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Criminal Justice Policy Process Essay

The criminal justice policy-making process is interesting to say the least. There are three levels of government branches which are Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Looking into how the policy-making process works one finds that Federal and State has their hand in the process of making criminal justice policies, while local government is receiving many benefits by getting on board with the policy-making federal and state government branches.

Criminal Justice Policy Process Criminal justice policy-making process as fascinating as it is there are a lot of strings to benefiting from the process. Criminal justice policy actions taken at the federal and state levels affect local criminal justice agencies in various ways. Many policies provide grants and other forms of assistance to local police departments and other criminal justice agencies. However, to receive additional funding the local branches are mandated to do certain things such as getting into bed with the state or federal government good or bad.

A good example of this is the policies related to the “war on drugs,” poured billions into the coffers of local law enforcement authorities, who in turn stepped up their drug enforcement and investigation activities, arrested many suspected drug dealers and users (Hall, 2013). Many times the actions by state and national (federal) policy issues will result in legislators passing new laws to address the issue. Ordering local agencies to enforce the new law passed with little or no funding, and minimal if any guidance on how to enforce the new law.

Arizona passed a new illegal immigrants law in April of 2010, which the Arizona law enforcement opposed. The problem was not passing the new law it is however, the strain it will have on the local police departments. Currently the officers are required by this new law to detain all illegal immigrants, time and money is the price for this new law. “In other cases, the local level of the criminal justice system bears the cost when state and federal officials fail to act. Overcrowding in state prisons provides one example.

During the 1980s, overcrowded conditions in Texas prisons resulted in many county jails being forced to house inmates awaiting transfer to state prisons. This imposed heavy costs on local jail operators, with no help from state officials, who faced federal court pressure to reduce crowding in state prisons. Texas built new prisons and expanded others but made no policy changes to reduce recidivism rates or provide alternatives to incarceration, according to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition” (Hall, 2013).

So it does seem that at the federal level of the criminal justice policy-making process that agency is highly involved with helping to make the new policies. Just as with the state government branch they also are involved in the new policy-making process. One can see how the local branches are not involved in the policy-making process but are involved with reaping the benefits of the new policies or shouldering the hardships caused by them. During the research information such as the branches of the government are as follows the Legislative branch is the branch that makes new laws.

The Executive branch is the branch that carries out the laws, and the judicial branch is the branch that interprets the laws. Again this is fascinating how the three branches work with the federal, state, and local branches of the government. The federal branch although it is known help to make laws that is not all they do they also help to enforce laws. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is a good example of enforcing the law. This branch is governed by an entirely different set of rules. It is able to cross state lines, can even leave the country if that is where the investigation leads the case.

The state branch is also involved in the policy-making process as well as enforcing the laws which are made. The state houses many criminals in the state penal institutes. State law enforcement are ruled by a standard that has jurisdictions and are not able to cross state lines even if that is where the investigation leads, the must call in the FBI to finish the case. As they say things role downhill the state can call on the local agencies to help them out. The criminal justice policy-making process is in place to deal with issues that come up.

Throughout time different issues have needed new ways to deal with them so policy is made and laws are set to fix the problem. The United States Constitution has been ratified starting in 1791proving that all laws and policies are subject to change over time. (Ritchie, 2005) As fascinating as Criminal justice policy-making process is there are a lot of strings attached to benefiting from the process. Criminal justice policy actions taken at the federal and state levels affect local criminal justice agencies in various ways.

One can understand which agencies help to make the laws and which agencies reap the most rewards from the policy-making process. To conclude that the federal and state branches come out ahead would be an understatement. One can clearly see that the local branches of government have more red tape to deal with and have more hoops to jump through to receive the funding needed to do the best job. One could conclude that all matters of criminal justice policy-making process are beneficial to all branches. Depending on the interrupter because others may believe none of the branches benefit from the policy-making process.


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