Comptemporary Issues In Criminal Justice

Crime and the Media
A lot of people blame the media for violence and crime. They say that making movies showing a lot of violence and drug use causes teenagers to want to act like the people on the movies. I do not think

that the media is the cause of crime. In most of the movies they make, the bad guy usually ends up dead or in jail. The movies are actually teaching children that there are consequences to crime and that no one gets away with crime.

Those who choose to blame the media for the raise in crime rates suggest that due to the amount of television watched by juveniles, it will cause them to become criminals.

Babybag.com states that the average American child will witness over 200,000 acts of violence on television including 16,000 murders before age 18. Babybag.com also did a poll to parents and when they were asked to select measures which would reduce violent crime “a lot,” Americans chose restrictions on television violence more often than gun control.

All movies that contain extreme violence are rated R and a child should not be allowed to see the movie. Movies shown on television are also rated. It seems that the problem is not with the type of movies that are made but the problem is with the parents who allow their children to watch violent movies. People fail to see that violence is not caused by the media it is caused by people. It’s the jealousy, the insults, and the striving to fit into society that causes all the crime. If the parents would raise their children to understand that violence is not the way to handle a situation there might be less crime. When a child does get into trouble the parent should blame themselves and not the media for the way their child was raised. I this world it has become so much easier to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for your own mistakes.

The Media Should be Used to Fight Crime

I think that using the media to fight crime was an excellent idea. Shows like America’s Most Wanted have helped to hunt down criminals for decades. With out shows like this there would still be a lot of criminals on the loose.

There are people who think that shows like these are only in it for the money. Although they do make a lot of money; they also spend a lot of money tracking down criminals. A lot of people do not believe in shows like AMW. I have heard several people say that they are just for show; the crimes do not really exist and they are all actors. It is true they use actor to replay the crime. However, the crime is real. The things they show have really happened and the criminals they show are really out there.

There are different ways the media can be used to fight crime. AMW is a great show and a great start at stopping national crime. The local news station also helps to deter crime and find criminals. There are people who rob stores all the time and think that they got away with it. What they do not realize is that they are now on surveillance cameras and that video has been shown on every news station in the surrounding areas.

If it was not for the media and crime prevention strategies like Crime stoppers with McGruff the dog, AMW, the news, and local newspapers we would not have a clue when a dangerous person was around us. With out the media I believe that more than 50% of all criminals would still be free instead of locked up like they need to be. I am personally grateful that the media cares enough to inform us of what is going on in the world.

Police Brutality is Not a Problem

Police brutality has become a serious problem in today’s world. A police officers job is to “Protect and Serve” instead they abuse and neglect. There must be something in the badge that gives him a super power because as soon as the badge goes on he begins to believe he is invincible and he has the all time power of God.

Police brutality is not something that just happened overnight. It dates back as far as the Biblical days. The New Testament tells of several incidents in which the Roman Guards inflicted violence on many of the new Christians. (Wikipedia 2007 par. 3) Most modern day police did not even exist until the 19th century and even then police brutality was very frequent.

Police brutality has also been brought in to the 20th century. Debating Crime tells of the Rodney King story. In this incident several white officers beat up a black man. One of the officers actually stated “I was scared to death that if this guy got back up, he was going to take my gun away from me” (Debating Crime). When you have several trained officers and one criminal it is very doubtful that the one is going to overwhelm the several. Officials claimed that the police were innocent and they did the right thing.

There are some people who do not believe that police brutality is a problem. They say that officers have to use force to get their point across. Others say that force is used only when necessary. This was the case in the King incident.

Has this world became so bad that the people we trust to protect us should now be the people we fear the most. Something needs to be done to officers who use excessive force. If a citizen beat someone with a club or taser them with a gun for no necessary reason they would go to jail. Maybe a few officers should spend a day or two in jail and be taught a lesson.

Abolish the Death Penalty

The death penalty is usually what people receive as punishment for murder. Those who believe in the death penalty believe that “an eye for an eye” is the proper punishment. They think that death deserves death. The debate over the death penalty has been going on for decades and still not everyone can agree on it morality.

In John Kavanaugh’s essay “Capital Punishment is Unjust”, Kavanaugh discusses different reasons that we as a society may have for legally killing people by means of the death penalty. He begins by depersonalizing the human saying that those who believe in the death penalty do not value a person as being expendable. They only think of the person as a murderer or other form of criminal.

I think that the death penalty should be abolished. The death penalty is immoral because of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. No one has the right to play God and decide who gets to die and when they get to die. No human has the right to take another humans life.

The death penalty does not deter criminal behavior because they are not given the chance to rehabilitate. The system is to give a person the chance to rehabilitate before resulting to such tactics as killing a person. When most people commit a crime they are thinking that they will not get caught. They are not sitting around thinking” If I kill my wife for cheating I will be put to death for her murder”.

Instead of playing God by trying to decide who dies, when they die, and what they die for our government should be able to come up with an alternative solution. The families of victims should be more open to rehabilitating the murderer than killing him. Killing the murderer and inflicting pain on his family does not bring back the victim. In these situations all we as a society should hope for is that this person finds God and changes his life. No one expects the victim’s family to forgive or forget what happened to them. We should hope that their heart is big enough to pray for the sinner.

The Criminal Justice System Discriminates Against Minorities

I believe the criminal justice system is very discriminatory when it comes to minorities. Most people say that the Justice system does not discriminate it just so happens that minorities are the only ones who get in trouble. When speaking of minorities we are not only speaking of just race. Minority is defined by Webster’s dictionary as” a part of the population that differs from others in race, religion, or social class”

When it comes to cases like the O.J. Simpson trial; if that had of been a poor white man or a poor black man that committed the same crime in the same manner he would have been charged with murder. IN the Rodney King case, if it would have been a white man he would have never been beaten. One of the officers in the King case said “I was scared to death that if this guy got back up, he was going to take my gun away from me” (Debating Crime). The only thing he was scared of was the fact that Rodney King was black.

When it comes to minority cases and the court system the minorities usually end up in jail. If a rich man and a poor man are charged with the same crime, they will end up with different punishments. Due to the process and costs of the court the poor man usually can not afford to take off of work while he goes to trial so he gets a public defender to take a plea for him. He can not afford a good lawyer that can fight his case for him. IN return he usually gets jail time. The white man can afford to take off of work for court and pay his attorney enough money to pay off the judge so he does not get any jail time. It is rare that the rich man get any thing more than a small fine.

Parole Should Not be Abolished

There are several issues in the debate of whether or not to abolish parole. The Lectric Law Library defines Parole as “any form of release of an offender from imprisonment to the community subject to conditions imposed by the releasing authority and to its supervision.”

If the states decide to keep parole then it gives the prisoners a second chance. There are some people who can be rehabilitated and parole gives them that chance. If they can show good behavior while in prison who is to say that can not continue that good behavior outside of the prison? Free Law suggests that sentencing should be “based on the charges a person is convicted of, and the evidence against them. Each prisoner should be assigned a definite term of imprisonment and a “discharge code”. This sounds like a good idea.

If parole is abolished then it will possibly leads to prison overcrowding. If they keep everyone in prison and they add more on a daily basis soon all the prisons will be over crowded and there will be dangerous criminals on the street because there is not room to house them in the prison.

There are already 15 states that have abolished parole boards (NCPA, 2007). These states believe that the criminal should have to serve his full sentence or else there would be no point in the “Truth in Sentencing” law. It has also come to the attention of these states that the parole boards are a “Failure” (NCPA 2007). They let people out on parole based on their behavior on the inside and when they get out then they repeat the same crime again.

It is up to each state as to how they decide on this issue. In my opinion I would like to keep parole so that the good people have a chance to live their life. There is always going to be a bad apple in the bunch. We should not punish them all just because of one. Everybody deserves a second chance.

U.S. Patriot Act

The U.S Patriot act does not infringe on our civil liberties. It was simply made to make things safer for the citizens of the United States against terrorist attacks. Those who are against the USA Patriot Act, say that it is violation of the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment gives us the right to trial, notice of accusation, and the right to legal counsel. Another controversial aspect of the Patriot Act is the search and seizure process. The USA Patriot Act allows law enforcement agencies to delay giving notice when they conduct a search. (USA Patriot Act, 2001) The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires a warrant and notice to the person before the search is conducted. The Patriot Act is considered to be a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. They feel that by allowing wire taps and such then they are invading their privacy.

The final aspect of the Patriot Act deals with the rights of public library users. Those who are against the Patriot Act believe that it endangers the privacy rights of library users by allowing electronic surveillance on library servers and sign-up lists. The American Association of Research Libraries states that the legislation “threatens the rights of the public and undermines the confidentiality that is crucial for the free flow of information needed for the provision of library services.”

I support the Patriot Act and in response to the accusations of the non- supporters I say that it is important to be able to have wire taps because most terrorist are technologically sophisticated. My theory is that if people are not doing anything wrong then why are they worried about what the government finds? Personally I had much rather them investigate and clear me as a suspect than to keep thinking I did something wrong when I did not.

A Decentralized System is Better Than a Centralized System

I think that a decentralized system with deeper community connections would be better in helping the U.S. operate. When it comes to issues such as border patrol and helping to protect the citizens, it would be better to have more people on the job.(Defending the Homeland) Homeland Security does a good job but they just do not have the man power to save the world. It is obvious that we need more and better people running border patrol. Most terrorist are already in the U.S. because we let them come in. We have no one to blame but our government. There needs to be more people on the job so that we can better analyze the people who want to cross our borders.

When it comes to analyzing threats there needs to be more than one set of people on the job. One person might see a bomb threat as just a joke where another person would already know how serious it is. The more people who play the game the more points they can earn. Instead of having one unit that “knows it all”. Different units can learn from each other.

In the event that we have a national disaster the more people there are to help the better off we are. When 9-11 happened we had offers and fireman from every city and state pitch in and help. It made things go a lot quicker than if we just had one unit working on it. During evacuations, things would run smoother if there were small and big units working together to get the citizens out of harms way.

References
Baby bag (2007) Facts about media violence and effects on the American family.
Retrieved on November 16, 2007 from http://www.babybag.com/articles/amaviol.htm
Debating Crime Part III debating the limits of police power (2001) Wadsworth
Wikipedia (2007) . Police Brutality retrieved on October 4, 2007 from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_brutality
Free Law Answer (2007 October 13) Should parole be abolished. Retrieved on October 25, 2007
From www.freelawanswer.com/law/4103-law-1.html
Kavanaugh, J. (2004) Capitol Punishment Is Unjust. Opposing Viewpoints. Retrieved September
23 2007 from .
Lectric Law Library (2007) Parole. Retrieved on October 24, 2007 from
http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/p005.htm
Minow, M. (2002). The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet
Terminals. Retrieved April 12, 2004, from http://www.llrx.net/usapatriotact.htm
NCPA (2007) Fifteen States Abolish Parole. National Center for Policy Analysis Retrieved on
October 25, 2007 from http://www.ncpa.org/pi/crime/pd011399h.html

USA Patriot Act. (2005, April 29). Issues & Controversies on File. Retrieved November 15, 2007 from FACTS.com database.
Wadsworth/Thomson (2005) Defending the Homeland: Taking the offense. Retrieved from Axia College database on October 25, 2007
Webster’s Vest pocket dictionary (1981) Springfield, MA; Merriam-Webster

Wikipedia (2007) . Police Brutality retrieved on October 4, 2007 from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_brutality

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