The future of the criminal justice process

The future of the criminal justice process

The criminal justice system is changing more quickly than ever before. What was once a slow evolution based on experimentation and innovation has turned into a dynamic and proactive attempt to contain and suppress criminal behavior that was almost unthinkable in years past. The future of the criminal justice system is likely to pivot around several key areas. These are technology, demographic changes, leadership and management, changing crime and law and policing practices.

Speculating about the future of the criminal justice system is risky because current conditions can change rapidly. With regards to demographic changes, presently there are close to 50 million school-aged children in the United States, and many are under the age of 10. This is a higher number than there has been for decades. Many come from stable homes, but some lack stable families and adequate supervision. These children will soon enter their prime crime years, and as a result, crime rates are more likely to rise in the future. Thus it is expected that the criminal justice system will have a wider crime load in the future. Further, with the increased instability of countriesglobally, it is expected that the United States will host more persons from various cultural backgrounds, and holding different values. This will necessitate the criminal justice system to change and adapt respectively to the demographic changes of this new population. Therefore, the composition of the justice system is expected to be more inclusive and accommodative to the changing population by hiring officers from theses communities and adopting policies that are not discriminatory.

Although population trends are important, the economy, technological advancement and social factors may also shape the direction of the criminal justice system. The narcissisticyouth culture that stresses materialism is being replaced by more moralistic cultural values. Positive social values have a contagion effect. That is, the values held by the baby boomers will influence the behavior of all citizens, even crime–prone teens. The result may be moderation in the potential growth of crime rates.Technological advancements and developments such as e-commerce on the internet have created new classes of crime. Although crime rates have trended downwards, internet crimes are more than likely to increase in future.This will be coupled by increases in international terrorism threats seeing that terrorist groups have been on the increase in the past several years with the increased instability in the Middle East and some parts of Africa that offer a conducive environment for terrorist groups to thrive.Therefore the justice system will be forced to continually adopt more advanced technologies and more effective approaches to policing will have to be adopted.

While traditionally law enforcement agencies were reactive and contemporary police proactive, the future criminal justice systemis likely to be more proactive and future-oriented in their decision-making and operations.Increasingly, the future emphasis of the criminal justice will be in crime prevention. The role of the criminal justice system in the society will broaden. The system will be accountable for broader quality of life than simply crime control. Future criminal justice practices will stress on crime control over due process. At present, the balance between due process and crime control seems to have shifted in the direction of greater emphasis on crime control. In the foreseeable future, it is expected that there will be increased criminal justice system efforts at crime prevention, accompanied by less concern about individual liberty and due process.

In summary, there are five key areas in the criminal justice system that are a source of concern and therefore, form the basis for future change in criminal justice. These are the future of technology and its effect on law enforcement; the future leadership and management in policing agencies and future crime/ future law. The other probable areas of concern are the future of policing practices and philosophies and the changing face of American demographics and American policing.

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