The Legal Landscape
The technology evolution directly impacts the manner the criminal justice system works at important levels. An extensive range of technology are implemented in justice system support. This include weapons, telephony, automobiles, computers, and database management software. The technology implementation and adoption also directly shapes the justice system practices and policies. For instance, in the early 1900s, the modern transportation and communications technologies development increased the police response capability and modified citizens call services. Cellular and computers technologies have increased communications, information sharing, and data processing capacity across and within agencies. The increasing social dependence on computer-mediated and internet communication have guided law enforcement to create tools to investigate online crimes. Therefore technology plays an essential role in the justice system (Holt, 2013).
Technology advancement has also made it easy to make criminal investigation and bring those responsible into justices. For instance, the development of technology to permit fingerprints reading and DNA typing has highly enabled the justice system to identify the actual culprits in the crime scene. DNA garments are collected on the site of crime or on the tools that were used to commit the crime. This can include blood, body tissues, or sperms and they are matched with those of the suspects and results report is generated. A similar procedure is used to confirm the presence of a suspect or involvement of a suspect in a crime scene where fingerprints collected in the scene of crime or in crime weapon, or stolen goods are matched with those of the suspect and results generated.
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Other social science technology advancement has highly facilitated in judicial decision making regarding the fate of an offender based on the offender’s state of mind. For instance computer model to evaluate rate of recidivism has highly facilitated the decision of whether to release an offender after correction or not. The three technologies which include molecular biology, information science and social science have played a great part in transforming criminal justice system operations and eased the process of decisions making in the system (Princeton, 1988). The criminal justice databases are used to store previous information regarding a case. This include the DNA analysis results, criminal fingerprints, criminal images, and criminal records of an individual among other things. It may also store information such as legal judgment and laws and policies employed to pass this judgment based on the provided evidence.
Policy making in the criminal justice system started long before the revolution period and since then, their impact has been felt for long in the justice system of America. Policy making in criminal justice is as a result of a changing vertical and horizontal decision making power. Decisions are made by policy makers in a dynamic process whereby different factors impact what, when, and how decisions are made and policy to be instituted in that particular case. Policy is created on an incremental manner and it is developed on two stages the initial stage being wide policy parameters establishment and policy parameters translation to policy programs. Policy are made as a result of the political and moral forces confluence which permits an action to take place (Miller, 1973). Policies play a great role in determining how criminal justice system should handle different situation in their normal operations. The change of policy and the amendments of the United States constitution have also influenced the operation the US justice system. In most cases, the changes and amendments have limited the workability of the justice system of the country (Garrison, 2009).
There are a number of policies that have been imposed in the country which have a great impact in the criminal justice system. For instance, the introduction of the privacy act which was created to protect the electronic accounts privacy limits the accessibility of these accounts to different agencies and define the procedure to handle such information. However, the criminal justice authority is exempted from some policy restrictions when doing investigation on cyber related crimes. It also limit sharing of personal information among agencies. However, it allows sharing of this information for security purposes and thus making it easy for the criminal justice system to do their investigation. Others such as gun control laws which gives restrictions to the use, manufacturing, modification, sale, possession and transfer of firearms makes it easy for the criminal justice system to investigate crimes related with firearms and shooting.
The USA PATRIOT Act which was established to fight terrorism makes it everybody’s role to fight terrorism and thus making it easy for the criminal justice system to obtain information from other agencies and the entire public. Others include the three strike law which allows the judiciary to increase criminal sentence of individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes for two or more times previously. This prevent the criminal system from being nagged by one person from now and them and make them focus to other crimes or criminals (Garrison, 2009). Megan law is another law used to reduce cases of recidivism. It involves the registration of sex offenders and thus, reducing resources that could be used to reconvicting a former corrected offender. Other useful policies include lie detector used to identify witnesses giving false statement, truth in sentencing law, domestic violence laws, truth in sentencing laws and inmate classification systems among others.
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