Criminal justice system

Posted by Winnie Melda on February 20th, 2019


The United States (US) criminal justice system is partly a system because it incorporates several smaller systems within it (Jones & Bartlett Learning, n.d). For instance, the federal government has one criminal justice system; each state has its criminal justice system, and every country, as well as a municipality, has their criminal justice systems. All the criminal justice systems work together in coordination to ensure uniformity in the application of the laws of prosecutions, charges, evidence gathering, representation in court, sentencing of individuals and imprisonment. The US criminal justice system, therefore, consists of many systems that involve a series of event and stages that are fairly the same from one jurisdiction to another. There is the following of due process of the law in carrying out the investigations and other activities regarding the application of the law. The criminal justice has some strength like ensuring fair trials, offering people the opportunity to appeal to higher authorities among others (Jones & Bartlett Learning, n.d) as discussed below. There are also some weaknesses such as racial bias prevalent in the US criminal justice system

Strengths of American criminal justice system

Presumption of innocence

The American criminal justice system provides that individuals are guilty until proved guilty. It also stipulates that it is illegal to deprive an individual of his property, life, liberty, etc. without due process of the law.  One cannot convict anybody of any criminal offense without the proving of the charges without any reasonable doubt (, 2015).

Evidence gathering

The burden of gathering evidence of convicted individuals also remains on the law enforcement.  There are various protections that prevent the state from forcing an individual to assist in his prosecution.  For instance, the fifth amendment to the Constitution has it that the criminal justice system cannot force a person to testify against himself/herself.


The state has much power as well as money; so there were precautions taken to ensure that there is no overwhelming of a person with that power (Jones & Bartlett Learning, n.d). The law provides that all defendants have the right to legal representation.  The defendants also have the right to appeal if they deem it that their trial was not fair or if they find new information that is helpful; in defending themselves.


The greatest protection offered by the criminal justice system to individuals is people. Criminal charges that are serious require a jury who should be unanimous in determining the allegations or charges against any reasonable doubt. There is also great discretion to the judges when it comes to trial and sentencing of individuals.

Controlling and preventing crime

With US criminal justice system is doing much to ensure it curtails crimes completely, and so it includes several events from arrest to incarceration. The sentences for various crimes make the criminals fear committing crimes. The criminal justice system is also vigilant to achieving justice and expressing the moral values of the nation.


The US criminal justice system can contain the issues of racial bias so that there will be no complaints about the issue. The state can make strict laws aimed at prosecuting and judging individuals found to violate the human rights requirements. The US criminal justice also can make uniform all the systems in the application of the law because there is some diversity in the various systems of different countries. The criminal justice also can have more strict laws against the crimes committed to ensuring that there fair prosecution and sentencing process. The strict measures will also ensure that there is a reduction of the crimes committed, especially the serious crimes.

Weaknesses of US criminal justice system


It is overwhelming of the criminal justice with the high volume of cases that requires handling, especially in big cities. Because of time pressure, an individual’s public defenders may not find enough time to prepare to represent the Individual’s interests. The judges’ rulings may also be arbitrary as they deal with large volumes of cases waiting a limited time.

Socioeconomic Bias

The US criminal justice system has a bias against individuals of lower economic status. Jeffrey argues in his 2006 book that the current system has a significant bias against the poor people. He also points out that the crimes committed by the poor people have greater harshness in punishing them and the poor face longer imprisonment compared to the corporate or executive criminals (Reiman, 2006).

Racial bias

Research also has it that there is the biased treatment of the nonwhite defendants by the criminal justice system (Reiman, 2006). The identification of that racial bias was in the year 2000 in a report issued by the National Institute of Corrections.  That report indicates that the treatment of the black and the Latino individuals by the United States courts and police authorities has a massive and pervasive bias.


Jones & Bartlett Learning (n.d). Crime and justice in American society. 

Reiman, J. (2006). Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice. (8th Ed.).

Leadership conference Educational Fund (2015). 

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in custom essay paper writing if you need a similar paper you can place your order from custom research paper services.

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Winnie Melda

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Winnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
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