Criminal justice is the administration of justice to those who have been accused of committing crimes. It includes the crime that the accused allegedly committed, the law enforcement officers who arrested him, the judicial system that prosecutes and defends him, and how the accused is punished if found guilty. The objectives of criminal justice include reducing criminal incidents, diverting people to appropriate resources, rehabilitating offenders, preventing other crimes, and providing moral support to victims. The criminal justice system is comprised of numerous judicial structures, such as civil courts, adult criminal courts and specialized courts, such as drug courts, mental health courts and domestic violence courts.
Law enforcement agencies, the judicial system, and criminal detention and oversight agencies work together to maintain the rule of law in society. Criminal justice systems have existed in one form or another for centuries, although the forms they have adopted have changed over time. An example of criminal justice is the London Metropolitan Police, which was established in 1829 and served as a model for today's law enforcement agencies. If a defendant pleads guilty, there is no trial and the next step is to prepare for the sentencing hearing. If you feel called to pursue a rewarding career in the field of criminal justice, you can learn more about how UMass Global's undergraduate degrees in legal studies or criminal justice can help you get started on the right path. Before the judge makes the decision to grant bail, a hearing must be held on factors such as how long the defendant has lived in the area, whether he has close family members, criminal records, and any threats to the victims or witnesses in the case.
In federal criminal trials, the jury must reach a unanimous decision to convict the accused. Prosecutors represent the government while defense attorneys represent those facing criminal charges. The increase in population and crime in the late 18th and early 19th centuries made it inefficient and unsustainable for volunteer forces to patrol streets at night. This led to the formation of modern police forces paid and led by the state. The development of a modern criminal justice system was contemporary with the formation of the concept of nation-state. The Quaker movement is often credited with establishing the idea that prisons should be used to reform offenders.
The Chicago school argued that a person's social environment influences and ultimately causes criminal behavior. It emerged as an academic discipline in the 1920s with Berkeley Police Chief August Vollmer establishing a criminal justice program at University of California at Berkeley in 1916. In the 1970s, there were 729 academic criminology and criminal justice programs in United States. Whether you're enthralled by criminology, fascinated by legal system or passionate about rehabilitation of offenders, there are many things in criminal justice field that intrigue you.