Case Brief: In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967)


The case of In re Gault (1967) was a pivotal moment in juvenile justice in the United States. It addressed fundamental issues of due process and protection of juveniles’ rights in the criminal justice system.


Gerald Francis Gault, a 15-year-old Arizona resident, was taken into custody without a formal warrant for allegedly making an obscene phone call. After a brief hearing in juvenile court, Gault was committed to a state industrial school until he reached the age of 21.

Legal Question

The primary issue in this case was whether the procedures followed in the juvenile court system violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, held that juvenile court proceedings must adhere to basic standards of due process. Key aspects of the decision included:

  • Notice and Right to Counsel: Juveniles are entitled to notice of charges and legal representation.
  • Right to Confront Witnesses: Juveniles have the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses.
  • Privilege Against Self-Incrimination: Juveniles cannot be compelled to testify against themselves.


In re Gault significantly impacted the juvenile justice system by ensuring that young individuals receive constitutional protections similar to those in the adult criminal justice system. It emphasized fairness, transparency, and the protection of juveniles’ rights.

Case Brief: Steagald v. U.S., 451 U.S. 204 (1981)


Steagald v. U.S. (1981) dealt with Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement of a search warrant to enter a third party’s residence while pursuing a suspect.


The case arose when federal agents, without a search warrant, entered a third party’s residence in search of a fugitive. The agents had an arrest warrant for the fugitive but no search warrant for the residence. They discovered evidence unrelated to the fugitive, which was subsequently used in the prosecution of Steagald.

Legal Question

The central question was whether evidence obtained during a search of a third party’s residence without a search warrant could be used against Steagald in court.

Supreme Court’s Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that evidence seized in the search of a third party’s residence without a search warrant was inadmissible against Steagald. The Court emphasized the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and clarified that arrest warrants do not authorize searches of third-party residences.


Steagald v. U.S. reaffirmed the importance of search warrants and the limitations of arrest warrants. It underscored the Fourth Amendment’s role in protecting individuals from unreasonable searches and the potential misuse of law enforcement powers.

By understanding these two cases, we gain insights into the evolving landscape of constitutional rights, especially as they relate to juveniles in the criminal justice system and the protection of individuals’ privacy in searches and seizures.

For further reading on related legal cases and briefs, you may find the following resources helpful:

These resources provide a broader perspective on various legal cases and their implications for the U.S. legal system.

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Reflect an understanding of the structure and function of the criminal justice system

Students will select a specific criminal justice agency (police, courts, corrections) or social service/non-profit agency mentioned in the course materials ­OR a criminal justice agency or social service/ non-profit agency about which they are interested. The student will research and write about the agency, its career opportunities, minimum requirements for the specific job(s), and the extent to which it offers and facilitates volunteer service learning opportunities to college students (example: internships). In writing about the agency, the student should strive to reflect an understanding of the structure and function of the criminal justice system and the selected agency beyond what is written in the course textbook or other course materials to understand human relations and recognize the need to relate to the public, and in particular, to pursue service-learning (example: internships), volunteer and/or research opportunities with the agency.

Reflect an understanding of the structure and function of the criminal justice system.

The paper should be three (3) to four (4) pages (double-spaced) in length. The paper should include at least three (3) sources in addition to the course textbook or other course materials.

Textbook: Brian K. Payne, Willard M. Oliver, & Nancy E. Marion, Introduction to criminal justice: A
balanced approach (SAGE, 2nd edition, 2019).
ISBN: 978-1506389721

Rubric: Papers will be graded on a hundred (100) point scale using the following criteria:
(a) Technical Form: Up to ten (10) points will be awarded for form of the paper. Form includes
compliance with: any directions presented in the syllabus regarding page limitations, number of sources, etc., and the directions given in class by the instructor regarding the formatting of papers.
(b) Citation Style: Up to twenty (15) points will be awarded for appropriate citation form.
(c) Writing Style: Up to ten (15) points will be awarded for the writing style and physical
presentation of the paper. Writing Style includes the use of proper grammar, spelling,
sentence structure, etc. Note that each mistake in a paper that violates any of the rules
governing writing style will result in a loss of points in this category of assessment.
(d) Organization: Up to twenty (20) points will be awarded for the paper’s organization.
Organization includes the clarity of the construction of the arguments, the logical presentation of
arguments and their components, as well as sources, etc.
(e) Content: Up to forty (40) points will be awarded for the content of the paper with respect to
the thoroughness and quality of the analyses contained therein.
**NOTE: Zero points may be awarded in any of the categories of assessment when work demonstrates a lack of effort or is otherwise unsatisfactory. Late submissions will not be accepted unless an extension is granted by the instructor in advance of the due date. Any student submitting a late paper will receive a grade of zero.

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Institutional Corrections

Institutional Corrections

In Chapter 11, we learned that institutional corrections have a long and controversial history. In what is known as the “Brutal Years,” punishment was strictly corporal, which essentially meant that punishment was harsh, physical, and public. Some examples include caning, whipping, and branding.

Institutional Corrections

With new developments, punishment became more “humane” after a push by William Penn. Rather than relying on a physical and public display of punishment, people instead began to be housed in singular cell units. One of the most extreme forms of isolation that a prisoner can get is solitary confinement. Informally, solitary confinement has been known as “the hole,” “SHU”, and “AdSeg.”

Based on the material from the lecture and reading, what is the purpose of solitary confinement? In other words, what do prisons hope to achieve by housing inmates in solitary confinement? What is one example that can send a person to solitary confinement? 

Next, please watch the two short video clips. The video clips offer insight into what solitary confinement entails. In one video, it is an investigative report into a New Mexico prison. The clip follows how one inmate served as the “model inmate” for solitary confinement. The second video is a documentary clip that goes inside a Maine State prison. There, the video shows a rehabilitative push to assist an inmate who is currently in solitary confinement. The videos have strong language.

Video 1: to an external site.

A8Links to an external site.

Video 2:httpsLinks to an external site.:// to an external site.

I want you to apply some of this week’s key concepts to the video clip.

Based on the videos, do you see areas where there can be improvements in how solitary confinement is currently implemented? If yes, what are some examples? If not, what are some reasons why you wouldn’t change it?

If you were the warden in charge, would you still implement solitary confinement? Be sure to provide some justifications for your decision (in other words, do not simply say “yes” or “no”).

As a reminder, be sure to fully address all parts of the prompt using the reading and lecture material to support your answers. A one-sentence explanation or bullet points will not receive full credit. You must answer each of the prompt’s questions in detail.

For example, “According to Rennison and Dodge (2021), solitary confinement, otherwise known as “the hole” or “SHU”, refers to …

In the video, there is room for improvement in how solitary confinement is implemented. One suggestion is…”

Then, you provide your recommendations for improving solitary confinement conditions and why.

As always, please remain respectful and civil in your posts.

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Criminal Ysl Case Assignment

For the purpose of this assignment, please watch the following videos in their entirety: 

Recently, Hip Hop artists, Young Thug, Gunna, and a host of other members of the alleged street gang, Young Slime Life (YSL), were indicted on several charges, including violation of the RICO Act. According to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the artist’s lyrics will be used in court to tie them to the various crimes with which they are charged with. What are your thoughts on the indictment? Are you in favour of the court allowing rap lyrics to be used in criminal court cases? Why or why not? 

Include at least three external sources in your final paper, and make sure to cite the selected resources using APA style properly. Your final paper must include a cover page and a reference page and should include at least 700 words (not including the cover and reference page). The final draft should be double-spaced, free of grammatical and structural errors, and include standard margins and fonts. Please remember that this assignment and all of the others associated with this course are expected to be your original work.

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Evaluate which branches of the criminal justice system are impacted/involved and how they either help or hinder the issue.

Before beginning work on this assignment, read Chapters 2, 7, and 9 from the text. Additionally, watch Bryan Stevenson at TED2012: We Need to Talk About an InjusticeLinks to an external site.. Looking ahead at your Capstone assignment in Week 5, provide an outline highlighting the major points of your assignment for review and discussion among your classmates and instructor. Include all major ideas your Capstone assignment will address in your outline, with brief two to three-sentence explanations for each.

Evaluate which branches of the criminal justice system are impacted/involved and how they either help or hinder the issue.

In your paper, outline the following:

  • Revise the thesis statement you created in Week 1, which identifies your social and criminal justice issues.
    • Incorporate any feedback that you received regarding your thesis statement from your instructor.
  • Summarize your chosen social and criminal justice issue.
    • Describe what makes this an issue.
    • Provide data to show how this issue has made an impact on society.
    • Explain which social justice principles need to be addressed and why.
    • List the cultural and diversity issues in your chosen social and criminal justice problem.
    • Evaluate how addressing your chosen issue contributes to the goal of a more just society.
  • Analyze the empirical research on your chosen topic.
    • You may use your Week 1 Annotated Bibliography to complete this section of the assignment.
  • Propose a possible resolution to your chosen social and criminal justice issue.
    • Evaluate which branches of the criminal justice system are impacted/involved and how they either help or hinder the issue.
    • Analyze how the criminal and social justice theories (in relation to the United States Constitution) and landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions impact your chosen issue and support your resolution.
    • Examine how the judiciary, corrections, and law enforcement systems address social equality, solidarity, human rights, and overall fairness and how these essential concepts impact your issue and resolution.
    • Evaluate how poverty, racism, religion, and other sociocultural variables may apply to contemporary social and criminal justice by drawing information among the fields of, but not limited to, criminology, law, philosophy, psychology, science, and sociology.

As with all well-researched and organized writing, the topic (first) sentences of your paragraphs contain the major ideas of your assignment. Therefore, this outline can be used to construct the body of your Capstone Paper in Week 5. Please visit the Writing Center to access information on developing OutliningLinks to an external site..

The Capstone assignment Outline

  • Must be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Writing Center’s APA StyleLinks to an external site.
  • Must include a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of assignment
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Name of University
    • Date submitted

For further assistance with the formatting and the title page, refer to APA Formatting for Word 2013Links to an external site..

  • Must utilize academic voice. See the Academic VoiceLinks to an external site. resource for additional guidance.
  • Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your assignment.
  • Must use at least five scholarly and/or credible sources in addition to the course text.

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Sixth And Eighth Amendments

Watch the two videos and reflect on how the Sixth and Eighth Amendments protections were or can be preserved in each of the videos.

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Overview of “Estelle v. Gamble”

Overview of “Estelle v. Gamble”

The “Estelle v. Gamble” is a 1976 Supreme Court decision that affirmed inmates’ constitutional medical care rights. The ruling is to provide health care to prisoners per the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable and cruel penalties (Greifinger, 2021). The court determined that the Eighth Amendment was violated when prison officials ignored inmates’ life-threatening medical demands. As a result, prison officials are responsible for ensuring inmates have access to proper medical care. The ruling in the case of Estelle v. Gamble had enormous repercussions for providing healthcare services in correctional institutions in the United States.

First, it established that prisoners have rights to medical care under the Constitution and that prison staff can be held accountable for willful neglect of inmates’ health. Second, it implies that correctional facilities are obligated to give inmates access to healthcare services comparable to those offered to the general population, and that is under the constitutional requirements for the barest minimum (Greifinger, 2021). Third, the case brought to light several issues specific to the delivery of medical care in a correctional facility.

These issues include a lack of available resources, concerns about inmate safety, and the need to balance the rights of inmates and the safety of employees and other inmates. Despite these obstacles, correctional facilities must offer medical care to convicts up to the minimum constitutional standards. This guarantees that detainees are not subjected to unusual or inhumane punishments.

Challenges of Providing Health Care in a Correctional Environment

There are several obstacles to delivering health care in a prison setting. Most of the time, there are more chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and psychological conditions among prisoners than in the general population (Wilper et al., 2009). They also have a greater propensity to engage in dangerous activities such as drug usage, sexual activity without protection, and violent acts. In addition, correctional facilities are frequently situated in secluded places, making accessing medical professionals and equipment challenging. A correctional facility’s nature also challenges medical care delivery (Faiver, 2020).

Medical professionals may not be able to gain the trust of detainees for various reasons, including bad experiences in the past, fears of retaliation from other inmates or staff, and worries about privacy. Because of this mistrust, it may be challenging to build the strong relationship between patients and doctors necessary for providing good medical care. In addition, correctional institutions may have insufficient staff, resources, and financing, resulting in treatment delays, inadequate staffing levels, and restricted access to medications and medical equipment.

It is also necessary to balance the inmate population’s requirements and the facility’s safety concerns when providing health care in a correctional institution. For instance, many operations or treatments may necessitate using sharp tools, which, if not adequately handled, might represent a risk to staff members and other inmates. Moreover, security precautions such as lockdowns or movement restrictions could make it more difficult for inmates to get medical attention when needed.

Also, the correctional facility setting presents difficulties in managing the health and safety of both the inmates and the healthcare practitioners working there. It is, therefore, necessary for medical staff to strike a balance between meeting the needs of patients and protecting themselves from the dangers posed by inmates, such as the spread of contagious diseases or the potential for physical altercations (Wilper et al., 2009). In general, delivering healthcare in a correctional facility is difficult and complex, requiring specific knowledge and abilities to traverse the particular circumstances of this population. To do this task, it is necessary to have access to a variety of resources.

Challenges of Providing Health Care to a Female Offender Population

Additional challenges that might not be present in a male jail are presented when delivering healthcare to a group of female offenders. These difficulties include pregnancy, substance misuse, mental health conditions, and poor oral health (Faiver, 2020). Pregnancy is a unique problem because pregnant prisoners often need specialized care not available in prison. Also, many female offenders have problems with drugs and mental health, which increases the need for specialized care. It is exceptionally usual for female offenders to have poor dental health, necessitating the need for specialist dental care frequently unavailable within the facility.

In addition, because of the gender biases and stigma surrounding women involved in the criminal justice system, it may be more difficult for female offenders to gain access to medical care (Faiver, 2020). Because of this, they may be reluctant to discuss their health concerns with male healthcare providers or personnel, which can cause diagnostic and treatment delays. Also, the absence of female correctional staff members and providers may worsen this problem.

Additionally, parenting and child custody issues may provide difficulties for female offenders. Many incarcerated women have children outside of the prison, and the mother and child’s health and well-being need to stay in touch. Nevertheless, restricted visitation laws, distance from family, and lack of money can make it hard for mothers to keep in touch with their children and get the proper health care for themselves and their children.

Overall, it takes a holistic approach to healthcare to meet the requirements of a female offender population, including those related to mental health, substance addiction, gynecology, reproduction, and parenting. For this reason, it is crucial to take a gender-responsive approach that seeks to address women’s specific barriers while interacting with the criminal justice system.

Framework for Strategic Planning

We propose using the SWOT analysis framework to establish a strategic plan for scheduling out-of-facility appointments. The abbreviation “SWOT” stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats” (Atlassian, 2023). With this framework, a healthcare facility could evaluate the opportunities and challenges the surrounding environment poses and its strengths and shortcomings as an institution. By gaining knowledge of these elements, the institution can devise a strategic plan that maximizes our capabilities, compensates for our shortcomings, seizes chances, and reduces risks.

To sum up, the Eighth Amendment ensures that incarcerated people have access to medical care. However, providing healthcare in a correctional setting brings distinctive challenges, especially when working with a female offender population. We will use the SWOT analysis framework to develop a strategy for handling out-of-building appointments in a way that does not compromise internal operations.

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How does the initiative allow citizens to bypass the legislature when making laws?

Chapter 1

1. Implementation is all about spending. Name some of the ways in which the funds can be allocated for criminal justice policy.

2. What are some of the factors that affect policy implementation?

3. Why are minorities disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system?

4. How does the initiative allow citizens to bypass the legislature when making laws?

Chapter 2

1. According to the authors, what is a concentrated advantage?

2. Who do universal prevention programs target?

3. Explain what program fidelity is, and its importance.

4. Identify the main problem that criminal justice prevention and intervention programs are facing today, and name one good thing that has come out of the economic recession

Chapter 3

1. What is a street-level bureaucrat, and what are they responsible for?

2. Explain the “law-on-the-books” versus “law-in-action” phenomenon.

3. Explain the relationship between transparency and accountability.

4. Identify the mechanisms that allow citizens, and elected officials to check the power of police departments, and their officers?

Chapter 4

1. What are some of the challenges of using the index of offenses as a measure?

2. When does crime displacement occur?

3. What are some of the criticisms of aggressive tactics such as “sweeps” and “crackdowns?”

4. Explain the “hot spot” concept. 

Chapter I The Politics of Crime and the Policy Making Process

Stacy L. Mallicoat

Throughout the past century, debates about criminal justice policies dominated our political landscape. Indeed, government agencies and their representatives spend their days in cities, states, and the nation’s capital lobbying for protection, intervention, and processes to advocate and protect individual and group interests. This chapter focuses on the development of criminal justice policy and begins with a review of policy as a general issue as well as a discussion on the need for policy within the criminal justice arena. Following a discussion of crime rates, this chapter reviews the role of politics in discussions about crime and criminal justice policy and the roles of political actors in this process. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the effect of fear about crime and the media in the policy making process.

What is Policy?

If one consults the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “policy” includes definitions, such as the “prudence or wisdom in the management of affairs” and “a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Policies are utilized throughout governments and organizations to facilitate and regulate action, guide the decision-making process and provide direction as the policy is implemented. While there have been a number of different theories and discussions about the policy development process, we can generally organize this process into six stages: (a) problem identification, (b) policy demands, (c) agenda formation, (d) policy adoption, (e) policy implementation, and (f) policy evaluation. Figure 1.1 showcases how these six stages work together in the development of policy. Before a policy can be developed, there must be an issue at hand. Issues can be identified by concerned citizens, the media, and advocacy groups, as well as by politicians. Issues in criminal justice might include rising crime rates, the need for drug and alcohol counseling in prisons, or concerns about the residency requirements for convicted sex offenders in the community. Once an issue is identified, there can be significant debate over the demands of the policy. What is the goal or objective of the policy? Is it to increase punishments? Is it to increase community safety? It is during this stage that the intent of the policy is put forward. Once this is decided, the agenda formation process begins. This is perhaps one of the most politicized stages in policy development as it involves a variety of different voices— from government officials to special interest groups and individuals who ultimately are affected by the policy—all of whom want to be heard. The next stage involves the adoption of the policy. Depending on the nature of the policy, this could involve the passage of new laws or the signing of executive orders. Upon completion of this stage, the cycle moves to policy implementation. Implementation is all about spending money—from hiring more officers, to increasing police presence in particular regions, to allocating funds to supervise offenders in the community. The ways in which a policy is implemented may differ significantly from the original intention of the authors of a policy. This can present significant challenges—perhaps the law as it was written was too vague, or there isn’t enough funding to effectively implement the policy, or there may be challenges to the policy that may stall or halt the implementation. Finally, the evaluation stage looks at the efficacy of the policy. Did the policy accomplish what it set out to do? What impact does the policy have (Cochran, Mayer, Carr, Cayer, & McKenzie, 2011)? Policy evaluation can be divided into two general categories: process evaluation and outcome evaluation. Process evaluation involves looking at the progression of the policy development experience. Are there areas where these methods could be improved or streamlined? If the implementation of the policy differs from the original intent (positively or negatively), how might this be resolved? In contrast, an outcome evaluation looks at the changes that occur as a result of the policy. For example, does the implementation of early intervention programming in elementary schools reduce the number of youth who are adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile court? Both process and outcome evaluations must be conducted in order to identify whether the policy produced a change (outcome) and why the change did or did not occur (process). Evaluation is perhaps the most important stage of policy development, but one that many suggest is overlooked and under-emphasized.

The Need for Criminal Justice Policy

Changes in criminal justice policy generally occur in response to a need or issue that faces the criminal justice system and society as a whole. Much of these needs are rooted in discussions about the levels of crime in society. Here, policy is seen as a way to deal with the presence of crime and the handling of offenders. The federal government has been an active player in the creation of crime control policies. Table 1.1 highlights some of the significant pieces of Federal legislation implemented by Congress over the past five decades. Throughout this text, you are exposed to several of these different pieces of legislation and how the implementation of these policies affected the management of our criminal justice system. Given the high level of policy implementation related to criminal justice issues, one might be led to believe that crime rates have spiraled out of control. After all, we have more police officers on the streets, our prisons are overcrowded, and we spend billions of dollars nationwide supporting the enterprise of criminal justice. In 2012, the Department of Justice’s budget included 28.2 billion dollars in discretionary funding (U.S. Department of Justice, 2012).

Yet with all these policies designed to respond to crime and punish offenders, what impact has this had on our crime rates? A review of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report finds that crime across the nation decreased over the past twenty years. In 1992, the violent crime rate was 757.7 per 100,000 individuals. In 2011, the crime rate was 386.3, a 49% decrease. In 1992, the property crime rate was 4,903.7 compared to 2,908.7 in 2011 (FBI, 2012). It is certainly possible that the criminal justice policies implemented over the past twenty years may have contributed to these lower crime rates. After all, such policies created interventions for at-risk and low level offenders, increased screening tools for risk assessment, provided funds for more officers on the streets, and increased prison capacities. Despite the fact that the rate of crimes known to law enforcement significantly decreased, our prison population has increased over 500% nationwide1 since the 1980’s (which is when many of the “tough on crime” policies were first passed). Figure 1.2 demonstrates this trend. For example, the federal incarceration rate in 2000 was 44 (per 100,000 residents) and increased to 63 by 2010 (an average of 3% increase annually). State prisons also increased, though not at such a dramatic rate (426 per 100,000 in 2000, compared to 429 per 100,000 in 2010, an average of 0.3% increase annually) (Carson & Sabol, 2012). The impact of many of these policies had detrimental effects for certain populations. Drug offenders make up the majority of the incarcerated population in Federal prisons and their length of sentences for these crimes accounted for one-third of the prison growth between 1998 and 2010 (Mallik-Kane, Parthasarathy, & Adams, 2012). Much of this growth can be associated with the use of mandatory minimum sentencing for drugs, which you learn more about in Chapter 8 of this text. Trends in the disproportionate minority confinement are also present, as the rate of white male incarceration in 2011 was 478 (per 100,000), while the rate of African American male incarceration was 3,023, and the rate for Hispanic males was 1,238. Similar patterns exist for female incarceration rates where 51 (per 100,000) of incarcerated women are white, compared to rates of African American (129) and Hispanic (71) females, respectfully (Carson & Sabol, 2012).

When it comes to developing criminal justice policy, there are several key players involved. Political figures, such as a congressional member of a state government or a member of the U.S. Congress, may sponsor a bill that affects the criminal justice system. Following a period of debate and discussion about the proposed policy, the bill is voted on by the members of the governing body and is then signed into law by either the state’s Governor or the President of the United States (depending on whether it is a state or federal policy that is being enacted). For many states, this is the primary way that new policies are developed and implemented. However, some states have an alternative method of creating new laws and policies. Under the practice of direct democracy, citizens in 17 states are empowered to make law through an initiative process. The initiative process begins with a petition for a new law. If a minimum number of signatures from registered voters are obtained, the measure is placed on the ballot for the citizenry to vote on. In states like California, if a measure receives a majority of the votes, it is enacted into law. What makes the process of direct democracy unique is that it completely bypasses the traditional structures of lawmaking—that is, it does not require the support of elected officials in order to pass new laws. In addition, a policy enacted through the process of direct democracy does not necessarily endure the same rigorous process of vetting the budget in terms of implementing such a policy (Stambough, 2012). Many of California’s most famous criminal justice policies were created through the citizen initiative process: the habitual offender Three Strikes law (Proposition 184, 1994, later amended through Proposition 36 in 2012); Jessica’s Law (Proposition 83, 2006), which created new regulations for sexual offenders; and the diversion of low-level drug offenders from prison to drug treatment (Proposition 36, 2000).

In many cases, criminal justice policies are implemented to change the way that offenders are processed by the criminal justice system. A review of recent history demonstrates that many of these policies are designed to be tougher on crime by increasing the penalties for various crimes and restricting the movement of offenders in the community. Despite the continued push toward retributive punishments, we do find examples of policies that seek to change the definitions of criminal behavior and the responses by police agencies to crime. In recent years, many states have either attempted to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes or to decriminalize marijuana use in general. For example in 2010, California citizens introduced an initiative to legalize marijuana. While California’s measure ultimately failed at the ballot box, other states have been successful in changing their state laws. In 2012, voters legalized the use of marijuana in both Washington and Colorado. Washington state voters approved the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. While the sale of marijuana remains illegal, the state is making plans to set up a system of state-approved growers (similar to having state-licensed liquor stores) within the year, a plan that could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state budget (Johnson, 2012). A similar law passed in Colorado with 55% of voters in support (Wyatt, 2012).

Attempts like these highlighted the fiscal concerns of states, as many are struggling to maintain the growing incarcerated populations stemming from the implementation of the “tough on crime” initiatives that dominated the criminal justice landscape in recent times. However, the legalization of marijuana is not the only topic up for debate in this deliberation about dollars and cents. For example, the SAFE Act (Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement Act) of California (2012) highlighted the fiscal concerns of maintaining the death penalty. While public polling data indicated that many California voters were in support of this initiative, it ultimately failed with only 48% of the votes in favor of the measure (SAFE, 2012). In Maryland, legislators sought to introduce a graduated sanctions program for technical parole violators. Rather than return these offenders back to prison, this program allowed for nonincarceration forms of punishment in cases like missing a meeting with a parole officer or failing to complete community service hours. This change in policy would have made available some of the one-billion dollars that the state spends on its correctional system. The implementation of the program was scaled back to only three counties instead of a state-wide effort, due to the high start-up costs of the program versus a focus on its long-term savings (Chettiar, 2012).

Victims of crime also influence criminal justice politics. As the victim rights’ movement began to gain speed, there was a significant increase in the number of pieces of legislation aimed at increasing the surveillance and punishment of offenders in the hopes of reducing future victimizations. Here, individual tragedies led to changes for the general population. For example, Megan’s Law is named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who was residing in her neighborhood. At the time, there were no widespread programs for community notifications when a sexual offender was released. Today, Megan’s Laws have been adopted in all 50 states and provides resources for not only alerting members of the community about offenders living in their area, but it also provides restrictions on where offenders can live in terms of proximity to children (such as distances from schools and playgrounds) as well as requirements to register with local police authorities on an annual basis ( Another example of crime policy legislation aimed at providing services for victims is the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, which requires institutions of higher education to provide victims with physical protections from their abuser (such as the right to transfer housing accommodations, or class schedules) as well as counseling (Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, 1992).

Despite best intentions, criminal justice policies can also be used in ways that legislators and the public never intended. Consider Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Initially designed as a measure to protect citizens from prosecution in cases of self-defense, the “stand your ground” law requires that the police and courts only consider three basic criteria: (a) Was the individual entitled to be present, (b) Was the individual engaged in a law-abiding activity, and (c) Could the individual reasonably believe that he or she was at risk for significant bodily harm or injury? If an individual claims self-defense under the “stand your ground” law, they can request a hearing where they are only required to prove their claim under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof standard, not the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. As a result, many criminal offenders have successfully used the “stand your ground” law to avoid prosecution. The law recently came under public debate following the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin was walking in his gated neighborhood community following a trip to a local convenience store. George Zimmerman, head of the neighborhood watch, contacted the police to report a suspicious individual (Martin) walking in the neighborhood. Zimmerman followed Martin and confronted him. While the details of what happened are somewhat murky, Zimmerman alleges that Martin attacked him. In response, Zimmerman pulled out a gun and shot Martin, who died from his injuries. The public outcry for the case stretched across the United States as citizens demanded the arrest of George Zimmerman. While some had questioned whether Zimmerman’s case would draw upon Florida’s “stand your ground” law, his lawyers ultimately argued that Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. In July 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty of 2nd degree murder (Clark, 2013).

1 Includes data on state and federal prison populations.

ICS and Criminal Justice Policy

When we think about politics, we can divide beliefs into two camps: liberals and conservatives. Liberal politics tend to focus on the importance of due process, individual freedoms, and constitutional rights. Liberals also look to the government to help create societal equality and solve problems. Socially, liberals believe that the government should help support those individuals who may suffer from various disadvantages in society. In terms of crime related issues, liberals believe that society should fight against the racist, gendered, and classist disparities that exist in the system. When it comes to the punishment of offenders, liberals tend to lean toward a more rehabilitative focus.

In contrast, conservative politics lean toward less intervention by the government and focus on traditional values. “Conservatism also refers to a belief that existing economic and political inequalities are justified and that the existing order is about as close as is practically attainable to an ideal order” (Shelden, n.d.). On crime, conservatives see the actions of criminals as part of a rational choice process whereby the offender makes a cognitive decision to participate in criminal activity. Conservatives follow more of a “law and order” philosophy and generally cite retributive values or “eye for an eye” perspective on punishing offenders.

Given these different philosophical foundations, it is not surprising that liberals and conservatives think differently about criminal justice policies. One example is Arizona’s immigration law (called the Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, or SB 1070). Since the law was adopted in 2010, it has been debated by politicians and the public and challenged in the legal arena. One of the more controversial issues within the law calls for police officers to determine whether an individual is a legal U.S. citizen during “lawful stop, detention or arrest,” or any other form of “lawful contact” where there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. Supporters of SB 1070 (most of whom are conservative policy makers) argued that the Federal government failed to adequately police the issue of illegal immigration. For these conservatives, SB 1070 served to protect its communities from rising crime rates and other social issues (such as strains on educational resources, and the state welfare system) that they perceived were directly related to illegal immigrants. However, opponents of the law (who generally identify as more liberal on the political spectrum) argued that Arizona’s law was unconstitutional on the grounds that the implementation of SB 1070 diverted important resources away from fighting violent crimes (Gorman & Riccardi, 2010). Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the investigation of immigration status in cases of lawful stops, detention and arrest is permissible (Arizona v. United States, 2012).

Even examples of crime policy that traditionally represented bipartisan efforts to protect the interests of victims can be subjected to political controversy. Consider the most recent reauthorization efforts in 2012 of the Violence Against Women Act. First passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provided victims of intimate partner violence support through the allocation of federal funds for prosecuting offenders, coordinated services for victims, and established the Office of Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. Reauthorized with support from both sides of the political aisle in 2000 and 2005, VAWA continued to expand the rights of victims in these cases. However, the 2012 attempts to reauthorize the bill were filled with partisan debates over the protections of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) for specific populations, such as same-sex victims, immigrants, and Native Americans. What had once been joint collegial effort between Democrats and Republicans transformed into a hotly contested political debate. Regrettably, conservatives and liberal representatives were unable to find a compromise on the issues prior to the end of the 2012 congressional session (Eichelberger, 2013). The issue was once again raised at the onset of the 2013 congressional session. Despite holding a majority political representation in the House, the GOP version of the bill that advocated for narrower protections for certain population groups, ultimately failed. This paved the way for the House to pass the Senate’s version of the bill in February 2013, which ensured that LGBT, Native American, and immigrant victims have access to federally funded programs and resources (Cohen, 2013).

Regardless of values and ideologies, criminal justice issues are a hot topic for the body politic, including the White House. A focus on policing first began back in the 1930s with the creation of the Wickersham Commission (by President Hoover) and continued into the 1960s with research by groups like the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and President Johnson’s the Kerner Commission (Gardiner, 2012). However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that crime became a key component of a presidential platform when then-President Richard Nixon declared a war on crime. During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan’s emphasis on drugs and drug-related crimes was represented by the slogan “just say no.” The shift toward being tough on crime hit a turning point during the 1988 presidential elections when the Democratic candidate for president, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, was heavily criticized by Republican candidate, George Bush, for Dukakis’s support of weekend furlough releases for convicted offenders. The weekend furlough program was used by the Massachusetts State Prison as part of the State’s rehabilitation program for offenders. While Willie Horton was a convicted murder who had received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for his crime, he was still permitted to participate in the program. Unfortunately, Horton never returned from his furlough and traveled to Maryland, where he robbed a local couple, physically assaulted the male, and raped the woman (Bidinotto, 1988). As governor, Dukakis was held politically responsible for Horton’s release (which led to these crimes) and declared to be “soft on crime,” a position that ultimately contributed to his loss in the election (Benson, 2012). As a result of growing public concerns about crime, it seems that virtually every election discussion on crime issues results in a candidate presenting a “tough on crime” stance in their attempts to garner public support.

As the leader of our nation’s government structure, the president has surprisingly little power when it comes to making policy. While each president enters the office with ideas for reforming policies like health care, education, and social welfare, any eventual success of enacting these reforms is dependent on the actions of the House and the Senate. While it is up to the president to sign these acts of legislation into law, even this practice can be overruled by a two-thirds vote. In the United States, presidents have no direct ability to pass legislation; rather their goal is to persuade members of Congress to introduce items that are consistent with their interests.2

2 At the state level, similar processes occur between the governor and the state senators and representatives.

Politics and the Models of Criminal Justice

In thinking about the functions of the criminal justice system, the perspectives of liberalism and conservatism can be linked to the criminal justice models of due process and crime control. In his 1968 book The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, Herbert Packer, a law professor from Stanford University, identified how the fight between these two models forms the basis of our criminal justice system. The crime control model asserts that the most important function of the criminal justice system is to suppress and control criminal behavior as a function of public order in society. This philosophy is often aligned with a more conservative perspective. The crime control model focuses on a criminal justice system that processes criminals in an efficient, consistent manner. Packer suggested that justice under the crime control model resembled an “assembly-line.” Under the crime control model, the plea bargain is an essential tool as it allows the wheels of justice to continue to move; alternatively trials take up excessive time in the system, which slows down the efficiency of the “factory.” Here, the focus is on swift and severe punishments for offenders. For example, supporters of a crime control model argue that the identification and detention of enemy combatants following the 9/11 terror attacks was a good policy to control against future terrorist threats. Any risk of violating individual liberties was considered secondary to the need to protect and ensure the safety of the community.

In contrast, the due process model believes that the protection of individual rights and freedoms is of upmost importance. The due process model embodies more of a liberal perspective compared to the crime control model. One could argue under the due process model that it is better for the guilty to go free than to risk incarcerating or executing the innocent. In contrast to his identification of the crime control model as an “assembly-line,” Parker suggested that the due process model resembles an “obstacle course,” consisting of a variety of legal challenges that must be satisfied throughout the criminal justice process in order to hold someone accountable for a criminal action (and therefore, to punish them for said action). Indeed, the due process model emphasizes the formalized legal practices of the criminal justice process and requires that each stage of the criminal justice system represent a fair and equitable treatment of all cases and all offenders. Drawing from the 9/11 example above, supporters of the due process model argued that individuals identified as enemy combatants following the 9/11 terror attacks were denied their due process rights and were therefore detained by the United States government illegally. Under the due process model, it is not acceptable to engage in such practices just to suppress the risk for potential harm. While liberals argue that the crime control model infringes on the rights of individuals, conservatives fear that the due process model ignores crime victims and gives criminals too much leeway to escape “justice.”

The Role of Fear and the Media on Criminal Justice Policies

The majority of Americans have limited direct experience with the criminal justice system. As a result, much of the fear about crime comes not from personal victimization, but perhaps the victimization of others known to them (peers and family members), or within the general community. Much of the research on the fear of crime is gendered—women experience fear at different levels, and for different reasons than men. For women, the fear of being a victim of a crime is often related to feelings of vulnerability (Young, 1992). Some research suggests that “a loss of control over the situation and a perceived inadequate capacity to resist the direct and indirect consequences of victimization” contributes to the feelings that women have about crime (Cops & Pleysier, 2011, p. 59). For example, women are more likely to experience fear in certain environments that they perceive increase the risk of victimization, such as poorly lit parking lots and groups loitering in public spaces (Fisher & May, 2009). Despite engaging in measures to increase their safety (e.g., by avoiding these types of environments), women’s fears about being victimized (particularly by sex-based crimes) appear to increase rather than decrease (Lane, Gover, & Dahod, 2009). As De Groof (2008) explains, “fear of crime is, in other words, partly a result of feelings of personal discomfort and uncertainty, which are projected onto the threat of crime and victimization” (p. 281).

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In crime scene logic processes, both inductive and deductive reasoning is utilized.

Crime scene reconstruction depends largely on the efficacy of the crime scene process and the accuracy of data (measurements, angles, location of evidence, condition of evidence, whether at the time of the crime and lighting at the time of the crime.  The crime scene investigators must be certain that, if required, they could return to the scene where the crime occurred and recreate the scene or construct a facsimile of the crime scene as it was when it was first encountered.  Inaccuracies or mistaken interpretations may result in a reconstruction that does not hold true to the actual crime scene when it occurred.  Personnel necessary for the reconstruction may have a special training certification to participate in the reconstruction, for example, shooting scene reconstruction analyst or blood spatter pattern analyst.

Focus your discussion on the following:

  • In crime scene logic processes, both inductive and deductive reasoning is utilized.  Explain the difference between the two methods and their application to the crime scene protocol.
  • Name 2 major limitations of crime scene reconstruction.
  • Name and explain the 3 kinds of crime scene fingerprints.
  • Fingerprints are one of the mainstays for crime scene processing. There are a number of methods for obtaining fingerprints from a scene.  Explain the main process used, known as ‘dusting’ and how the print is recovered

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Criminal Position Paper Assignment

The purpose of this paper is to rebut your position in Position Paper: Defense of Weakest
Position on Threat Issue Assignment. You must convince the readers that the position you
defended in your assignment was wrong or inadequately supported by the evidence. The
information must be based on a strong foundation of facts with evidence from credible
academic sources. Remember, peer-reviewed articles are best. ALSO, by now you
should have a firm grip on the difference between a supportable conclusion and mere opinion.
Submitting mere opinion will cost you a lot of points. It is REALLY helpful to the instructor if,
when rebutting something you said in your previous assignment, you actually quote yourself
(previous statement) and perhaps even note the evidence that supported that assertion, THEN
rebut that statement/assertion by presenting either contrary evidence, or by redefining or
expounding upon the weaknesses of that prior evidence. That kind of format/organization is very
helpful to the reader in evaluating the weight of your argument/counterargument.
 Any of the references used in your Position Paper: Defense of Weakest Position on
Threat Issue Assignment may be used again, however 3 new references are required. In
addition, the textbook (chapters 9–13) must be used as a reference to cite at least 1
countering argument to your first Position Paper Assignment.
 The paper should follow strict APA guidelines. All sources must be properly cited.
 The paper must consist of 900–1,200 words.
At a minimum, the following sections are required:
Summary of issue/conclusion you presented in Position Paper: Defense of Weakest Position
on Threat Issue Assignment. In one or two paragraphs, summarize the issue you
raised/supported in the first Position Paper, and highlight your main point(s). This aids the
instructor in making sure you are “on task” per the instruction. This element of your paper is
worth ten points.
Position Statement – A brief paragraph identifying the issue(s), with a position statement
(Develop a clear and concise position statement that rebuts or counters the position in your
previous paper).
Review of Literature – This heading should have at least two subheadings (Background of
Opposing Position and Supporting Evidence). Since this is a literature review, adequate
citations should be included within each subheading. Three new (not previously used) sources
must be used and correctly cited.

Conclusion – Provide recommendations and possible courses of action. Citations can be used
here to support your recommendations.

**** These same instructions and the original paper that you must rebut is attached in the files****

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