Two types of justice systems, criminal as well as social justice system, govern our society. Social justice system is for ensuring social justice to a person, where as criminal laws are for ensuring criminal justice or for punishing those who are violating these laws. But there would be circumstances in life when a criminal offense would be justified under social justice. The present paper is intended to analyze the importance as well as level to which social justice is implemented in a criminal organization.
While implementing social justice in criminal justice organization it is necessary to differentiate social justice from criminal justice. The social justice system is for dealing with the people or group of people who are in need. For example, to facilitate aid to the people who are affected by poverty, to the aged people who are not getting proper care, for the children deprived of basic necessities and education etc. The criminal justice system on the other hand deals with the criminal offense done by individual or group of individuals.
Thus the only similarity in both these system is the word “justice” in them (Higham, 2006). In most of the countries there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people in the prison and the rate of growth of the prison population is increasing day by day (Robinson, 2007). Most of these cases are just the violation of a license or other small cases. Once the offender is in prison, he has to be there for a long period because of the delays in the judiciary system. This would have serious negative impact on the society as a whole as well in individual life.
It has been noted that social deprivation is one of the main reasons for these criminal cases. If the eligible needs and aids are provided, it is possible to reduce such crimes to a certain extent. Thus government is also playing its role in the increase of such cases. Therefore it is necessary to incorporate some aspects of the social justice system also in criminal justice system, so as to build up society rather than disrupting it (Robinson, 2007). Studies have revealed that more than half of the prisoners were homeless, did not have proper education and were unemployed before imprisonment.
So if they were provided basic necessities and basic education at least, these crimes could have been avoided. Drugs and poor mental health are other reasons for such crimes, which again points to social justice system. So the increase in criminal cases in the recent years is mostly because of the lack of efficiency of social justice system in the society (Higham, 2006). The criminal justice system in any society is meant for creating a peaceful atmosphere by differentiating acceptable and non-acceptable behavior and encouraging the people to adopt acceptable behavior by giving punishments to the unacceptable behavior.
These behaviors would be acceptable or non acceptable not only in criminal laws, but also in the eyes of the society. But in some cases when the society accepts a behavior as acceptable, the criminal justice system would not. In some other cases, when the criminal justice system views a case as non-punishable, it might be unacceptable by society. Thus social justice system contradicts criminal justice system in such cases (Falconer, 2006). According to Heffernan (2000) if a mother of a boy who is having serious heart problems commits a medical aid fraud at a time when the boy is quite normal should not be punished.
This is because; the mother knows that the child could become serious at any time. She wants the medical aid of the government to be made available to the child. But if she waits until the child becomes serious, she may not get the aid in time. So in order to facilitate medical aid to the diseased son, the mother is committing a mistake. In the view of the society, this is not punishable, but as per criminal laws this is punishable. Under these circumstance the society or the people lose confidence in criminal justice system.
Thus it is highly essential for the criminal justice system to be in line with the views of the society or social justice, so as to create a society in which people are tolerant and successful, where the good intentions of the people are not neglected or badly treated (Falconer, 2006). The criminal justice system has to include or consider the values considered as important by the society. Then the social justice system will be implemented through criminal justice system. This condition should prevail even in the dynamic phases of the society, which will be changing its face in one way or the other every day.
Issues such as terrorism, diverse culture in a single society etc should never come in the way of this criminal/social justice system. Then the criminal justice system would not be viewed upon as a negative process punishing people but will be viewed upon as a positive process helping the people to actively participate in the overall development of the country. Today most of the criminal courts are dealing with a large number of cases, which are trivial in nature. The history of such cases reveals that it is straightforward and has been committed for an immediate need.
So the question here is whether it is right to deal with these petty cases in the same manner as big crimes. In any justice system the guilty should be punished and innocent should be freed. But the extent of court trials and punishments for small cases need not be the same as real crimes. In most cases the offender would admit his mistake easily and would be ready to accept punishments such as doing a work without payment or a fine etc. Introduction of such a system would lessen the bulk of cases waiting for court trials and would make the justice system socialized.
In such cases poor people who are committing mistakes out of their dare needs could be spared from severe court proceedings and punishments. Such a system would reduce the cost of court proceedings to a great extent (Falconer, 2006). Yet another advantage of socializing criminal justice system is that as soon as the mistake is committed, the punishment also could be given, which would create a fear in people’s mind not to do such mistakes or the seriousness towards laws would increase.
Such actions would increase public confidence in justice system, when people see that apt punishment is given for an offender in time (Falconer, 2006). An important factor that needs consideration in this system is on how to deal with a criminal who is doing the same mistake again and again. There is a need to keep track records and such offender has to be recognized and has to be dealt-with in a different manner (Falconer, 2006).
In order to introduce social justice in a criminal organization there is the need to establish specialists courts or pre-courts to deal with such criminal cases which are to be viewed through the eyes of the society. There needs to be separate laws for such cases. Repetition of similar offence could be directed to the usual criminal procedures. This would foster humanitarian considerations in the criminal justice system, reduce the time and cost for the court proceedings and punishments, increase public confidence and finally could reduce the crimes in a society (Falconer, 2006).
For the people who are drug addicts or for those who have poor mental health, instead of locking them in prison there should be arrangements to treat tem and to take them to the society as normal people who are capable of earning for themselves. Considering the fact that a vast majority of prisoners have either drug or mental problem, a policy to help them out of such situation is more important than a criminal justice system, which can only put them in prison. In this way criminal justice system could act for social inclusion rather than social exclusion.
So this is another aspect where social justice system has to be correlated with criminal justice system (Cook, 2006). Thus it could be seen that only when social justice system is incorporated into the criminal justice system, the crimes could be reduced and society could proper. Trivial cases generating out of basic needs and cases due to drug addiction and other mental problems should be considered separately. Such steps would reduce time and money inputs in court proceedings and would increase the public confidence in the justice system as a whole.
Courtney from Study Moose