Criminal justice presents a field connected with a complex system of organizations and practices that allow to control criminal activity. In this paper, I would like to discuss criminal justice system in the United States, theoretical approaches related to the sphere, and methods of measuring crimes.
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To begin with, I would like to state that my opinion on the criminal justice system has changed due to additional knowledge that I gained during the course with the help of additional materials that we were supposed to read. In general, I can say that my attitudes to this aspect of life of the human society have changed because I have managed to get additional knowledge. In fact, the readings used during the classes helped me to understand the role of each element of this system in particular and this is why the interconnection between these elements and the way that they complement each other have become more obvious. In fact, I would like to pay an increased attention to three parts that remain the most important in this system such as bodies where laws are created, law enforcement agencies, and corrections facilities. As for the latter, the units that we were supposed to read have helped me to understand the great role that they play in the development of the society. Therefore, the topic of crimes and their consequences seems very interesting to me and the information that I have been provided with helped me to better understand the system used to correct criminal behavior. Thus, I can say that my opinion on criminal justice has changed because the roles of its particular elements have become clearer to me.
Speaking about criminal justice and the particular practices used by specialists in this field, it is extremely important to consider the topic of methods of measuring crime. As it is clear from many sources related to the topic, there are a few methods that tend to be used in the majority of the cases. To begin with, they include uniform type reports that involve the data concerning all cases of criminal behavior that were reported. There are certain strengths and weaknesses of this method; the former include the ability of such reports to show tendencies related to crimes in the society. At the same time, there can be certain difficulties related to counting crimes and the division between those crimes that have been already completed and the cases of criminal attempts that may be omitted. Another popular method involves reports completed by criminals on their own; as for its advantages, it allows the specialists to better understand the most common motives of crimes and add new facts to official statistical data. Despite that, criminals may conceal important information or distort the facts for their own purposes and it has a negative impact on overall reliability of the reported information. There is one more method of measuring crime that involves the use of victimization studies. The latter are connected with personal experience and this fact causes both advantages and disadvantages of the method. From the one hand, the use of such surveys helps to estimate the level of criminal activity as it is because they also involve the information about those crimes that have not been reported to the police. Nevertheless, human factor remains one of the reasons that may decrease the reliability of information reported by participants of such studies. Some people may report the facts that do not correspond with the reality due to certain memory errors that occur because of psychological stress or age-related changes. Therefore, I suppose that the use of uniform type reports seems to be the most accurate method of measuring crime. I suppose this method to be the best because such reports do not involve the information that cannot be checked. As for the method that I believe to be the least accurate, I would say that self-reports seem to present the least credible information due to twisted perception of reality that is often experienced by people committing crimes.
There are different theories related to crimes and the way that people should assess them. In order to better understand current criminal justice system, it may be important to link it with famous theories related to criminology that have been popular earlier. If we speak about classical theory, it does not support the idea of severe punishment for crimes that do not involve serious harm to other people. Therefore, theorists developing this concept wanted to understand the difference between fair and unfair punishment. At the same time, due to strong religious beliefs of its creators, this theory attempts to connect crime with the notion of fate and influence of higher forces. Besides, that system involves the possibility of blood vengeance. Due to these reasons, I suppose that it is quite hard to apply it to present system due to major changes related to people’s assumptions. As for neo-classical theory, it involves the opinions expressed by previous researchers together with new ideas such as different methods of control helping to prevent people from violating laws. The latter involve a few factors such as unwillingness to disappoint other people and the theory focuses on paying more attention to socialization to prevent crime. I suppose that this particular assumption applies to our current system as many practices related to this sphere involve placing emphasis on person’s social responsibility.