Criminal Justice System
After heavy bombardment on London by fighter plans of Germany in Second World War, someone asked Winston Churchill that would Britain live long! Churchill replied immediately that if our courts are providing justice then there is no question about existence of Britain, which they are. Similarly, in World War 1 and World War 2 where Jews were brutally killed by Nazis then some of the Jews got refuge in America. Americans do not have discrimination for any community at that time and famous scientist Einstein was one of them, which proved its worth. Provision of justice for every community is very important for any society, so it is for Britain. From last few years’ lot of questions have been raised on criminal Judiciary system in Britain.
Shami chakrabarti (Director of liberty) says
Before you decide whether the system is fit for purpose, you have to decide what that aim is. In this country, there is too much pressure on the criminal justice system because it is supposed to eradicate society’s ills. However, it is not the answer to everything; it cannot be used to overcome the mentally ill, the homeless and troubled teenagers. That is not what it is aimed for; it can never be fit for that purpose. Political leaders have created a panic about crime so the people now fear there would not be enough space in jails for all the people who are guilty of offences. They have trapped themselves in a debate where they tell the public there is nothing wrong with the system, then make more criminal laws to change it.”
Criminal Judiciary system in any part of the world is divided into three parts; law enforcement, adjudication and correction and so in the Britain. Law enforcement includes police and its accessories organization that works on capturing the offender. In Britain after passing of anti-terrorist legislation in 2006 law enforcement agencies have been empowered and they can detain suspects without a trial and can gather information from transport companies, financial institution etc.
Adjudication process refers to judging of crime. In Britain, two types of judges entail adjudication process. First type of judges is professional judges. They are barristers or passed law exams and second type of judges is justice for peace. Jps (justice for peace) are not professional judges they judge the credibility of witness and do the job of fact-finding (according to her majesty court service). Legal role of Justice for peace is to judge less serious offences and crimes and forward their report to the crown court. In the UK, level of court decides that whether a jury is to pass judgment or whether judge, magistrate or justice for peace would decide it. If the court decides to rely on jury then members from wide section of society are selected. The aim of selection of members from across the society is add perspective of every section of society and not only the judges. (The Independent, 2009)
Description of crime
Racism has cast serious concerns in Britain. For example racism complaints about police British police have doubled over the past decade from 74 in 2001-02 to 167 in 2010-11, while less than one in every 40 accused officers have faced punishment. (Press TV, 2012)
Moreover, Sir William Macpherson report in 1998 on the murder of Stephen Lawrence reveals that racism has been embedded in police department. (BBC, 2001)
There have been more and more complaints on racism by police but police denies these charges. Another report reveals that blacks are stopped six times more than white persons. Last year chaos, in which thousands come over streets to show solidarity with black teenager who was killed by police is evident of the fact that there is strong resentment in British Society. (CNN, 2012)
Apart from the police, there are also some civilians, who have committed this crime. Liam Stacey awards imprisonment for 56 days for posting offensive comments on Twitter after footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed during match. The 21-year-old Liam Stacey takes the defense that he was drunken while passing the remarks but judge remarks that you should know how to control yourself while you are drunken. (The Guardian, 2012)
Description of the process in the criminal justice system the offender would go through, beginning with arrest
Three of the police officers in London have been placed under observation for allegedly making racist comments. Scotland Yard is investigating the case, However Metropolitan police commissioner has made it clear that it would not stand by any police officer who has been involved in making racist comments.
Process followed in the Criminal Justice System would be that Scotland Yard is part of Law enforcement agency but Scotland Yard has voluntarily delivered the case to another law enforcement agency that is Independent complaints commission on Wednesday. Independent Police Commission has confirmed that investigation is going on.
After gathering sufficient evidence, commission would convict the alleged persons and put the case before adjudication process where the professional judges would decide the case.
During correction process, they may be awarded penalty for short imprisonment under British law.
Alternate to this punishment may be only disciplinary actions or acquittal from the charge. As the previous discussed report says that only one in 40 accused police officers faced punishments. There is strong evidence as discussed above that racist complaints about British police have been doubled in this decade as compare to previous decade because there are no punishments for police officers and it has been revealed by Sir William Macpherson report.
Strongest and weakest link in the Criminal Justice System
Strongest link in the British criminal Justice system is its adjudication process. Making of Jury is an excellent idea which includes members from wide section of the society so that crime is not judge from merely one angle it also includes the view point of peers and all those whose rights have been disturbed.
Weak link from my point-of-view is the imprisonment system as lot of people gets imprisonment, jails have been over crowded, and it has became difficult for the police to take care for the large number of criminals and certainly it costs more to British government.
Jackie Worall (director of policy, Nacro crime reduction charity says
“We have been warning for a long time that the increasingly punitive approach to criminal justice would push the jail population to uncontrollable levels and put at risk constructive regimes. The Government must contain the misuse of custodial sentences and order courts to exercise restraint in the use of imprisonment for less serious offenders and those on remand.”
Another thing, which has put restraints on criminal justice system, is hyperactivity of the police, which has cast doubts and fears among the minds of people, and they hesitate to cooperate.
Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson) says
“The criminal justice system has been pressurized by relentless tough rhetoric and unprecedented legislative hyperactivity. The result is increased public fear of crime and antisocial behavior, the highest levels of mass incarceration in Western Europe, the demonization of young people, a simplistic reliance on crude instruments of control, and one of the Western world’s highest rates of repeat crime.”
As we have discussed that there have been problem with more imprisonment punishments and they have been no fruitful in eliminating the crime. From my point-of-view there should be more community correction programs. There are two elementary community correction programs. In the first type of program, integrated community correction programs assisted with sentencing guidelines and judicial discretion with a wide spectrum of possible sanctions and parole and probable options. In the second type of program, some states have instituted program in which authorized officials may direct already punished offenders into alternative sanction programs and parole probable options.
Frances Crook (Director, Howard League for penal reform) says
“It isn’t fit for purpose because of the heavy reliance on ineffective responses such as prison. I would like to see the Home Secretary implement some community service – he would learn there are some really good schemes helping people to change their attitude and help the community.”
Moreover Juliet Lyon (Director of the Prison Reform Trust) says
“It makes no sense to expect overcrowded jails to cut crime when the solutions lay outside, in better parental supervision, constructive alternatives for the young, mental health care, treatment for those addicted to drugs and drink, and a reduction in homelessness, poverty and unemployment.”
As the British jails have been overloaded so judiciary should carefully give imprisonment punishments and less serious offenders should be given community-based punishments rather than being awarded punishments and purpose of any punishments should carefully. As the John Denham (Chairman Commons home affairs committee) says
“The central challenge is to rebuild public faith in community sentencing, with sentences that are clearer, and sentencing that more accurately shows the evidence on what reduces reoffending. There has been far too little emphasis about getting people into a work-type environment in prison, helping them make the transition into work in the outside world.”
BBC. (2001, MAY 7). BBCNEWS VOTE 2001. Retrieved from BBC NEWS|VOTE 2001|FACTS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/news/vote2001/hi/e
CNN. (2012, Feb 22). Cameron hosts talks on football racism. Retrieved from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/22/sport/football/uk-football-racism/index.html
Community Correction Punishments. (1996, May). California Research Bureau. Retrieved from Community Correction Punishments: http://www.library.ca.gov/crb/96/08/
Press TV. (2012, May 07). UK police racism complaints doubled. Retrieved from Press TV_UK police racism complaints doubled: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/239932.html
The Guardian. (2012, march 27). Student Jailed for Racist Fabrice Muamba Tweets. UK.
The Independent. (2006, November 30). Is the criminal justice system fair?
The Independent. (2009, September). Procedures in the criminal justice system. Retrieved from The Independent: www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/is-the-criminal-justice-system-fair-426383.html
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