Crime Justice Policy—A Review ofEvidence and Perspectives Crime is a partof most people’s life in one fashion or another. In this essay I will definewhat crime control policy in general and how it how crime control policyeffects crime in the United States. With this you will be able to understandwhat takes place in criminal justice system and who effects many types of lawsand changes. After reading you will be able to decide if the direction theUnited Stated Crime control policy is headed is the best thing or in need anoverhaul.
Firstlet’s define what the Crime control model is really. “The Crime control modelrefers to theories of criminal justice which places emphasis on reducing thecrime in society through increased police and prosecutorial powers.” (US Legal, 2017) “Crime control prioritizes thepower of the government to protect society, with less emphasis on individualliberties.” (US Legal, 2017) U.S. Legal provided a good overviewfrom a layman’s view of crime control. The goal is to protect the public’sneeds but not too loose power as the government. There is one major problemwith this, who determines what is legal and what is not.
The answer to thatquestion is the government or the people in power with the most money. Althoughthere is clearly a crime problem in the United Stated, people’s definitions ofthe problem vary considerably across time and space. (Worral,2015) As far as laws are concerned manythings are made into laws but it is the legal, social, and cultural factorsthat influence law and determining what is criminal and what is not.Individuals have rights, to an extent, but only as long as they do not affectthe ones that hold all the power. The example I have provided below is a quickreference: To look at this in a perspective Ican explain, take drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin these drugs werenot illegal in the United States prior to the 20th century. Since these drugswere found to be “bad” by the money in the United States they now attract someof the most severe punishments criminal law. Thebasis of how laws are made come from “legal, social, and cultural factors thatinfluence the decision to criminalize or not criminalize unwanted behaviors.” (Bittle, 2003) Crime is aresult of various things in our life but the main thing is money.
When you lookat the money of it you can see that “crime control policy is politically constructed.” (Scheingold, 2000) The ones with the money are theones who control the legal system and they use lobbyist to achieve this goal. “Public policy is the ultimateoutput of a political system and influencing policy is the main intent ofinterest groups.” (Grossmann, 2012) Grossmann explains how much influence lobbyist have one the process: “According topolicy historians, interest groups are involved in significant policyenactments quite often. Interest groups were partially credited with 279significant new laws passed by Congress (54.8 per cent of all significantlegislative enactments), 31 significant executive orders (41.3 per cent of thetotal), 35 significant administrative agency rules (39.
3 per cent of the total)and 46 significant judicial decisions (36.8 per cent of the total).” (Grossmann, 2012)”The crime control model standsin contrast to the due process perspective. It emphasized the importance ofcontrolling crime, perhaps to the detriment of civil liberties.” (Worral, 2015) When looking at the goals of crime control “there are differences inthe goals people believe should have priority.
(Worral, 2015) These difference in goals effect how the process works and if it allowsit to work the way it should of not. To this day there is still the debate on”weather faith or fact, crime control or revenue generation, or political orivory tower thinking dominates in criminal justice.” (Worral, 2015)After how and why laws arecreated come the process of enforcing these laws. This is where the theory oftradition policing coming into play.
“Traditional policing consists of simple,common sense, and generally unimaginative police approaches to the crimeproblem.” (Worral, 2015) With all the research in to “tradition policing and the ways it workswith crime control “traditional policing approaches do not appear to affectcrime rates.” (Worral, 2015) Since traditional policing does not show to work you have to reply onnew ideas of policing such as proactive, directed and other new age ideas. Thenext step of the process is the partnership between police and corrections.
The shift to a new way ofthinking in prosecution is referred to strategic prosecution. “Strategicprosecution represents a marked departure from the traditional role of theprosecutor.” (Worral, 2015) With this strategy the shift is from looking at each case that issubmitted to the district attorney’s office and to look at the overall picturein reducing crime rates. Under this policy there are several things that assistin the process and make it harsher on some crimes. Thereare problems with any policy and plea bargaining is still a major downfall inmany people’s eyes. The majority, “90 percent by some estimates”, of criminalcases are decided in the plea bargain area and never are tried.
There are goodthings with plea bargaining just as there are bad. Many believe that justice isnot served when a plea is taken just to get a conviction and “that the practiceactually contributes to inefficiency.” (Worral, 2015) On the other side “if everydefendant demanded his or her right to a jury trial and succeeded in suchdemand, the criminal justice system would literally collapse.” (Worral, 2015) New ideas need to be brought in to the court system to be able to allowpeople to not just take a charge because they can’t afford to wait. A quick look into sentencing willmake you think about how the next step really works. “Fines are the most commonpunishment used by the criminal justice system today.” (Worral, 2015) This is because fines are the quickest and easiest way to “punish”someone for a crime they have committed. Incarcerating someone is the next stepup from fines or probation.
“The research concerning the relationship betweenincapacitation and crime is uncertain at best.” (Worral, 2015) So, by looking at sentencing there are several ways to “punish” acriminal from fines, fees, forfeiture, incarceration, touch sentencingapproaches and overall deterrence. With the explanation of how the system worksit’s now time to look at it all together and look at if the current crimecontrol policy and methods work. I do not think this is an answer than can besaid does not work or not because it is much more complex than that. There arethings that can be effective on crime control and things that are noteffective.
In Worral’s book Crime Control in America he lists over one hundredideas on what is effective, what is not and the ones not you cannot explain.Some examples of effective ways of reducing crime would be the hiring andimplication of more police officers on the streets, numerous educationalprograms and ways to improve environmental criminology. Some of the high pointson the failures are college degrees for police, moving police towards communitypolicing, gun buybacks and programs like scared straight. The list foruncertainties is the longest because the research has not been done and theyjust have not been in place long enough to tell one way or the other. As stated atthe beginning crimeis a part of most people life no matter what is done.
After the explanation ofwhat crime control policy is and the glimpse of many steps in the process ofcriminal justice the main question is how does it affect crime. Thought thisessay ideas have been shown to how the practice works and does not work. To sayoverall, “the overall combination of justice system efforts and individual,family, schools and community efforts help to make America safer.” (Worral,2015) Then there are many programs thatare “a colossal wash of money, though they continue to flourish.
” (Worral,2015) Overall, there is much moreresearch which needs to take place to be able to accurately stated if our crimecontrol policy works or not but as shown you can see some of the ideas that dowork. Top 10 list ofinformation/perspectives to citizens America has a crime problem but it has decreased in the last years. Violent crime has dropped in the past twenty-five years there based on afew reports. The main twocited reports that measure national crime are the FBI and Bureau of JusticeStatistics. Both the FBI and BJS data has shown a decline in violent crimessince the early 1990s.
“Using the FBI numbers, the rate fell 50% between 1993and 2015, the most recent full year available. Using the BJS data, the ratefell by 77% during that span.” (Gramlich, 2017) Criminal justice policy is greatly influenced by politics and moneyMoney and interest groups are the makers of laws not what is best forthe people.
“Public policy is the ultimate output of a political system andinfluencing policy is the main intent of interest groups.” (Grossmann, 2012) Grossmanntalked about how interest groups were credited with “279 significant new lawspassed by Congress (54.8 per cent of all significant legislative enactments),31 significant executive orders (41.3 per cent of the total), 35 significantadministrative agency rules (39.3 per cent of the total) and 46 significantjudicial decisions (36.8 per cent of the total).” (Grossmann, 2012) Hiring more police officers lowers the crime rate In Worrall’s Crime Control in America,a valid conclusion is made from research.
“annual expenditures on police areapproximately $60 billion, so the cost of the 14 percent increase in police is$8.4 billion a year…if the increase in police reduced crime by 5-6 percent,then the corresponding benefit of crime reduction is $20-$25 billion, wellabove the estimated cost. Thus…the investment in police appears to have beenattractive from a cost benefit perspective.” (Worral, 2015) Let’s think aboutthe for a few minutes. For every 15 percent increase in police a year, crimecan drop 5-6 percent. What if the increase in spending was 30 percent wouldthat give up a 10-12 percent drop in the crime rate? By educating the public oncriminal justice proceeding and explaining how the money is spent can go a longway.
Better equipment such as military equipment for police lowers the crime rate.”Militarization”of law enforcement has been a discussion because many people do not like thelook but they do not look at the benefits that come along with it. A recentstudy done by Harvard’s Kennedy School showed that “A 10 percent increase inthe total value of military aid given to a community leads to a decrease of5.9 crimes per 100,000 population.” (Trilling, 2017) When you look at adecrease of 6 crimes per 100,000 people this can mean a lot in a large city.
The main drops were largely in robberies, assaults, burglaries and car thefts,minus murder, these are the harsher crimes one would encounter. With a drop ofthe harsher crimes in a city it is easy to conclude that better or moreequipment does in fact help lower crimes rates. One thing that is interestingabout Harvard’s study is the cost relationship with equipment and crime rates.”Based on the average cost of a crime, the authors conduct a cost-benefitanalysis that reasons $5,800 worth of military gear can save society about$112,000. Thus, military aid is “a very inexpensive crime-reducing tool” whencompared to the costs and benefits of hiring additional police officers.
“(Trilling, 2017) Deterrence theory does not have much effect on crime rates.When looking at the differentdeterrence theories the one that most people know is general deterrence. Thisis the one that is the hardest to prove but is used by departments all over tobe able to be harder on crime. According to Worral, there are a few reasons whycrime control is not affected on crime.
The first being “that offenders areknowledgeable, but literature clearly shows that many serious offenders lackthe ability to associate criminal activity with potential punishment.” (Worral,2015) Second, many offenders have a drugproblem making them not able to look at the consequences as a normal personwould. The final being, “the most important, the criminal justice system has apoor track record of catching lawbreakers.
” (Worral,2015) With this information you canconclude that deterrence does not have the effect that most would think itshould. Community policing has its limitations but can help police. One of the best things thatcommunity policing has done, in theory, is to bring trust back to the police bythe community. “Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agenciesand the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety andeffective policing” (Departmentof Justice, 2017) Without the trust of the communityit would make the job of police much harder. If the public is not going toprovide information about crime because they do not trust the police, leadswould never be found. With the issues of use of force and many believing whatthe news says or what they don’t know, the trust in the police must be strongor we will continue to have riots and protests. There is a plea-bargaining pandemic just to get convictions. There are problems with any policy and plea bargaining is still a majordownfall in many people’s eyes.
The majority, “90 percent by some estimates”,of criminal cases are decided in the plea bargain area and never are tried. (Worral,2015) There aregood things with plea bargaining just as there are bad. Many believe thatjustice is not served when a plea is taken just to get a conviction and “thatthe practice actually contributes to inefficiency.
” (Worral,2015) On the other side “if every defendantdemanded his or her right to a jury trial and succeeded in such demand, thecriminal justice system would literally collapse.” (Worral,2015) New ideasneed to be brought in to the court system to be able to allow people to notjust take a charge because they can’t afford to wait. Prisons are overcrowded. The UnitedStates has about 5 percent of the world’s population it holds almost 25 percentof that behind bars. This equals about 2.2 million people. “Over the past fourdecades, the nation’s get-tough-on-crime policies have packed prisons and jailsto the bursting point, largely with poor, uneducated people of color, abouthalf of whom suffer from mental health problems.
” (Collier, 2014) “While theUnited States has 707 incarcerated people per 100,000 citizens, for example, Chinahas 124 to 172 per 100,000 people and Iran 284 per 100,000. North Korea isperhaps the closest, but reliable numbers are hard to find; some estimatessuggest 600 to 800 per 100,000.” (Collier, 2014) Treating drug addiction can assist in keeping repeat offenders out of the system. This issomething I never thought I would be saying but after reading several studieson the matter I have to agree. Researches of the past 30 years have beenlooking into drug abuser in the criminal justice system.
“Research hasconsistently shown that community-based drug abuse treatment can reduce druguse and drug-related criminal behavior. A meta-analysis of 78 comparison-groupcommunity-based drug treatment studies found treatment to be up to 1.8 timesbetter in reducing drug use than the usual alternatives” Another study showedthat “patients who received methadone plus counseling were significantly lesslikely to use heroin or engage in criminal activity than those who receivedonly counseling.” With less criminal activity among drug users would be a dropin the crime rate. (Redonna K.
Chandler, BennettW. Fletcher, & Nora D. Volkow, 2009) The war on drugs is a for profit government implicated policy. There always is an extraordinary amountof money spent towards law enforcement’s war on drugs but “while littleevidence supports the use of police crackdowns to reduce the number of drugmarket participants and sales over the long term, there have been indicationsthat crackdowns can have a time-limited impact on drug markets (D. Décary-Hétu,2016). One of the main reasons why drugs never go away is because it is abusiness for quite a few people. With the demand for drugs on the streetgrowing day by day there will always be more people beginning to have a need.Law enforcement cannot keep up and thus does not stand a chance in ever havinga true effect on the street drug epidemic.
“Fighting a war with inappropriatestrategies and/or weapons hardly ever guarantees winning it” (AlexandrisPolomarkakis, 2017).