Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System

9 September 2016

The criminal justice system discuss the effectiveness of legal and non-legal measures in achieving justice. The criminal justice system within Australia is the means through which those who break rules stipulated within legislation and legal regulations are brought to justice in the form of punishment. The legal and non-legal measures implemented are applied across all aspects of crime. The legal measures include all institutions and processes enabled by law to deal with aspects of the criminal justice system. Non-legal measures include diversionary programs such as restorative justice.

The use of non-legal measure in achieving justice is generally seen when dealing with young offenders. It is used in an attempt to allow the rehabilitation and enable the reintegration of young offenders into society. Non-legal measures allow society to contribute to the criminal justice system, generating a sense of involvement resulting in satisfaction concerning the operation and procedures of the criminal justice system. The criminal investigation process is the process through which various law enforcement institutions investigate crimes committed in an attempt to prosecute the offenders and achieve some means of justice.

There are both legal and non-legal measures in place, which have been implemented and contribute to the effectiveness of the criminal investigation process. Police are given powers to aid in the implementation of legislation through the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) and the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW). Police have the responsibility to protect the community and enforce the law. However there has been criticism that the passing of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009 (NSW) is too harsh and provides police with powers that are too great.

As technology becomes an increasingly common medium for crime police need to adapt to greater integrate technology into their processes used to combat crime. However some forms of technological advancement have been identified as unnecessary violation of privacy, such as CCTV surveillance and DNA collection. Those arrested in the belief that they have committed a crime are generally granted bail unless there are good reasons not to do so. This shows the effectiveness of the criminal investigation process in removing those who pose a significant threat to society.

Citizens have an important role within the criminal investigation process by reporting crime. Various programs established assist police in identifying crime and help promote a sense of community participation in solving crimes. This includes the Crime Stoppers Program, which is a community-based program that was introduced into NSW in 1989. It is designed to allow the community to report information about criminal activity anonymously. Strategies need to be implemented to encourage the participation of citizens in reporting crime, therefore enabling a more effective system of crime identification in the criminal investigation process.

Through the use of both legal and non-legal measures the criminal investigation process has been able to improve its effectiveness in achieving justice. The criminal trial process allows both the defence and prosecution to provide evidence in an attempt to prove their case, establishing whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. Once formal charges have been laid against a person, a hearing or trial of the accused will need to take place in the appropriate court. There are many different courts that allow judges and magistrates to be more specialised in the matters heard in various courts, such as family or children/young offenders.

The specialisation of courts and their corresponding magistrates allows greater understanding in motive and circumstances surrounding the crime which will further heighten their ability to set an appropriate punishment that will be most effective in rehabilitating the accused. There are various rules which restrict what questions lawyers can ask and which questions must be asked by witnesses. These rules have been developed in order to try and keep the process fair to both sides and ensure consistency between trials.

The implementation of legal aid ensures that poorer offenders have access to the legal system and receive a fair trial. The measures both legal and non-legal through the criminal trial process ensure that each offender receives a fair trial in which they can be correctly convicted and effectively sentenced. Furthermore, throughout sentencing and punishment various legal and non-legal measures have been implemented to ensure that sentences for those convicted are appropriate and effective to enable rehabilitation and reintegration into society and provide the community with a sense of justice and security.

The provision of statutory and judicial guidelines means that limits are placed on a judge’s discretion when sentencing, thus ensuring sentencing consistency. These guidelines were established in relation to the case R v. Jurisic (1998). The defendant Jurisic, pleaded guilty to three charges of dangerous driving occasioning in grievous bodily harm. He was found under the influence of cocaine on one of these charges. He was sentences to 18 months home detention, lost his driver’s licence for one year and was put on a good behaviour bond for two years. This was through to be lenient and was appealed by the DPP.

The appeal was upheld and the sentence was replaced by two years imprisonment and two years disqualification of his driver’s licence. Chief Justice Spiegelman said there was a need for a system of guidelines to increase public confidence in sentencing. The Supreme Court of New South Wales then published the sentencing guidelines as a result. The criminal trial process allows for a vast range of penalty options, allowing judges and magistrates to effectively select the most appropriate to ensure the rehabilitation of the offender and create a sense of justice amongst the community.

The Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act 1999 allows the court to order that a person be discharged, provided they enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program. This is particularly effective in rehabilitating those whose crimes are arise from a severe drug or gambling addiction. It shows the community that the criminal justice system is aimed at helping those who have committed crimes to be rehabilitated in order to reintegrate into the wider community.

In conclusion, the legal and non-legal measures of the criminal justice system are effective in achieving justice as they are specialised and adaptable. When issues arise relating to the effectiveness, the state government and courts and able to quickly resolve the issue, as seen with the implementation of sentencing guidelines. The regulations and rules allow for consistency throughout the trial and sentencing process, providing the accused with a fair trial and the community with a sense of security and achievement of justice.

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