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The courts retooled by a generation of conservative judicial appointments and crazed case law now function as social abettors, in which the poor and the dark skinned are shunted off to a concrete hell with industrial efficiency. Left behind are broken families, more addiction, more disease, more illiteracy, and thus a more docile society" (Parenti, 2001).
There are different changes being made in the system to reflect new and evolving values. For example, recommendations have been made that all police interrogations be video taped, so that juries have access to the process of confession and not just a typed end-product. This way police can ensure the values of integrity in the confession process. The increasing use of DNA testing, where possible, is also a way of helping to ensure that only the guilty are punished and justice is upheld.
The main purpose of police department is to provide services to the public or the people of the community. So, the main obligation of the police department is to not only respect, but also protects the rights guaranteed to each citizen by constitution. The set of values are usually a springboard in fulfilling the expectations of the public of the community. The contact and interaction with the community is being given tremendous importance in different states all across United States now.
Prisons are small towns unto themselves that carry not just the prisoners of the state they are working in but at times prisoners from other sates are also brought in such prisons. Prisons are considered as central social institutions but values system has not been strong in such facilities. Human rights violations have resulted in these facilities due to this problem.
Private prisons are also in crisis and have been losing money. Service contracts with the private sector have increased over the years in the United States particularly if we consider the case of corrections departments. Various factors such as shortage of funds, cures for the imperfections in the public correctional systems etc. are considered in triggering this change. It is argued that if government cannot provide such services cheaply then private firms can be given this function and responsibility but the issue is not very simple as there are many policy and law issues.
Anti-crime policies are generally not based on values. Humane impulse or careful analysis is most likely to be absent from the system, rules and procedures. In prison corrections policies and management in particular, there is less interest in what is correct or even in what works than in what sounds good. Over the years we have heard various vicious and bloody prison riots happening in the correction centers in U.S..
Some correction facilities are adopting different values to bring changes into their organizational structures. They are giving importance to not just the containment of crime and criminals but also on their rehabilitation. When there are many horror stories related to correctional facilities there are also examples of reforms and change.
An example of Santa Cruz County's juvenile facilities is given in this area. Previously, the same facility was not functioning well but change in management and adoption of some important values the alternative corrections programs have started. Changing how things are done brought a sea change in the organizations approach. "John Rhoads came to head the department in 1997. A former deputy probation chief in Sacramento, Rhoads had been part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation juvenile-justice reform initiative there. 'John brought these tools to help our jurisdiction reduce reliance on detention'. 'The first thing we did was to develop an objective screening process at the front door.' That meant that when police brought a young offender in, probation officers would use a set of objective criteria to determine if he or she was a threat to public safety or would skip out on his or her court date. Those at high risk, such as violent offenders and teens with prior arrest records, were locked up. Those deemed 'medium risk' was sent home with electronic monitoring, receiving daily visits from probation officers" (Townsend, 2005).
Generally, justice system practitioners and the concerned organizations lack a clearly defined framework of values within which the topic of crime prevention can be pursued. The need of the day is a new and improved criminal justice system with values inculcated in it. It is absolutely necessary that ethical standards of conduct are set by all organizations in the justice system. The mission, vision, values and guiding principles should be given due importance as even minor negligence with respect to the responsibilities could cause tremendous harm to not just the repute of the organization but also to peace and harmony in the society. Police, courts, prisons and even non-governmental organizations in the justice system are not perfect but they should strive towards perfection. Many changes are taking place in different organization but the pace is still not good enough attain the level of perfection. Values can help in bringing the changes fast in the system.
Parenti, C. (July 2001). The "New" Criminal Justice System: State Repression from 1968 to 2001. Monthly Review. 539(3): 19.
Platt, a. (2001). Social Insecurity: The Transformation of American Criminal Justice, 1965 -- 2000. Social Justice. 28(1): 138.
Wright, K. (1999). Leadership Is the Key to Ethical Practice in Criminal Justice Agencies. Criminal Justice Ethics. 18(2): 2.
Townsend, P. (September 2005). Detention Redemption: In One California County, Progressive Leaders and Law-Enforcement Officials Are Transforming a Troubled Juvenile-Justice System. The American Prospect. 16(9): 20+.
Principles of Good Policing: Avoiding Violence between Police and Citizens' (September 2003). Retrieved on February 13, 2007 at http://www.usdoj.gov/crs/pubs/principlesofgoodpolicingfinal092003.htm
Justice System Organizations. Retrieved on February 13, 2007 at http://www.solgen.gov.ab.ca/organization/justice_system.aspx
Core Values. Retrieved on February 13, 2007 at http://www.npb-cnlc.gc.ca/about/corev_e.htm
Edelman, S. & Rowe, W. (1983). Crime Prevention from the Justice System Perspective: a Conceptual and Planning…[continue]
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