Uniform Crime Reports, and the National Crime Victimization Surveys and the advantages.
The criminal justice system in the United States aims to provide justice for all American citizens involved in a criminal offence. The aim of the system is to ensure transparency in cases handled in the courts, and provide the public with offence information. In the running of the affairs, the justice system runs a report-based initiative, the Uniform Crime Reporting, that provides information to the public. Currently, the Uniform Crime Reporting, a concept that was conceived by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is an initiative under the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The agency uses it as a channel to publish crime reports to the public for easy access to the information. The information published consists of crime information obtained from different levels of police across the country. While seeking to provide complete information, the justice system also creates awareness through the National Crime Victimization Survey, a reporting tool in form of a survey mainly used to publish household crimes that occur across the United States. This includes crimes reported in the form of rape, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, and motor vehicle theft at the household levels.
The advantage of the Uniform Crime Reporting is that it provides the public with crime-related information and statistics (Walsh and Craig 34). This is important since the public can act as an oversight body in order to mitigate and streamline the justice system and to reduce criminal acts across the country. This can result in transparency and accountability in crime matters to ensure police devise strategies of mitigating criminal acts. The National Victimization Survey can also help direct policy interventions at the justice system, whereby the department of state might craft laws and strategies to ensure a cohesive community, mainly through partnership between communities and the state, especially where sensitive information on household crimes can be accessed freely.
Q2 Police abuse of power and challenges of controlling this abuse
The justice system also faces a number of problems in the manner how police abuse their power. In most cases, this occurs through manipulation of case files in collaboration with court officials, use of force in domestic issues, and improper use of firearms at the community level.
Manipulation of Case Files
Police can abuse their powers by manipulating the evidence files to be presented in a court case. This can occur through fabrication of evidence and incriminating an individual, especially where the victim’s race is a factor, which may lead to falsification of evidence and manipulation of information. This is an abuse that the police may use in the course of justice in a court case.
Use of Force
The police may sometimes use the formal uniform to break laws. This is common at the community level, whereby an officer may afflict persons in his/her neighborhood. In most circumstances, a police may use excessive force on a suspect to intimidate or coerce them as a means of interrogation. This may result in an assault.
Improper use of Firearms
This is an abuse common both in the city and at the community level. An officer may abuse their power by drawing a firearm against an individual in non-work related instances. This may occur at a drinking joint, at the supermarket, or at public spaces.
Despite the police are expected to ensure a peaceful environment, controlling abuse of power among the force becomes a problem. This is because, in some cases, it is difficult to determine the guilty party. In other cases, controlling the vice becomes a problem since most officers have to carry a firearm in order to maintain peace. However, independent persons such as prosecutors play a significant role in the justice system, especially in the delivery and administration of justice where they play an independent role. Their discretion is important if justice is to be administered to the victims and offenders. This is commonly termed as prosecutorial discretion, which entails the prosecutor’s decision to charge or dismiss a criminal case within the court system.
Q3 Role that a prosecutor’s plays in the criminal court system
Prosecutors just like other court officials play a very significant role in ensuring justice is achieved in the judiciary and as such are critical in the criminal court system. Among the roles played by a prosecutor includes substantiating the evidence before a court of justice. This may lead to a court decision such as upholding the crime. In this, through their own observation in a case, a prosecutor makes statements to prove that the victim had been involved in a criminal offence. Therefore, based on the analysis of presented evidence and facts, the prosecutor has the role of presenting the same before the jury in order to cement his/her claim which can have weight in the case. On the other hand, the prosecutor has a role to ensure that justice prevails in the community depending on the nature of the criminal offence. The prosecutor thus ensures that criminal offences regarding the community are handled to safeguard the interests of the community and the public as a whole. Through this, the prosecutor’s discretion is to maintain justice by ensuring that both offenders and victims are accordingly served in the courts. The United States heavily depends on the prosecutors to safeguard the criminal justice system. They have a role to ensure that justice prevails for the betterment of parties involved. They are independent, and their discretion entails a lot, especially where criminal charges are to be upheld or dismissed. As such they are a key pillar in ensuring justice is served to either party in a criminal court.
Walsh, Anthony, and Craig Hemmens. Introduction to Criminology. SAGE, 2008.