Understanding the Components of the Criminal Justice System

Law Enforcement Police Officer

Perhaps one of the most unique industries within America is the United States criminal justice system. This encompassing and dynamic system features a myriad of levels and parts. Each of these parts features a unique legal focus, and while they may seem separated, they all work in unison to provide full coverage and continuity of law. Although we can dissect the United States criminal justice system into a variety of parts, there are three primary components which comprise the entire legal system.

Component #1 – Law Enforcement

The fundamental component within the United States criminal justice system is law enforcement. This unique component consists of police officers, federal agents, park/game rangers and detectives – just to name a few. These are the professionals who typically make the first contact with criminals and are essential to providing safety to the general public. They are the ones who uphold local, state and federal laws and make apprehensions should a crime be committed.

Law enforcement professionals must be well-versed in the rights of suspected criminals as well as the regulations when it comes to search and seizure. Police officers must also be aware of the various civil and citizen rights to ensure the rights of all Americans aren’t compromised during an investigation or response to potential crimes. If becoming a police officer interests you, there are many resources available that outline how to become a police officer fast so you can jump right into the career. Your Police Career states that becoming a police officer is a great career, as it is a stable position with excellent state-run pensions and retirement programs available after your tenure.

Component #2 – The Court System

The next level of the United States criminal justice system is the court system. The key individuals who are found within this level of the legal system include attorney’s, jury members and judges. The majority of these positions are held by elected officials, such as judges and district attorneys. The court system is where an arrested offender undergoes a trial by his peers in order to determine whether or not he is guilty or innocent of his suspected crime. Should the offender be found guilty, they are then ushered into the next – and final – level of the criminal justice system.

Component #3 – The Correctional System

The final layer of the Untied States criminal justice system is the correctional system. This unique component handles criminals who have been convicted of a crime. Key persons within this layer of the system include: correctional officers, parole officers and probation officers. Each professional within the correctional system work together to ensure the offender carries out his or her sentence according to the statutes established by state and federal laws as well as by the sentencing judge.