Aims and Goals of the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system plays an important role in order maintenance and control of public affairs. Fulfilling these objectives requires greater community-court interaction. Increasingly popular are day treatment programs and nonsecure residential facilities as less formal punishments for youthful offenders. The main functions of the criminal justice system in Australia are social control, deterrence of crime and prevention programs, coordination, and administration of the criminal justice institutions and police force.

There is a remarkable consensus that the problem of crime and the criminal is actually a problem of continually shifting the emphasis our criminal institutions place upon rehabilitation, deterrence, and retribution. Every day the problem of dealing with crime and the criminal is addressed in thousands of courtrooms by doling out one form of punishment or another. The different forms of punishment meted out to distribute the benefits and burdens of engaging in criminal activity differently. Punishment for crimes, for example, has traditionally been such that it significantly decreases the burden of engaging in such activities as compared to engaging in street crimes. Similarly, different forms of punishment shift the costs of dealing with crime and the criminal to different sectors of society. It might be thought, for example, that a rehabilitation approach simply costs more in both time and money than a retribution approach (Hough & Roberts 2005).

The main areas of control and deterrence are drugs, violence, property crime, crime and community, organized crime, and white-collar crime. It is supposed that greater cooperation between the courts and community-based services is needed, especially in view of publicly expressed attitudes, in opinion polls, which favor sentencing juveniles to special treatment programs or counseling in lieu of incarceration. Judges must be apprised of existing community services as possible sentencing alternatives, and they must be sensitive to the needs of both status offenders and more serious juvenile offenders. Incarcerating the most serious juvenile offenders is unlike incarcerating adult offenders. Correctional facilities must give greater attention to educational and vocational programs (Hough & Roberts 2005). The average length of detention in secure facilities is considerably shorter than the length of incarceration in adult correctional facilities. Thus, intervention programs, especially educational and vocational programs, must be modified and streamlined to equip affected youths with various skills and competencies that will enable them to be more productive members of their communities when released (Crime and Criminal Justice 2008).

The goals of the criminal justice system are to maintain order and manage criminal justice institutions. In all jurisdictions, both state and federal, criminal courts exist to hear and decide cases. The federal district court is the major trial court with jurisdiction over all federal crimes. It also doubles as a civil court, where civil cases make up the bulk of those heard by federal judges and juries. In fact, criminal cases make up less than 15 percent of all cases heard in federal courts annually. For lesser federal crimes, the Magistrate ordinarily presides and decides cases that would otherwise be heard by federal judges (Crime and Criminal Justice 2008). State judicial systems vary dramatically among jurisdictions. No single plan is followed by all states specifying how their criminal and civil courts are or should be organized or labeled. However, an inspection of a broad array of state courts that hear criminal cases discloses several popular designations, including criminal courts, district courts, superior courts, circuit courts, and supreme courts. These state trial courts may have criminal jurisdiction exclusively, or they may have general jurisdiction that encompasses civil proceedings. There are different levels of courts as well, major and minor trial courts, where courts at lower levels in the judicial hierarchy adjudicate less serious cases. The higher trial courts or major courts are also courts of record, where a written or audio recording is made of court proceedings (Hough & Roberts 2005).

These records may be reproduced later if offenders are convicted and decide to appeal their cases on various grounds. Often, higher courts function as appellate bodies for cases appealed from lower court decisions or verdicts. In some states, particularly in geographical areas that are not heavily populated, circuit judges preside at designated times each month in remote regions to hear and decide a wide range of both civil and criminal matters. Critics underline that going from a rehabilitation approach to a retribution approach, then, does not decrease the burdens of dealing with crime and the criminal; it simply redistributes those burdens to weigh more heavily on a particular social class. Therefore, criminal justice institutions are able to exercise many options at various stages of criminal proceedings. When criminals are transferred or waived to the jurisdiction of criminal courts, they become susceptible to all of these options. Furthermore, their cases fall within the purview of all applicable rules of criminal procedure and evidence, and they are protected by all constitutional guarantees and rights extended to adult offenders. Before responding to this question, it must be remembered that prosecutors effectively screen many of these transfer cases and nolle prosequi them (Crime and Criminal Justice 2008).

In sum, the criminal justice system in Australia is aimed to protect society and individuals from crimes, violence, and abuse. Criminal justice consider she is not what to do from time to time about crime and the criminal but what consistent approach is flexible enough to countenance rapid social change and help us make our society a better place to live.


Crime and Criminal Justice. Australian Government. 2008. Web.

Hough, M., Roberts, J. 2005, Understanding Public Attitudes to Criminal Justice. Open University Press.

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