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Criminal justice

The study of criminal justice traditionally revolves around three main components of the criminal justice system: police, courts, corrections. Criminal justice is distinct from the field of criminology, which involves the study of crime as a social phenomena, causes of crime, criminal behavior, and other aspects of crime.

The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of "justice" or "fairness" or "process", essentially the pursuit of an ideal. Thus, this field has many relations to anthropology, criminology, economics, history, law, political science, psychology, sociology, and theology.

Rights
One question which is presented by the idea of creating justice involves the rights of victims and the rights of accused criminals, and how these individual rights are related to one another and to social control. It is generally argued that victim's and defendant's rights are inversely related, and individual rights, as a whole, are likewise viewed as inversely related to social control.

Rights, of course, imply responsibilities or duties, and this in turn requires a great deal of consensus in the community regarding the appropriate definitions for many of these legal terms

There are several basic theories regarding criminal justice and its relation to individual rights and social control.

Restorative justice assumes that the victim or their heirs or neighbors can be in some way restored to a condition "just as good as" before the criminal incident. Substantially it builds on traditions in common law and tort law that requires all who commit wrong to be penalized. In recent time these penalties that restorative justice advocates have included community service, restitution, and alternatives to imprisonment that keep the offender active in the community, and re-socialized him into society. Some suggest that it is a weak way to punish criminals who must be deterred. These critics are often proponents of retributive justice.
Retributive justice or the "eye for an eye" approach. Assuming that the victim or their heirs or neighbors have the right to do to the offender what was done to the victim. These ideas fuel support for capital punishment for murder, amputation for theft (as in some versions of the sharia).
Psychiatric imprisonment treats crime nominally as illness, and assumes that it can be treated by psychoanalysis, drugs, and other techniques associated with psychiatry and medicine, but in forcible confinement. It is more commonly associated with crime that does not appear to have animal emotion or human economic motives, nor even any clear benefit to the offender, but has idiosyncratic characteristics that make it hard for society to comprehend, thus hard to trust the individual if released into society.
Transformative justice does not assume that there is any reasonable comparison between the lives of victims nor offenders before and after the incident. It discourages such comparisons and measurements, and emphasizes the trust of the society in each member, including trust in the offender not to re-offend, and of the victim (or heirs) not to avenge.
In addition, there are models of criminal justice systems which try to explain how these institutions achieve justice.

The Consensus Model argues that the organizations of a criminal justice system do, or should, cooperate.
The Conflict Model assumes that the organizations of a criminal justice system do, or should, compete.

 

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