In order for the Reader to properly evaluate the degree of his / her interest in pursuing a career in the broad field of Criminal Justice, we at Police Science Institute first address the foundational questions relating to the Criminal Justice system … its scope, nature, intended purpose(s), key components and desired goals. Within that context, it is important to recognize that every country maintains its own, distinct “system” of Criminal Justice.
While there are multitudes of “definitional descriptions” applied to Criminal Justice, in order to begin your evaluation and analysis, suffice it for the onset to suggest that Criminal Justice is “an inter-woven, interacting system of practices and institutions established by respective governments seeking to maintain ‘social order’, the implementation of policies, practices and institutions dedicated to the deterrence of crime, and, the undertaking of similar policies, procedures and facilities dedicated to sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties (as well as their subsequent rehabilitation)”.
Virtually all countries have, in some form or fashion, established their own, respective Criminal Justice systems to actively reflect three (3) primary operational areas, all specifically designed in order to operate within the framework of the jurisdictional law(s) having been enacted as general public policy … Law Enforcement, the Court, and, the Corrections systems.
Because scholars have spent their lives examining and studying only a few of the aspects of ANY “Criminal Justice system”, any suggestion that your total knowledge of all is effectively impossible. As such, Police Science Institute’s “overview” course addresses predominantly the aspects of the Criminal Justice System as they apply to “criminal law”, and, from a vantage point of “academic neutrality” … showing you the “good, the bad and the ugly” of this highly complex area of study.
Further, we have therefore elected to focus our attention upon the Criminal Justice system in the United States as the foremost “model”, being the most comprehensive in scope and vast in operation. In that process, we delve into all of these sectors, and, we “begin at the beginning” by providing a brief “historical context” of the “concept” of Criminal Justice in order that you will be able to better understand the dynamics of this venue.
As you decide which area(s) to pursue, bear in mind that the Criminal Justice system is a “life-like entity” having been created over time and by numerous means in order to protect the population, maintain societal order, hold those guilty of committing crimes accountable, and, assisting in victim compensation. We accordingly refer to the Criminal Justice system as a “life-like entity” because, similar to living organisms, it is an “entity” … that maintains a purpose, is multi-faceted in its operation on both an individual as well as collective basis, and, may be viewed as being operationally “well” or “ill” based upon its functionality and effectiveness.