed throughout this paper have their advantages and disadvantages. It is also evident that Norway’s and UK’s criminal justice systems differ from the one that is employed by the government of the United States. It is advised to pay close attention to the top European countries to adopt their experience and revise the weakest spots of the US criminal justice system. I believe that international policing is on the rise currently and there is no reason for the United States to give up on its overseas neighbors.


Amatrudo, A. (2016). Human rights and the criminal justice system. London, UK: Routledge.

Codd, H. (2013). In the shadow of prison: Families, imprisonment and criminal justice. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

Dammer, H. R., & Albanese, J. S. (2014). Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ebbe, O. (2013). Comparative and international criminal justice systems: Policing, judiciary, and corrections. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Neubauer, D. (2017). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Reichel, P. L. (2013). Comparative criminal justice systems: A topical approach (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Roberts, J. V. (2015). Criminal justice: A very short introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Shelden, R. G., Brown, W. B., Miller, K. S., & Fritzler, R. B. (2015). Crime and criminal justice in American society (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Sriram, C. (2013). Transitional justice and peacebuilding on the ground: Victims and ex-combatants. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Wahidin, A., & Carr, N. (2013). Understanding criminal justice: A critical introduction. London, UK: Routledge.

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"Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway." IvyPanda, 31 Aug. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/criminal-justice-systems-in-the-us-the-uk-norway/.

1. IvyPanda. "Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway." August 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminal-justice-systems-in-the-us-the-uk-norway/.


IvyPanda. "Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway." August 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminal-justice-systems-in-the-us-the-uk-norway/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway." August 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminal-justice-systems-in-the-us-the-uk-norway/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Criminal Justice Systems in the US, the UK, Norway'. 31 August.

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