What is the Goal of the Criminal Justice System?

The United States leads the world in so many areas–including the percentage of incarcerated citizens. In 2010, the United States had 2010 prisoners in the criminal justice system, an increase of 66% from the prior decade.  Read these alarming statistics, as well as how the United States views corrections on journalist Maggie Messitt’s Learnist board “Prisons in America: A Primer.” 

Critical questions: 

1. What is the goal of the criminal justice system in the United States? Is it to get the bad guys off the street, or to improve society so that offenders do not reoffend?

2. Why are certain groups and populations represented disproportionately? Which groups, by percentage, are most likely to be incarcerated, and why? How can the criminal justice system better serve those groups?

3. Is there a role for restorative justice in the criminal justice system? Should offenders make amends, and is letting them do so helpful to victims?

4. What are the economics behind the criminal justice system?

5. What, if any, are some of the effective programs in corrections? What helps stop the cycle of crime and abuse, truly improving communities? Consider prison gardens, writing programs, dog training programs, and other programs meant to build job skills and raise awareness of what it is to be a good citizen.

6. The death penalty has been a hotbed political issue. Should the death penalty be legal? How does it affect society? What are the economics behind the death penalty?

We will discuss these and other issues. Please discuss in the comment section.

3 thoughts on “What is the Goal of the Criminal Justice System?

  1. 6. I think they death penalty should be legal. I think it should only be used on people with charges such as rape and murder. Most people with these charges enjoy commiting the crime and will always think about doing it again. These people should only be charged with the death penalty if there is more than enough evidence that the person commited the crime. If you dont have enough evidence, don’t charge them with the death penalty.

  2. As for what the goal of the criminal justice system is I believe that it is neither of the above. We can say were getting bad guys off the street, or that they wont re-offend but its a lie. Nobody really knows what will happen when they come out of jail, half the time they are repeating offenders, and they will recommit the crime. We throw around the word bad guy all the time but some of those people in jail really didn’t do the crime, and we’ve made mistakes and they get the title of a bad guy and have to live with it? With everything that happens in the world and our government and the problems we have our justice system has to be the worst part of everything. How do we try and make things fair and still have justice be served? I myself believe that the justice system needs to be worked on and many changes need to be made. You cant just say oh well he must be guilty he belongs in jail it needs to be thoroughly looked at to know what happened you cant just put someone in jail over what you think they did. Yes there are those who did do it and they deserve to be punished and they will be.

  3. The goal of the Criminal Justice System, in my opinion, is to get bad guys off the street. I do not think this will improve society because offenders who get out will probably commit more crime.

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