submit replies of 150–250 words each in response to 2 other classmates’ threads. Responding to a classmate’s post requires both the addition of new ideas and analysis. A particular point made by the classmate must be addressed and built upon by your analysis in order to move the conversation forward. Thus, the response post is a rigorous assignment that requires you to build upon initial posts to develop deeper and more thorough discussion of the ideas introduced in the initial posts. As such, reply posts that merely affirm, restate, or unprofessionally quarrel with the previous post(s) and fail to make a valuable, substantive contribution to the discussion will receive appropriate point deductions.
What is the focus of the criminal justice system, restorative justice, or criminal rights?
Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system’s focus in layman’s terms is to prosecute offenders with evidence collected from law enforcement while ensuring that law enforcement and the state follow the rules of law. Depending on the crime and evidence against the offender, the prosecutor has the option to plea bargain a lesser charge if the offender pleads guilty to the crime. If the offender’s lawyer believes there is not significant evidence, they may suggest to proceed to trial. Due process is a protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, that no individual can be deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (Worrall 2015).
Restorative justice is a process that focuses on the victim and their need to be part of the justice process. The offender is held accountable to the victim and their families by participating in communication and repayment when convicted of a crime. According to Gerkin, Walsh, Kuilema, and Borton (2017) their article cited Van Ness, 1996; Van Ness & Strong, 1997; Zehr, 1990 when explaining that “restorative justice defines crimes by the harms created” and therefore seeks to repair the damage by “holding offenders accountable”, helping victims heal, and reducing similar crimes to reduce the number of victims (p1). Restorative justice not only helps the victim but gives the offender a chance at redemption. God gave man a chance of redemption from their sins by sacrificing his only son. Isaiah 53:5 states that Jesus took man’s transgressions and iniquities and bore man’s healing through his pain and suffering (New International Version). It is only through atonement that man can find peace and move toward a better version of himself.
Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution to ensure that all men were treated fairly. They were God fearing men but they also knew that man had a sinful nature. These men also understood that no matter the circumstances, man should be protected so they would not endure injustice at the hands of others. Over the centuries the constitution has helped change the way citizens were treated by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. One example is the case between the Gerald v. United States, the Supreme Court held that juveniles were protected under the Fourteenth Amendment and have the same rights as adults. It is important no matter the age or crime all individuals be held accountable for their actions and be given a fair trial.
Can these seemingly competing perspectives be better harmonized?
This student believes that these competing perspectives can be better harmonized and should be put in place within the criminal justice system. As children, most Americans are taught that their actions have consequences. Unfortunately, all children are guided by caregivers who teach them right from wrong and there are also those who rebel anyway. Having due process keeps the justice system accountable to the rights of citizens whether they are guilty or not guilty of a crime. In turn, those who have committed crimes should be held accountable to society and those they have wronged. Putting individuals in jail is not always the best solution, of course that is depending on the crime. One positive step in restorative justice is that it focuses on the victim instead of the offender (Gerkin et al. 2017). Victims need to participate in the process as part of their healing and their need for justice. Offenders need to participate and accept their role for their actions, if they are incarcerated they do not have the ability to receive the counseling they need to prevail against actions that can cause them to be repeat offenders (Ghoshray 2013).
American criminal justice is designed to correct and control offenders that deviate from the accepted social norms for “good behavior” (Weisburg, 2003, p. 468, 470). While this definition sounds effectively straightforward, the culture’s gradually industrializing worldview has created a complicated non-system of politics and jurisdiction (Neubauer & Fradella, 2014, p. 7). According to Worrall (2015), an, “inherent tension between two competing sets of priorities” forces justice officials to balance their society’s security and individual rights, while still ensuring each voice is represented (p. 13). These two important factors – citizen security and human rights – can be equally protected by criminal justice through a school of thought that balances Biblical principles with modern laws.
While criminal justice encompasses the entirety of the non-system, criminal procedure refers specifically to, “how suspected and accused criminals are to be handled and processed by the justice system” (Worrall, 2015, p. 4). The Founding Fathers, when drafting our nation’s laws, did not outline a criminal procedure for offenders, instead choosing to protect citizens’ individual rights through clearly mandated statutes (O’Neill, 2015, p. 757). The legal system built itself around the Constitution by convicting offenders who violated another citizen’s legally protected rights and restoring communities to protect the society’s interests (Kurlychek, 2009, p. 909). Thus, the focus of criminal justice is the rights of the individual – which is ensured best by criminal procedure, or the method to justice (O’Neill, 2015, p. 758).
The second “priority” described by Worrall (2015) is sometimes unrecognized by society, and by modern criminal procedure. The Constitution protects the rights of all American citizens, which includes the offender; according to our textbook, most of the amendments concerning citizens’ rights in relation to criminal activity are actually more relevant to the offender (Worrall, 2015, p. 6-7). A justice procedure is needed to allow offenders to regain societal status and return as functional members of society, with the justified opportunity protected by the Declaration and the Constitution. Restorative justice accomplishes this harmonized perspective by administering justice and encouraging offender reintegration.
Restorative justice unconsciously points a society towards God by allowing for discipline with a redemptive quality. It recognizes man’s capacity for sin, and their ability to seek truth. As the Bible examines in Psalm 9:7-8, God judges us from his throne, “with equity”; in each instance of Biblical justice, the offender is able to return after a punishment that allows them to repent. The best example of this is David’s transgression with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel; God shows David mercy when he genuinely repents for his sin and David returns as Israel’s king. By integrating this practice into American criminal procedure, we can unify security and safety while protecting the ri
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