Part one: History
1607–1775: The Colonial Era
The criminal justice colonial era is classified into the village time ((1607-1699) as well as the town time (1700-1775). The overall Colonial period is characterized by the strong dependence on the informal societal control rather than the formal societal control (Criminal Justice System). This Criminal Justice System at the village time ((1607-1699) was greatly influenced by the need to create as well as survive in a new world. the main focus was on the immigrants who arrived in American for various reasons. For instance, to avoid the biased government that mistreated them basing on their classes or to avoid the persecutions that resulted from religious issues or differences (Neubauer and Fradella 25). America settlement was influenced by numerous social, political, need to stay as well as economic factors.
The colonists stayed under the law of England but the large terrestrial distance that existed between America and England did not permit strict implementation of those severe laws. Consequently, the colonist started to create their own justice laws as well as laws’ body. The colonial laws in early 18th century started to resemble much more the criminal laws of England. Luckily, the rate of crime was low since there was a very strong survival need resulting in little opportunity or time for crime commission or engagement (Burnham 55). The propriety crime raised slightly as a result of settlement establishment. However the main social control focus in this village time concerned the various religious crimes. Many of the colonists who came from England because of religious oppression were highly influential in integrating religion into the codified laws.
The church meeting, families and the town meeting were the main social controlling agents in this village period. The town meetings took the court roles by offering punishments, settlements and settling various dispute between groups or individuals. The families had the responsibilities of controlling the behaviors of their children since there were no justice system for juvenile at that period. The corporal punishments such as whipping were common to any egregious habit or behavior. Free from religious intervention numerous colonist established new norms and mores sets that were strictly implemented after becoming part of the laws. Accordingly, the church members worked like courts issuing different kind of punishment such as expulsion from the church congregation as well as admonition on the people who engaged in any unacceptable behavior in the society. Expulsion from the society in general, provided another mean of punishing individual in the community (Reiman and Leighton 44).
The low rates of crime in the New World highly influenced the criminal justice system shape at that period. The policing, courts as well as correction system remained the same as the ones that were in England, however there were numerous changes in the laws implemented. The development different level existing between the Old and the new world demanded that the law body brought from England to America needed change. For instance, the religion freedom and the settlement laws needed reconsideration.
1776-1828: A new nation
This period was characterized by a need to establish as well as organize a legitimate community. Implementation as well as development of a government were the main societal concern of this era. The effort in this period included developing a criminal justice system. The crime problem arouse in the begging of revolution. Various responses to the crime increase resulted in the development of a system of the criminal justice that was based on English version. For example, the power of police was limited and the officers of peace emphasized on more on municipal regulations and public health rather than confrontation and prevention of crimes. The courts were established. The revolution provoked reforms in criminal justice. Therefore, in 1790s the position of the attorney general and the federal statute were formed (Cole et al. 56).
1829-1855: The Jacksonian Era
The Jacksonian era was a great period of change in criminal justice administration as well as implementation. It was at this period that the system same as the current was first developed. However, this system lacked effectiveness as well as efficiency. For instance, those who settled in the western parts of the United States experience lawlessness levels and were limited to no law implementation protection. At the same time, the tougher laws resulted in more problems rather than protection. The police failed to correctly address the criminals as well as crime. Instead they were more corrupt (Pound 66). The Civil War Era resulted in more challenges for the evolving system of criminal justice in the United States.
1856-1878: The Civil War Era
The criminal justice system that was progressing in the period of Jacksonian ceased at the break out of the Civil Wars. The crimes and criminal increased (Simon 77). However the country focused much on the war. Numerous police left their position and joined the soldiers in the fight of this war. The courts as well were much concerned with war associated cases rather than the crimes cases in the country. The system of criminal justice would have developed largely however the war needed much attention.
1879-1899: The Gilded Age
The Gilded Era brought much hope to the people of America who now had redirected their consideration from the war to country establishment. Crimes increase as a result of discrimination, poverty among other calamities. The system of justice was highly needed. As a result many individuals were employed in courts, correction as well as policing. For instance, in 1870 the justice department was form at the federal government level. There were many development concerning Juvenile justice near the gilded period end (Burnham 44).
1900-1919: The Progressive Era
This was a period well known for important changes in the united state history. Various reformers fought for the justices of immigrants as well as criminal. At this period the system of criminal justice gained independence from the political influence. At the same time, the system of juvenile justice was separated from the adult system of criminal justice signifying true reform. By the end of 1914, almost every state has a main criminal justice component which represented the current criminal justice system (Pound 59). However World War I changed the Americans focus and halted the progressive reforms.
1920-1939: The Crisis Era
After World War I and recession come out, the United States anticipated a hopeful 1920s. However, things took a different turn resulting in a Crisis Era. Depression and Prohibition integrated and resulted in a great criminal behavior deal (Pound 57). For instance, the crisis resulted in another crime of preparation and manufacturing of alcohol. Similarly, the department of police was fighting crimes from a political perspective. Similar problems were experienced in the corrections, juvenile justice and courts. This error was tempered but the Depression end in 1930s and Prohibition repeal in 1933. However, World War II confronted the U.s again.
1940-1959: The War Years
The World War II took again the attention of Americans and there was little done in the criminal justice system. The United States was experiencing many problems like discrimination of race, gender and class. World War II was followed by economic prosperity. As a result the rates of crimes were low between 1940 and 1950. However less reforms were evident I the criminal justice system at this era (Pound 57).
1960–1979: The Nationalization Era
The Nationalization Era impacts are evident in even the current criminal justice system. For instance, the corrections and court personnel were not prepared for the increased cases numbers. As a result various programs of criminal justices were introduced to increase the manpower required at this period (Pound 57). The crimes increased in 1960s to 1970s. This period fostered the focus on the criminal justice system. This resulted in a great expansion of this system in the year 1980.
1980-2001: The Post-Modern Era
The economic stability at this period resulted in crime rate decrease. The government expanded it is fights against drugs and the male numbers in the criminal justice system. The prisons were increased in 1980s (Pound 57). Similarly, the department of police increased as well. The United States had a great believe that they had managed in creating a more effective and efficient criminal justice system. However a new crime and justice Era started after an attack on September 11 of 2001 from terrorist.
2002-Present: The Homeland Security Era
After the terrorist attack the Homeland security department was developed to fight various crime. This systems is considered to be progressive. As time move various system have been incorporated in the criminal justice system such as technology. The main purpose of this department is to protect the country. At the same time, it provides greater coordination as well as corporation within the federal law implementation (Pound 57).
They are agencies of the public whose purpose include maintain order, providing services and implementing criminal laws. The police officers functions in the society is to control as well as prevent crimes. They also collaborate with prosecutors in gathering evidence and investigating criminals in order to gain evidence that is used in courts (Pound 57).
They are tribunals where judges or juries determine criminal law violating individual’s responsibility. The functions of courts are to discover any hidden truth as well as seek justices. The main actors in the courts include judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors (Neubauer and Fradella 158).
They include parole, prison, jail, probation as well as various new community-based permissions such as house arrest and electronic monitoring. The corrections agencies purpose are to rehabilitate, to ensure the safety of the public and to punish (Cole et al. 34).
Definition of crime
Crime involves the unlawful acts that are punishable by authority or a state. However, there is no universal definition of this term. The most appropriate definition is that crime is created by law (Beaver 56).
Major theories of criminal behavior
The theories can be largely classified into two: biological theories and sociological theories
The biological theory crime explanation assumes that certain individuals are born criminals. They are physiologically different from non-criminal people. The common approach is the Cesare Lombroso approach (Thornberry 96). Where he explains using Charles Darwin ideas and proposed that criminals are atavistic: not well developed or mal-developed. After examining various prisoner he realized they had the same physical traits. Thus he suggested that criminals had a mal-developed brain. However this has been found not necessary to use the physical examination. Thus biological theories have developed with an inclusions of neurological conditions, biochemical conditions, genetic inherence and intelligence in explaining criminals.
This theories suggests that crime result from the external factors of a person: the peer groups and neighborhood experience. For instance, Social Disorganization Theory formed after a research explains that delinquency patterns were high in regions of poor health, socio-economic transient and disadvantaged population as well poor housing. This made the researcher conclude that crime were as result of the neighborhood experiences (Simon 35). Other contemporary crime theories include Defensible Space Theory establish the relationship between crime and the surrounding, Broken Windows Theory relating crime of the low-level disorders and the Routine activities Theory explaining the way various opportunities in daily life results in crimes.
Other sociological theories include Strain/Anomie Theory, Subcultural Theory, Social Control Theory, Rational Choice/ Right Realism Theory, Relative Deprivation/ Left Realism and Feminist Perspectives/Gender (Beaver 57).
Beaver, KevinM. Biosocial Theories of Crime. Routledge, 2017.
Burnham, William. Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States. West Academic Publishing, 2016.
Cole, George F., et al. The American System of Criminal Justice. Cengage Learning, 2018.
Neubauer, David W., and Henry F. Fradella. America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Cengage Learning, 2015.
Pound, Roscoe. Criminal Justice in America. Routledge, 2018.
Reiman, Jeffrey, and Paul Leighton. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice. Routledge, 2015.
Simon, Jonathan. “Governing through Crime.” Law and Poverty, Routledge, 2017, pp. 97–115.
Thornberry, Terence. Developmental Theories of Crime and Delinquency. Routledge, 2018.