The field of the criminal justice system

The role of the police

Siegel presents the role of the police in law enforcement. The police officials are in charge of peacekeeping, thwarting potential criminals and arresting lawbreakers. The modern police role consists of preventing delinquencies and controlling juvenile offenders from the criminal justice system to . Police may use force to accomplish their tasks. However, studies show that nine out of ten people who came into contact with the police felt that the police acted properly. The concepts of community policing (COP) and problem-oriented policing are the new ways of law enforcement methods the police use in . The approaches are proactive rather than reactive and try to prevent crime before they occur. Though, there is no of their success both parties praise them as effective models (Siegel 386).

The court system

The chapter attempts to familiarize the readers with the structure and function of the criminal court system. Siegel presents the court system as a complex social agency with independent but interrelated subsystems. This is where the vital part of . The process relies upon a precise rule of law in delivering justice. The prosecutor has the discretion to ensure that the case must haveconvertibilityi.e. must stand a better chance of resulting in conviction. The court system creates the adversary system whereby the prosecutor and defense attorney are opponents (Siegel 386).

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The correctional system

The chapter covers essential elements and institutions of the correctional system. The system put on convicts. Correctional system care given to the convict ranges from monitoring in the community to solitary confinement in maximum-security jails. This depends on the seriousness of the offense and the individual needs of the convict. The elements under the correctional system include probation whereby an offender remains in the community under supervision and court conditions. Offenders with serious crimes remain in prisons or penitentiaries in serving their terms. Occasionally, some inmates may find their way back to the community before the expiry of their jail term via parole (Siegel 390).

Stages of the criminal justice system

Siegel gives step-to-step processes of formal justice. These processes fall under initial investigations, trial, sentencing and appeal. There are fifteen stages, each of which is a decision point with its effects on the process, defendant, and society. These stages include initial contact, investigation, arrest and custody as the felony or police process. The court process consists of charging, hearing and arraignment, bail or detention, plea negotiation, trial or adjudication, and sentencing. Finally, the correctional process entails correction, release decisions and post-release (Siegel 394).

The system as a funnel

The criminal justice system works like an assembly line. Some experts argue that due to hasty manner of presenting justice, an innocent person may suffer and a dangerous person be released back into society. The system acts as a funnel. Most people who commit crimes escape detection. People who do not escape only a small number will face trial, conviction, and sentence.


Discretion plays a crucial role in the system, in every stage whereby the responsible officer decides whether to proceed with the case or abandon it. Discretion can change the status of an individual going through the process from an accused, defendant, convict, inmate to ex-con. Occasionally, the system works together to grant discretions (Siegel 398).

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