I attended two court proceedings. In my observation and judgment, the court reflected the Crime Control Model of justice.This is because of the manner in which the proceedings were carried out, the way in which the offenders were treated, and the way the court was structured, they embodied elements that characterize the Crime Control Model of justice.
Characteristics of the Crime Control Model of Justice and why IRegardedthe Courts to have applied the Crime Control Model of Justice
Central to the Crime Control Model of justice is the proposition that every effort must be directed at repressing crime. The model posits that superseding rationale for any justice system should be to protect and safeguard the security wellbeing of the public, prevent criminal conduct and debilitate known criminals (Siegel, 2011, p. 568). Its objective is to prevent and punish crime and, by so doing,keep the society safe. According to Cole, et al.,(2015, pp. 27-28) the model stresses on efficiency and the competence to arrest, put on trial, convict and punish as many offenders as possible. The model also emphasizes on speed and finality of the justice process.That is, it emphasizes on theswift and hurried screening of suspected offenders, establishing guiltiness, and the application of punishments to the convicted.The model is characterized by its main goal of controlling crime, and emphasizing less on protecting or upholding the rights of offenders. All these elements that characterized the Crime Control Model hinge on informality and little obstacles by defendants or defense attorneys.
Under the crime control model, the prosecutors and the police determine early on the likelihood of the suspected offenders being found guilty. If evidence points towards a case that will probably not result in a conviction, the case may be withdrawn.Also, As opposed to the combative characterization of the courtroom, this model of justice encourages bargaining amongst the suspected offenders and the state (Cole, et al., 2015).The model emphasizes on the principle of swift and efficient decisions by actors within the criminal justice system who are to ensure that the offenders are convicted, and cases are closed.
It is these characterizations of the Crime Control Model of justice that made me come to the conclusion that the court I observed reflected the Crime Control Model of justice. First, in both of the two trials that I attended the trials were over in less than 3 minutes. This is reflective of the fundamental underpinning of the Crime Control Model which emphasizes the need to process cases quickly and efficiently as possible (Barkan & Bryjak, 2011, pp. 20-21)unencumbered by legal red tape and controls on the justice system.It also reflects on the model’s philosophy of jettisoning suspects who did not commit a crime from the system, and those are presented into the system go are quickly convicted through the trial process as quickly as possible(Gaines & Miller, 2012, pp. 17-18).Secondly, in both trials that I attended, the defendants were not asked to say anything, and they did not say anything in their defense. This element of the trial proceeding is characteristic of the crime control model.The Defendants not saying anything or being asked to say anything points towards an infringement on their constitutional rights.It also goes to evidence that the justice model being applied was Crime Control Model which places less emphasis on protecting the offender’s rights, and more on determining guilt and applying sanctions to the offender.On the other hand, in the likely case that the offenders waived their rights to defend themselves before the sitting judge during the trials, and instead wait for the verdict, it can be assumed that the offenders had a bargain with the state resulting to their plea of guilty. This element is also characteristic of the Crime Control Model of justice which understates the combative aspects of the courtroom and instead emphasizes on promoting bargaining between an accused and the state. Also the two trials I attended, one was a committal hearing, and the other a sentencing hearing. This points towards the presence of established procedures to determine whether a suspected offender should be conveyed to the next stage of the judicial process. This isconsistent with the Crime Control Model in which established procedures are used from the arrest to preliminary hearing, arraignments, and trials.
Lastly, in both of the trials,I attended, none of the defendants were represented by a lawyer.This can point towards a plea bargaining between the offenders and the state having been reached, an element that is characteristic of the Crime Control Model of justice. It can also point to the achievement of a key goal of the crime control model, which is to ensure that all actors process cases quickly and efficiently as possible and offenders punished as easily as possible(Barkan & Bryjak, 2011, p. 20). The absence of lawyers to represent the offenders can also point to a characterization of the Crime Control Model which insists on swift application of justice unencumbered by legal red-tapes and controls on the justice system which could be presented by the presence of lawyers(Siegel, 2011, p. 568)
These elements reflected in the proceedings of the two trials I attended suggest that the trials were applying the Crime Control Model of Justice.
Question 3:In 600 words Outline the key elements of therapeutic jurisprudence OR restorative justice, and link your observations to the literature on these elements
Elements of Therapeutic Jurisprudence
The therapeutic jurisprudence perspective is a lens through which effects of the application of the law can be analyzed. It focusses on the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic corollaries of laws, legal rules, and stakeholders in the criminal justice system, investigating whether the law is, or could be employed for pro-therapeutic ends. Central to therapeutic jurisprudence is the concept of law, application of due process and consistency with justice. According to the founder of the concept Wexler (1991), “Therapeuticjurisprudence is the study of the role of the law as a therapeutic agent”. The originators of Therapeutic jurisprudence emphasize that legal processes have an impact on the psychological and physical wellbeing of all participants in the criminal justice system. This approach has been described as “the use of social science to study the extent to which a legal rule or practice promotes the psychological and physical wellbeing of the people it affects” (Slobogin, 1996). Under this perspective, legal procedures and rules and the roles of judges and lawyers are perceived as social forces that can have a therapeutic or anti- therapeutic effects on offenders (Edney & Bagaric, 2007). The doctrinaire emphasis of therapeutic jurisprudence is that the application of law should be intended to act as a therapeutic agent.
A particular focus in Therapeutic jurisprudence is reduction in the levels of alienation and disempowerment within the legal process for litigants. Besides such marginalization being offensive in terms of human rights, it may obstruct tribunals of fact from obtaining information that otherwise might be available for better-informed decision-making(Madden, 2003, pp. 36-37). This information is more likely to emerge if key players such as offenders feel better able to participate. A fundamental premise of therapeutic jurisprudence is the assumption that rehabilitation is an especially important object of any criminal justice system. Whereas the model of therapeutic jurisprudence accepts that sentencing has other objectives such as protection of the community and deterrence, it emphasizes on the objective of rehabilitation within the punitive process(Birgden, 2004).
Linking my observations to the literature on the Elements of Therapeutic Jurisprudence
In general terms, the elements of therapeutic jurisprudence have been adopted within the criminal justice system of the states and territories of Australia. This isevidenced by the presence of particular courts to address the concerns of specific offenders for example drug courts and indigenous courts. This is one of the observations that I had when I attended the court proceedings. While the first trial was a normal court proceeding, the second court trial I attended was an indigenous court proceeding. These courts are meant to make the justice process culturally appropriate, and create trust between the justice system and indigenous communities. They also help in reducing the levels of alienation and disempowerment within the legal process for litigants. Indigenous courts consider the input of indigenous people, and elders, to the court process and considers the victim-offender relations and a convicted offender’s willingness to reform. While some of these elements are also characteristic of restorative justice, the court’s specialization on a specific group of offenders and its focus on rehabilitation in the punitive process makes it an application of the therapeutic jurisprudence perspective.
From my observation, the courtroom identified the effect that it could have on offenders and towards this, it was well organized and structured with no element of intimidation being subjected to the suspected offender. The general justice system also was cognizant of the ability of the penal system to help offenders change into better persons. Towards this, many steps have put in place in many penal institutions to facilitate rehabilitation of convicted offenders within the Australian criminal justice system. That is, the is law being applied for pro-therapeutic ends. This is consistent with the elements of therapeutic jurisprudence. Lastly, according to Madden(2003, p. 37)., central to therapeutic jurisprudence is the concept of law, application of due process and consistency with justice and other normative values. These elements were evident in the court proceedings I attended. Due process was followed in the first trial which was a committal hearing, while the other one was a sentencing hearing, this points towards a justice process being followed where due process and normative values are being applied. These elements can impact upon the psychological and physical well-being of offenders.
Barkan, S. E. & Bryjak, G. J., 2011. Fundamentals of Criminal Justice: A Sociological View. 1st ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Birgden, A., 2004. Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Responsibilty: Finding the Will and the Way in Offender Rehabilitation. Psychology Crime and Law, Volume 10, p. 283.
Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E. & DeJong, C., 2015. Criminal Justice in America. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Edney, R. & Bagaric, M., 2007. Australian Sentencing: Principles and Practice. Melborne: Cambridge University Press.
Gaines, L. K. & Miller, L. R., 2012. Criminal Justice in Action. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Madden, R. G., 2003. Essential Law for Social Workers. 1st ed. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Siegel, L. J., 2011. Criminology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Slobogin, C., 1996. Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Five Dilemmas to Ponder. In: Law in a Therapeutic Key. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, pp. 763-794.
Wexler, D. B., 1991. Putting Mental Health Into Mental Health Law: Therapeutic Jurisprudence, in Essays in Therapeutic Jurisprudence. In: s.l.:s.n.
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