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Crime is factor of life that happens without the capability of elimination. While crime can be prevented, it’s impossible that it will cease to exist. That’s where the criminal justice system comes in. In order to protect everyday citizens, a set of agencies and processes were put in place and dubbed the criminal justice system.

What Is It?

So what exactly are those agencies and processes for keeping crime in order? The criminal justice system is not one exact system, but is multiple systems all with the same goal of gaining control of crime and justice when a crime is committed. Jurisdiction can vary depending upon: county, city, state, or other governmental agencies. Each jurisdiction has different laws, policies and processes.

The two main systems are State and Federal. State criminal justice systems handle any crime committed within the state while federal criminal justice systems handle crimes committed on federal property. The criminal justice system at it’s entirety seeks to ensure offenders pay for their convictions in order to serve justice to any/all victims involved.

The Three Components

There are three components to the criminal justice system: law enforcement, prosecution and corrections.

Law enforcement officers are employed by the government and are responsible for investigating crimes in their location, protecting evidence, preventing crime and making any necessary arrests. Their duties are similar to local police, with the addition that federal agents manage federal crime.

Prosecution is where a court and judge come in for the adjudication. People in the positions of prosecutors, defense attorneys, public defenders, and judges are a few key components to how the court works.

Probation officers, parole officers and corrections officers are all part of the criminal justice system once an offender is declared guilty. A corrections officer is responsible inmates serving their sentencing in prison. Probation officers supervise offenders that serve sentencing outside of prison or jail. A person on probation or parole may not have the same legal rights as non-convicted citizens. Parole officers handle home visits and drug tests to ensure an offender is following their rulings.

The Process

If any charges are pressed against a suspected offender, a court hearing will occur. At court, the trial will determine with account of the jury, whether or not the suspected offender is guilty or not. Once an offender is declared guilty, sentencing will follow.

While there are many specifics to the actual process once a crime has been committed, prosecution, trial and post trial all dive into deep specifics. The criminal justice system serves to ensure offenders pay for their crimes, no matter how small or how heinous the crime is.