10 interesting facts about criminal justice

Why do juvenile offenders receive special treatment? Why aren't jails able to provide a solution for every single crime? And how can we ensure that offenders who are set to be released have a smooth transition? Julian Roberts, author of Criminal Justice: A Very Short Introduction, provides the top ten facts about criminal lawyer mississauga that everyone should be aware of, as well as the power and weaknesses of the Western system.

The police, the prosecution, the judiciary, the jail system, probation, and parole are all elements of criminal justice.

  1. The goal of the criminal justice system are numerous and frequently at odds with one another: the interests of the victim must be balanced with the defendant's right to due process, the larger public interest, and cost-effectiveness concerns.
  2. At least as vital as punishing offenders is preventing crime. The three types of situational crime prevention, which include bank robberies, entail raising the threshold for criminal activity, raising the likelihood of being caught, and limiting the benefits of illegal behaviour, such as by reducing the quantity of cash kept in a facility.
  3. The main tenets that govern how criminal justice is applied in Western countries are that criminal prosecution should only be used as a last resort and that criminal justice intervention should only be used when absolutely necessary (i.e., if a warning is enough, don't lock up the offender), and that the severity of the sentence should rise as the crime's seriousness increases.
  4. Only 10% of offences are reported to the police overall. Reasons for this include the fact that the crime was not very serious, the perception that the police are powerless to intervene, or the victim's concern about disbelief.
  5. Financial fines, community-based punishments (such as incarceration), community work, a curfew, and a housing requirement are only a few ways to penalize an offender.
  6. Young or first-time offenders benefit most from a suspended prison sentence because the threat of punishment is frequently enough to deter them.
  7. Despite identical crime rates, the legal response to crime differs widely amongst societies. For instance, in Holland, imprisonments make up roughly 7% of all punishments. In contrast, custody makes up about 70% of sentences in the US.
  8. We want offenders to leave jail as better people. Thus we expect our prisons to punish and rehabilitate. However, even if offenders change their minds after being released from prison, their criminal record remains with them always and negatively affects their employment opportunities, making it harder for them to lead happy, fulfilling lives.
  9. In England, housing one prisoner runs roughly £38,000 ($60,000) a year. So it is crucial to prevent anyone from imprisonment unless it is essential for this reason alone.
  10. Mass Incarceration: There are over 2 million prisoners and 5 million individuals under supervision in the United States (on probation or parole). More people are imprisoned in the United States than in any other nation. According to this statistic, one in twenty Americans will serve time in prison. Prison and jail! Inmates during midyear, 2003, Bureau of Justice Statistics Report (2004).
  11. Race: The criminal justice system has a disproportionate number of people of colour. According to incarceration figures from 1996, African-American males had a 1 in the 4 lifetime likelihood of serving time in prison, 1 in 23 for white men and 1 in 6 for Latino men. Although they make up only 29% of the State's population, nearly 87% of the women in New York prisons or jails for drug charges in 2004 were African-American or Latina.
  12. Poverty: Most inmates are poor, with 40% of men and 60% of women in state prisons in the United States being unemployed before their incarceration. 37% of women and 28% of men who reported having a source of income made less than $600 in the month before being arrested.
  13. Gender: Between 1974 and 2004, the proportion of women incarcerated in New York State climbed by around 500%. (More than double the rate of men). Compared to white women, the lifetime risk of entering prison is six times higher for African-American women. Drug charges were the primary cause of nearly all (91%) of the rise in women receiving prison sentences between 1986 and 1995. Prison time for drug- or property-related offences is more common for women than men. The lifetime probability of Going to State or Federal Prison, BJS Report (2003); "Women Prisoners and Substance Abuse Fact Sheet," Women in Prison Project (March 2004).
  14. Narcotics: According to a 1997 survey of convicts in State prisons, a third of crimes were committed while under the influence of drugs. More than 80% of the women inmates in New York in 2002 acknowledged having a drug or alcohol issue previous to their incarceration. New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws, enacted in 1973, remain the strictest, most punishing drug laws in the country, taking away a judge's discretion and imposing lengthy sentences. In 1997, only 1 in 10 State prisoners reported obtaining treatment while "inside." Drug addiction therapy is more efficient and less expensive than incarceration: a year in prison costs $32,000. In contrast, a year of residential treatment runs between $17 and $2,000. Drug Abuse and Treatment in State and Federal Prisons, BJS Report, January 1999.

  15. Families: Most behind bars are parents—75% of imprisoned women are moms, compared to 66% of incarcerated men. A parent of ten million children in the United States is or was recently under criminal court supervision (incarcerated, on probation, or parole). Half of all jailed parents do not have visits with their children, and more than 60% of parents in state prisons are held more than 100 miles from their previous domicile. The social and financial infrastructure of low-income, radicalized families is further weakened by high incarceration rates. Prisoners Once Removed by Travis & Maul (2004); Incarcerated Parents and Their Children by BJS Report (2004). September 2003.