Criminal Justice System: Components and Goals

The government structure application to criminal justice system

Crime refers to any act that breaches criminal statues and is regarded as an offense in the society. This implies that the state prosecutes and punishes violators of the statues. Criminal law punishes offenders by restricting their personal freedom or imposing fines. In this regard, criminal law exhibits multiple categories of crimes associated with different punishments. Some of these crimes include property crimes, violent crimes, public order crimes, organized crimes, white-collar crimes and high-tech crimes. In this regard, there exist two common models, which define criminal acts (Schmalleger, 2011). This indicates the nature and processes of criminal justice system.

Choice theories

The consensus model contends that a large proportion of the society will agree on the type of activities which are considered crimes and punishable. This model bases its assumptions on the fact that most people are likely to formulate similar morals. Another model is the conflict model, which argues that in a diverse society, key individuals within a group would formulate and exercise criminal laws based on their value systems (Gaines & Bassi, 2003).

Components of criminal justice system

The government structure consists of the legislature, judiciary and executive, which play different roles in the criminal justice system. The legislature formulates laws that define crimes, determine sentences and provide funds to criminal justice agencies. On the other hand, the judiciary judges the alleged victims of crime and interprets laws in the trial and appellate courts respectively.

Additionally, the appellate courts deliberate on the legislative acts of conformity to the constitution. Meanwhile, the executive branch of the government appoints judges and leaders of agencies. Some of these heads include police chiefs and directors of corrections departments. Through these appointments, officials improve the standards of criminal justice by mobilizing public and legislative programs.

Choice theories entail the rationality attributed to one’s gain from his or her actions. Some of these theories include rational theory, displacement theory, economic theory and deterrence theory. In this case, if an individual is constraint in exploiting lucrative opportunities, one may consider committing crimes. This depicts that most offenders are rational people with certain objectives in their undertakings. Based on this concept, the justice system has escalated the degree of punishment of such offenders. This form of initiative seeks to deter potential offenders from committing crimes (Gaines & Bassi, 2003).

The main components of the justice system include the police, courts and corrections. All these departments have specific roles, which aims at apprehending, trying and punishing perpetrators of crime. The police department is responsible for maintain order and enforcing law. In this regard, police officers control and prevent crime occurrence. During court hearings, they are responsible for assembling evidence together with its representation by the prosecutor.

On the other hand, the courts have the prime role of determining the fate of alleged individuals with regard to criminal law. Through this process, they administer justice and unravel the truth of hidden matters (Schmalleger, 2011). Regarding guilty offenders, the correction departments provide probation, imprisonment, electronic monitoring or house arrest. Therefore, their main role is to safeguard public safety through rehabilitation and punishment of offenders.

Goals of criminal justice system

The criminal justice system has varied goals in the society. Essentially, it aims at maintaining order, punishing the guilty and executing coercions in the society. In this case, the system has rules and procedures that are adopted to deal with violation of criminal laws. Therefore, the criminal justice system takes away the rage and vengeance of the members of the society through the consideration of codes that evaluate guilt and innocence for any matter. Similarly, the appropriate division of the roles of judges and jury assist the prosecution while the defense presents their concerns in all matters. As a result, the systems create systematic and rational procedures for all crime-related actions.

Reality of the system

The criminal justice system is not a system. In this respect, the criminal justice system is an independent agency that has different authorities from multiple sources. In addition, multiple sources finance its budget. Police departments receive funds from the cities in which they are situated. Court members are financed on a similar scale countywide while the co-relational and appellate courts members are financed on a statewide scale. Furthermore, the agencies do not coordinate their activities as expected.

Lessons from the CJ

Finally, there are multiple lessons that I gained from the CJi interactive activities. Essentially, one of the major lessons concerns how to define crime. According to the interactive module, an individual or organization that violates the criminal laws of the state commits a crime. In this case, the federal government or a local jurisdiction repudiates the illegal acts with no justification or excuse. Therefore, a certain conduct criminal nature could vary based on status of the actor, period of occurrence, relationship with other crimes, location of the act or the driving force of the act (Schmalleger, 2011).

Despite this hypothesis, there are certain behaviors, which are universally criminal. For this reason, social expectations are acceptable and laws are formulated to prevent their occurrence. In addition, our perspectives determine assumptions of behaviors and ideas about laws, crime and criminality.


Gaines, L. K., Miller, R. L., & Bassi, L. (2003). Criminal justice in action (2nd ed.;annotated instructor’s ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Schmalleger, F. (2011). Criminal justice today: an introductory text for the 21st century (Custom ed. for Kaplan Higher ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, in cooperation with Pearson Learning Solutions.

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