U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Some Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice, P 17-37, 2004, Gorazd Mesko, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-207973)

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
21 pages

In introducing papers from the European conference entitled “Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice,“ this paper first presents definitions of criminal justice and then reviews the components of a criminal justice system, followed by an outline of criminological issues, brief discussions of safety and security and criminal justice research methods, and some remarks on the implementation of the criminal justice model in Central and Eastern Europe.


In discussing definitions of “criminal justice,” the paper notes that in the strictest sense, it means “criminal law, the law of criminal procedure, and the array of procedures and activities having to do with the enforcement of this body of law.” The components of criminal justice profiled are police and policing; professional and community policing; police discretion; police organization; police training, gender, and work-related issues; police deviance; private policing; and criminal law and issues of the central part of a criminal justice system. This latter component is presented under the topics of criminal law, prosecution and courts, and corrections. The review of criminological issues considers theories and research pertinent to the causes of crime, patterns of crime, and the impact of crime. The discussion of safety and security pertains to public safety responses that extend beyond the criminal justice system, notably local safety/security councils, attitudes toward private policing, private security in transitional countries, and local safety efforts and safety networks. The overview of conference papers on criminal justice research methods mentions the research procedures used to explore various types of criminal justice issues. Remarks on the implementation of the criminal justice model in Central and Eastern Europe note differences in the application of the criminal justice model between democratic and authoritarian states, an issue being confronted in the transitions being experienced by Central and Eastern European countries as they make the transition from justice systems that reflected the former Soviet model of government. 6 notes and 91 references

Date Published: September 1, 2004