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