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Unformatted text preview: CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2005/2006 The Aims and Values of Criminal Justice Sanders and Young, Criminal Justice (2 nd Ed) i) Nature of Criminal Justice -Composed of police; prosecutors; courts; prisons; defence lawyers ‘The criminal justice system (CJS) is a complex social institution which regulates potential, alleged and actual criminal activities w/i procedural limits, supposed to protect citizens from wrongful treatment and wrongful conviction.’ However!-No social institution entirely self contained: each affects and is affected by other institutions: a Education b Politics c Government d Culture e Economics f Advances in criminology, psychology and sociology -Complex nature also derives from fact specific events or developments w/i them ‘usually have a plurality of causes which interact to shape their final form, a plurality of effects and a plurality of meanings which will vary with the actors and audiences involved.’ eg. ‘causes’ of an arrest Note!-‘Criminal justice’ indicates concern with ‘sub institutions’ and practices charged with regulating criminal behaviour , justly – but implied aims problematic ii Criminal Law and Criminal Behaviour -Criminal law represents and reflects socially determined judgments that some forms of behaviour should be authoritatively proscribed [as per HLA Hart] -That which is defined as ‘criminal’ will vary i From society to society; and ii Across time Thus!-There is nothing inevitable about what is and what is not criminal -Decisions about what should be criminalised sometimes principled and consensual; more often products of historical accident, political and administrative expedience 1 Fundamental problem…-Criminal law often responded to differently: one person’s public disorder is another’s youthful high spirits -Since criminal laws and perceptions of criminality are social constructs it is not surprising that much criminal justice actively reflects the interests of powerful groups and actors -Not surprising therefore more criminal acts and resources aimed at harmful behaviour by individuals than harmful corporate activity Thus!-Those is power generally find it politic to govern primarily by consent rather than by force, especially in a democracy based on universal suffrage -Consequence is that it is important that the criminal law is seen as being in the interests of at least the majority of the electorate However!-In a society where power, status and wealth are unequally distributed, much criminal justice activity will compound wider social divisions at the same time as important social values are upheld For example…-Prosecution of poor shoplifter upholds value of private property and reinforces poverty Thus… ‘The enforcement of the criminal law upholds social order for the benefit of all, reinforces a hierarchical form of social order which benefits some more than others, and in an unequal society, is bound to be morally problematic.’ iii Justice of Process and Justice of Outcome...
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- Fall '08
- Criminal Justice, criminal law, CJS