Glossary of Criminal Justice Exam 1

Start Studying! Add Cards ↓

The Goals of Criminal Justice
Controlling Crime
Criminal justice system is designed to control crime by arresting, prosecuting, convicting, and punishing those who disobey the law.
Criminal law defines what is illegal and outlines rights of citizens and procedures officials must follow to achieve system’s goals
The Goals of Criminal Justice
Preventing crime
Deterrent effect of police, courts, & corrections
The Goals of Criminal Justice
Hold offenders accountable
Protect rights
Characteristics of the Criminal Justice System
Discretion: officials’ freedom to act according to their own judgment and conscience.
Allows for individualization and informality in the administration of justice
Arguments used to justify discretion
Discretion is needed because system lacks resources to treat every case the same way.
Many officials believe discretion permits them to achieve greater justice than rigid rules would produce.
Characteristics of the Criminal Justice System
Resource Dependence
Criminal justice officials must maintain good relations with those that allocate resources.
Must maintain positive images and good relations with voters.
Want positive coverage from the news media
Characteristics of the Criminal Justice System
Sequential Tasks
Nature of the system
Police must arrest before case is passed to prosecutor
Characteristics of the Criminal Justice System
Some defendant are filtered out of the system
Lack of sufficient evidence
Charges are dismissed
Jury acquits some defendants
Defer prosecution
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
Investigation – crime is reported or police witness a crime.
Arrest – physically taking a person into custody pending a court proceeding if enough evidence is available showing a crime has been committed.
Booking – fingerprinted, photographed, questioned, and placed in a lineup.
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
Charging – decision to charge is crucial because it sets in motion the adjudication of the case.
Initial appearance – given formal notice of charges, advised of rights, possibly post bail.
Preliminary hearing/grand jury – does probable cause exist to proceed?
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
Indictment/information – a document returned by a grand jury as a “true bill” charging an individual with a specific crime on the basis of a determination of probable cause as presented by a prosecuting attorney.
Arraignment – defendant has opportunity to enter a plea to the charges.
Trial – Only about 10-15% of cases go to trial and 5% are heard by juries.
Sentencing – imposing punishment suitable to the offender and the offense within limits of the law.
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
Appeal – those found guilty can appeal conviction to a higher court.
Corrections – the court’s sentence is carried out by the correctional subsystem.
Release – may occur when offender has served full sentence imposed by the court or paroled to the community.
The Criminal Justice Wedding Cake
layer 1
Layer I – This layer consists of “celebrated” cases
These cases receive high publicity
Involve the full process, including a trial
Many appeals
Embody the ideal of “adversarial system”
The Criminal Justice Wedding Cake
layer 2
Layer II – Comprised of serious felonies
Violent crimes committed by repeat offenders
Tough sentences
The Criminal Justice Wedding Cake
layer 3
Layer III – Less serious offenses committed by less serious offenders
The Criminal Justice Wedding Cake
layer 4
Layer IV – Consists of misdemeanors; 90% of all cases fall into this category
Crime Control Model
assumes freedom is so important that every effort must be made to repress crime
Emphasizes efficiency, speed, finality
Goal of high rate of apprehension of offenders
Goal of high rate of conviction and disposition of cases
Due Process Model
assumes freedom is so important that every effort must be made to ensure criminal justice decisions are based on reliable information
Emphasizes adversarial process
Rights of defendants should be protected
Formal decision-making procedures.
a difference between groups than can be explained by legitimate factors.
occurs when groups are differentially treated without regard to their behavior or qualifications.
mala in se
crimes that are wrong in themselves
mala prohibita
crimes because they are prohibited by the government, not because they are wrong in themselves.
Visible crime or “street crime”
Violent crimes – acts against people in which death or physical injury results
Property crimes – acts that threaten property held by individuals or the state
Public order crimes – acts that threaten the general well-being of society and challenge accepted moral principles
Occupational Crime
committed in the context of a legal business or profession.
Cost businesses $40 billion annually
Often viewed as shrewd business practices rather than illegal acts
Organized Crime
refers to a framework within which criminal acts are committed rather than acts themselves
Organized Crime
A crime syndicate has an organizational structure, rules, a division of labor, and capacity for ruthless violence
Provide goods and services
Minimum risk, maximum profit
Money laundering
Traditional, Mafia
New and emerging organized crime groups
Crimes Without Victims
willing and private exchange of goods or services in strong demand, but are illegal
Drug sales
Society as a whole is harmed because the moral fabric of the community is threatened
War on Drugs
Political Crime
criminal acts either by the government or against the government for ideological purposes
These criminals believe they are following a morality above the law
World Trade Center and Oklahoma City Bombings
involve the use of computers and Internet to commit crime
Steal information, resources, or funds
Child pornography
Global nature of the Internet and challenges to law enforcement
Methods for investigating computer crime
Classical School
views behavior as stemming from free will, demands responsibility and stresses need for severe punishment to deter others
Neoclassical criminology
emerged in 1980's same as classical need to be tough on crime
Positivist criminology
mid 19th century; use of science to study body, mind, and environment of offender
Positivist Con't
Human behavior controlled by physical, mental & social factors, not free will
Criminals are different from noncriminals
Science can be used to discover causes of crime and to treat
Biological Explanations
Cesare Lombroso believed some people are at a more primitive state of evolution, thus born criminal
Psychological Explanations
Sigmund Freud proposed psychoanalytic theory that crime is caused by unconscious forces and drives.
Struggle among id, ego, and superego
Sociological Explanations
focus on the way that belonging to social groups shapes people’s behavior
Social structure theories
suggest criminal behavior is related to social class.
Robert Merton – concept of “anomie” (breakdown in and disappearance of rules of social behavior)
Contemporary theories
draw on social structure concepts and anomie theory
Negative relationships lead to negative emotions which are expressed through crime and delinquency
Social Process Theories
assume any person has potential to become a criminal depending on (1) influences that impel one toward or away from crime (2) how one is regarded by others
Learning theory
criminal behavior is learned
• Edwin Sutherland, Differential Association theory
Control theory
criminal behavior occurs when social bonds are weak or broken
Labeling theory
causes of criminal behavior found in social process that labels certain acts as criminal or deviant
• Howard Becker
• Turning points in life such as marriage or
employment may explain why some cease
criminal activity
Social Conflict Theories
assume criminal law and criminal justice system are way to control the poor and the have-nots.
Critical, radical, or Marxist criminologists
Hostility is factor of criminal behavior

Add Cards

You must Login or Register to add cards