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Criminal Justice Trends CJA/484 September 9, 2013 Ronald Alter

Criminal Justice Trends


The issue of crime in the United States has been an ongoing dilemma since the first settlers came to America. Crime is still an obstacle today and continues to be a growing concern every year. Today, there are three main components in the criminal justice field that continually work to keep crime rates at a minimum, which include law enforcement, courts, and corrections. However, as the technology continues to become more advanced, new crime trends surface and effect the criminal justice system. This narrative will discuss past, present, and future trends of the corrections component of the criminal justice system and explain how the budgetary and managerial will impact future trends of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system and society has to work as a unit to have a positive impact on lowering the issues of crime in America. Within the criminal justice system, there are three components that function together to bring down criminals. The first component is the police or law enforcement. Police officers, the first to hear about the crime, perform the investigating, collecting evidence, filing police reports, questioning, and making the arrest of the suspect. Police officers are the first line of defense to stop crime or arrest the person who committed the crime at hand. The second component is the courts. In the United States, we have state and federal courts. The state court system has been active in the United States since the first settlers came to America. The federal court system did not become active until the creation of the U.S. Constitution. One of the most important structures of the courts in the United States is the dual court structure. The dual court system allows the federal government limited access into each states judicial matters and state law cannot involve them in the federal judicial system, unless there in a conflict at the state or federal levels. The courts set the punishment for each person found guilty of committing a crime. The third component is corrections. Within corrections are prisons, jails, probation, and parole. The purpose of corrections is to ensure each person sentenced to a crime, fulfills his or her punishment. Each component is a part in the criminal justice system and is in place to protect society from

CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRENDS criminals. Criminal justice system has a systematic procedure in place to ensure each component performs his or her job in a timely and accurate manner. Corrections: Past In the early years as America was a British colony and lived under the British laws. Punishment was brutal and physical process in which corporal punishment and death was used more than

incarceration. After the American Revolution punishment for crimes was embrace with a more rational and humanistic approach. Developing the Pennsylvania and Auburn systems place where prisoners could reflect on their offenses and become penitent and thus undergo reformation. Under this system, inmates worked in workshops during the day and they were kept apart during the night time (Marcos L. Misis, 2011). When penitentiaries were created their purpose was civil and spiritual. Inmates were put in these places to express regret for the wrongdoing he or she had done. According to Foster (2006), the principal goal of the penitentiary was to achieve the kind of spiritual transformation in a criminal being that was associated with the religious beings of the medieval monastery (p. 22). Ideally, these institutions were considered liberal reforms during a time when harsh physical punishment and incarceration in filthy holding facilities were the norm. The two styles of correctional institutions were the Pennsylvania system and the Auburn system. The reform of the institutional was so that prison could serve as a suitable alternative to physical punishment. The Pennsylvania system detained offenders awaiting punishment or working on their sentence for their crimes in one room cell. The Auburn system was congregate system in which inmates worked and ate in groups. In its origins, the penitentiary was recommended for its humane, reformative purpose; overtime, as its purpose came to be defined as housing convicts the dregs of society the emphasis shifted from goals to means to cheapness, productivity, and efficient management (Foster, (2006), p. 27).


Corrections, similar the law enforcement agencies and court systems, had to evolve into much more than what they were in the early days of the United States. Most of the eighteenth century prisons were nothing more than large holding units. These units held numerous people at the same time. Age, sex, and crime were not a factor in who was placed in the same cell together. It did not matter if a petty thief and murderer where in the same cell. All problems between the criminals were fought behind locked doors. It was not uncommon for criminals to endure physical punishment and mutilation by prison guards or overseers. Today, however, this is not the case. Today we have numerous buildings that house criminals. There are jails and prisons, which house criminals either for a brief or long period. There are also alternative sentences to jail or prison time depending on the crime that was committed. Probation is one of the alternatives. Parole is an alternative. The difference between probation and parole is parole is given to criminals that were released from jail or prison and probation is given to a non-violent criminal instead of jail time. The first penitentiary was built in Pennsylvania. The Eastern State Penitentiary was a massive new structure which opened in 1829 and became one of the most expensive American buildings of its day, and one of the most famous prisons in the world. Corrections: Future Within the corrections system there are numerous trends that affect the system and society. Penal labor is looked upon as a form of punishment, and the Correctional Association changed the program to reflect more of a reform and rehabilitation approach. The trend to prison labor has changed, by creating work release, skill learning projects, and non- institutional methods of supervising and helping criminals. Over the next twenty years, prisons would offer an unprecedented number of programs designed to change the behavior of men and women in prison to turn law-breaking behavior into lawabiding behavior (Foster, (2006), p. 51). Prison industry has developed to what it is today through the

CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRENDS course of the congregate system. Prison reform of prisoners is done through the system of regimentation and discipline.

Another trend in the correction system as well as the criminal justice system is cybercrime and how to punish individuals who commit these crimes. With the advancement in technology, criminals have found new ways to commit crimes without leaving their houses or workplace. Cyber-criminals mainly steal money through online banking by illegally transferring money. Identity theft is an ongoing problem in the United States. Identity theft is not the only Internet crime committed. Some other cyber crimes are cyber-bullying and Internet predators. With the world leading to cyber awareness and allowing computer to control many aspects of life, hacking computers will be a major problem for years to come. Because of the new and recent trends that have been effecting corrections and society, everyone needs to work together to stop this form of crime. Considering punishment for cybercrime proves to be a challenge for the entire criminal justice system. A challenge trend facing corrections in the United States is it reducing workforce. The 21st century correctional system has a workforce shortage and problems recruiting and maintaining qualified agents. Current nationwide projections estimate that in the next decade, the U.S. will need an additional 490,000 correctional officer to fill new positions required by the growth in the prison population and to replace correctional officers who terminate employment. Based on these trends, Carroll and Moss predict that corrections will be second to the health care profession on the list of fields that are most likely to be affected by an upcoming shortage of workers (Sumter, 2008, p. 100). The growth of the correctional agencies has to look for strong characteristics in the individuals they hire for this profession. Corrections: Budgetary and Managerial Operating with a limited budget, financial resources, and operational resources, correctional

CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRENDS agencies need to develop and use creative methods to address future trends and challenges in this industry. Establishing strong community corrections can be very effective when conducted properly, and provided to the right prisoners. As a form of rehabilitation it allows prisoners to receive the help needed to avoid criminal behavior, fight addictions, and transition back into the community after incarceration. With crime rates increasing around the world, and the amount of repeat offenders increasing yearly the effectiveness of all community programs is hard to determine. To enhance these programs funding is necessary, which is one issue surrounding all community correction programs today. Conclusion

The correction system has come to be viewed as places for control, incapacitation, and punishment, instead of sites for rehabilitation and reform. The criminal justice system as a whole has to maintain the protection of society from criminals. With the advancement in technology, the criminal justice system has to learn new ways to enforce laws and ensure criminals pay for the crimes he or she commits. The criminal justice system must continue to grow and change along with the population and technology. Crimes in the United States are still a major problem. Currently, the criminal justice system has advanced to combat crimes such as the war on drugs, terrorism, and organized crime. Cybercrimes, being the newest form of crime, are fast becoming a huge problem for the criminal justice system. Community corrections have been around for many years, and are constantly improving to better assist the criminal justice system. While various programs are not fully accepted by communities because of their safety it does have the potential to help transition prisoners back into society. With the different ethnic groups living in the United States, all components of the criminal justice system must overcome the barriers to protect every person in society.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE TRENDS References Marcos L. Misis. (2011). HISTORY OF CORRECTIONS IN AMERICA. Retrieved from Marcos L. Misis, CJ 352 website. Foster, B. (2006). Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Sumter, M. (2008, August). The correctional work force faces challenges in the 21st Century. Corrections Today, 70(4), 100. Eastern State Penitentiary,, Retrieved 30 November 2012