Reflection on Criminal Justice
Discuss what you have learned from taking this course. How the knowledge, core themes of this course, and the engaged learning activities you have participated in have impacted you individually. How have you grown or expanded your thinking while completing this course? Has taking this course changed you or your attitude regarding the field of criminal justice at all? It is very appropriate that you write in first person. I want to read about your thoughts, your ideas, your perceptions, your opinions
Reflection on Criminal Justice
The criminal justice module lessons have covered a wide range of topics on different issues and knowledge impacting important information on the topic. The modules have covered the processes and procedures of criminal justice to the point justice and equality is attained. I have gained a wealth of knowledge through issues, topics, and examples presented in the modules. The lessons provide the duties and responsibilities under the criminal justice system and officials and professionals attached to them. The information and aspects in the course have impacted knowledge on the mechanics of the criminal justice system to ensure that justice is served per the law.
Lesson 1 – History of the Criminal Justice System and Crime Data
The lesson provides the growth and developments that have experienced in the course of American history. Different changes have been experienced with time regarding the manner offenses and convictions are handled in the interest of justice (Lochner, 2007). The criminal justice system entails the social and legal institutions tasked with the enforcement of criminal law as per the constitution or procedural limitations and rules. Criminals and offenders are punished or fined in the interest of keeping law and order. Criminall justice originated from the British in the course of the American Revolution as the government tried to justify the hanging of offenders. The magistrate was tasked with making the final decision on the punishment or fines for offenders in public hearings. More so, the collection of criminal data is done through the law enforcement reports that give details of crimes and the information is further passed to various departments within the criminal justice system.
Lesson 2 – Police Department Organization, Structure, and Function
The lesson provides details of law enforcers in terms of their function and the structure within which they operate. I have learned the processes and procedures that take place in the police department in the course of enforcing law and order (Lochner, 2007). The police are at different levels that include local, state and federal levels. The police in different levels maintain law and order within their jurisdiction and they handle different types of crime that are under the mandate of every level. The law enforcers’ structure is arranged hierarchically and is divided into ranks. Different police ranks are tasked with different law enforcement activities and they include police technicians, police officer or patrol officer, police corporal, police sergeant, police lieutenant, police captain, deputy police chief, and chief of police.
Lesson 3 – Legal Aspects of Police Work: Patrolling and Investigation
The lessons explain the rules and laws that guide the operation of the police as well as defining the roles and responsibilities of the police. I have learned that the conduct such as seizures, searches and arrests are guided and defined by the constitutional rules and laws. In this regard, the legal restraint to the conduct is addressed under the bill of Rights (Lochner, 2007). The bill of rights restricts the law enforcers from overstepping on their mandate. Moreover, there are procedures and requirements of searches and seizures. The rules and regulations guiding searches and seizures require that the warrant need to be filled in good faith, the warrant must n reliable indicating probable cause, the warrant need to be given by a neutral and detached magistrate and the warrant must state the specific place and items to be searched. On the other hand, the course has explained and expounded on the term arrest. The term arrest entails apprehending a suspect or offender and taking them into custody waiting for the criminal justice system to take its course (Lochner, 2007). For example, an arrest takes place when a person suspected of engaging in terrorism is arrested while non-arrest occurs when the police arrest a suspect and order them to appear in court later.
Lesson 4 – Police Work: Issues and Challenges
Police face challenges and issues that bar them from fulfilling their mandate in maintaining law and order. I have come to learn that issues of professionalism, integrity ethics, brutality, and corruption affect the police work. There are different types of police corruption such as extortion, fraud, nepotism, bribery, favoritism, and embezzlement. On the other hand, there are hazards, risks, and threats associated with the police work such as violent attacks, accidents such as vehicle accident causing deaths and injuries, deterioration in emotional and physical health, and bad leadership. Police corruption and other risks can be avoided by adopting appropriate ethics and professionalism in police work (Neubauer and Fradella, 2018). Ethics and professionalism are vital in police work as they ensure that police work appropriately, police achieve high levels of success, enhances proper decision making and builds a good image for the police.
Lesson 5 – Police Work and Career Potential
The lesson opens up on the opportunities that are available in the police work. The police departments at different levels have a wide range of activities that call for the attention of different professionals (Neubauer and Fradella, 2018). The fact that police work covers almost every aspect of life calls for different careers such as police officers, detectives, crime scene investigators, evidence technician, victim advocate, school resource officer, sheriffs, and special jurisdiction police. The careers in police departments arise due to the need for specialization and professionalism in handling different types of crimes.
Lesson 6 – Court Organization, Structure, and Function
The court organization spells out the structure, functions, and officials in the criminal justice system to enhance delivery. The court organization has been effected over time to its current form and structure. The Judiciary Act of 1789 served as the basis for the American court system. The act introduced the Supreme Court that had an appellate jurisdiction of handling larger cases and those that could not be handled by federal or state courts (Neubauer and Fradella, 2018). The Act marked the circuit and district courts to handle smaller cases under the state laws. Consequently, courts are arranged hierarchically with each court having a defined function. Federal courts address cases under the federal law, appellate courts hear appeals from trial courts and the Supreme Court is used as a court of last resort in cases that could not be determined by other courts. The court has stages of pretrial that include arrests, booking, bail, arraignment, plea bargain, and preliminary hearing. In my view, the courts are structures and processes are run in stage to ensure that justice is served at all times.
Lesson 7 – Courtroom Work Group: Judges, Attorneys, Jury Members
This lesson has enabled me to understand the types of crimes and aspects surrounding crimes. Understanding the fundamentals of crimes enables the relevant parties to the cases to handle them appropriately (Neubauer and Fradella, 2018). The understanding of crimes determines if they will be addressed under the professional or non-professional courtrooms. In a professional courtroom, both the defendant and the victim have their lawyers and the prosecuting attorney is present. The non-professional courtrooms are used for functions such as arbitration and the participants are lay witnesses, non-expert witnesses, and jurors members.
Lesson 8 – Criminal Trial and Sentencing
This lesson has provided me with the knowledge of the processes taken in the criminal trial. Criminal trial goes through a process marked with stages to ensure that justice is achieved (Neubauer and Fradella, 2018). Issues are tabled in court and both the plaintiff and the defendant give their views and evidence in the case and the court is given a chance to determine the cases. In my view, the criminal trial brings all parties to a case together as well as their evidence in the interest of finding just and equality.
Lesson 9 – Courtroom Work and Career Potential
Therevare a wide range of activities taking place in a courtroom calling for different professionals to handle them. Different activities in a courtroom call for specialization and division of labor to achieve perfection in the quest for justice and equality (Tyler, 2007). Some of the courtroom careers include judges, defense attorney, prosecutor, court reporter, paralegals, court clerk, court interpreter, Bailiff, and corrections officer.
Lesson 10 – Corrections: Incarceration Facility Organization, Structure, and Function
The lessons have given details on treatment or handling on offenders to ensure that the reform, punished for their crimes. The corrections are modeled to ensure that the criminals regret their actions and they can become law-abiding citizens (Tyler, 2007). The organization of correctional facilities ensures that criminals are handled depending on their special needs such as being underage, type of crime and the extent of the crime they engaged in. The arrangement ensures that corrections are perfectly managed in the interest of the public.
Lesson 11 – Corrections Environment: Inmates and Officers
The corrections environment is modeled to appropriately handle offenders based on their needs and in the interest of the state and victims (Terrill, 2007). The correctional environment ensures that as much as justice and equality are served the offenders are enabled to adopt the required change that can enable them to be integrated back in the society. Therefore, the correctional environment is learning, teaching, and training environment for the offenders.
Lesson 12 – Corrections: Probation and Parole
The probation and parole are aspects of the correction that are used to determine if a convict is ready to join the society (Terrill, 2007). In my view, probation ensures the criminal justice is able to oversee the conduct of a former offender upon being integrated into society. On the other hand, the parole determines if one if fit to go back to society. Therefore, probation and parole evaluate the changes that the convict have gone through in the course of their sentence.
Lesson 13 – Corrections Work and Career Potential
The different activates conducted under the corrections to ensure that justice is served. Additionally, other activities in the corrections are directed to ensure that convicts reform and can be integrated into society (Terrill, 2007). In this regard, the corrections have various career option to meet is goals and objectives such as a correctional counselor, correctional treatment specialist, parole officer, peace officer, probation officer, substance abuse counselor, juvenile correctional case manager, and juvenile correctional counselor.
General lessons from the course
The course has introduced me to a wide range of knowledge and information in the criminal justice system. I have learned that the criminal justice system has gone through changes and evolutions from time to time. The changes are meant to ensure that justice, as well as law and order, are maintained within the society. Changes affected are for the common good and in the interest of the majority. Consequently, the criminal justice system strives to achieve flexibility by accepting positive changes while discouraging negative issues in the system. Furthermore, criminal justice in contemporary time is inclined to reforming criminals as opposed to punishing them. On the other hand, the core theme in the course has enabled me to participate in research to find the best practices and approaches to be adopted in the administration of justice and reforming offenders. I contributed immensely in the research having gone through various aspects and issues of the course. Furthermore, the course has expanded my thinking to understand that the criminal justice system is dynamic. Positive are readily accepted in the criminal justice system in the interest of the common good. Finally, the course has changed my attitude on the criminal justice system in that I understand that the purpose of the field to ensure that it enhances the common good by reforming offenders as opposed to merely punishing them.
The course provides valuable information and knowledge in the criminal justice system. The course was divided into different stages and sections that are involved in the criminal justice system. In every stage, the course explains the aspects of criminal justice and steps taken in the interest of justice. Additionally, the modules present the organization and management of the whole criminal justice system to ensure justice and equality are achieved.
Lochner, L. (2007). Individual perceptions of the criminal justice system. American Economic Review, 97(1), 444-460.
Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2018). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning.
Terrill, R. J. (2007). World criminal justice systems: A survey. Lexis Nexis.
Tyler, T. R. (Ed.). (2007). Legitimacy and Criminal Justice: An International Perspective. Russell Sage Foundation.