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American System of Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
G P Alpert
Date Published
149 pages
This text reviews the organization and general This text reviews the organization and general processes of criminal justice in the United States as well as the operation and interrelationships among law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.
An introductory chapter presents flow charts and a narrative description of the flow of a case through the criminal justice system, starting with the reporting of an offense and the initiation of the investigation. A chapter on law enforcement explains the role of the police, the contradictions involved in this role, and the relationship between policing and the social organization of the community. The functions which make up traditional police work, police work in the mid-1980's, police training, administrative control, the handling of police misconduct, and the interface between the police and the courts are covered. A discussion of the courts describes their structure and functions and the sequence of events in a trial. The roles of attorneys, judges, victims, and witnesses are explained. A section on corrections institutions covers the role and effectiveness of jails and prisons. The development of the prison environment and prison conditions in the 1980's are discussed. Effects of imprisonment on inmates, correctional programs and their impacts, and the general failure of incarceration are emphasized. Issues facing the criminal justice system, discussion questions, figures, notes, a list of cases, an index, and 168 references are included.