❤❤❤ Essay On Criminal Justice System
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Criminal Justice System - Video Essay (Rough Draft)
When we talk about criminal justice reform, we, as a society, focus on three things. We complain, we tweet, we protest about the police, about sentencing laws and about prison. We rarely, if ever, talk about the prosecutor. In the fall of , a young man was arrested by the Boston Police Department. He was 18 years old, he was African American and he was a senior at a local public school. He had his sights set on college but his part-time, minimum-wage job wasn't providing the financial opportunity he needed to enroll in school. In a series of bad decisions, he stole 30 laptops from a store and sold them on the Internet. This led to his arrest and a criminal complaint of 30 felony charges.
The potential jail time he faced is what stressed Christopher out the most. But what he had little understanding of was the impact a criminal record would have on his future. I was standing in arraignments that day when Christopher's case came across my desk. And at the risk of sounding dramatic, in that moment, I had Christopher's life in my hands. I was 29 years old, a brand-new prosecutor, and I had little appreciation for how the decisions I would make would impact Christopher's life. Christopher's case was a serious one and it needed to be dealt with as such, but I didn't think branding him a felon for the rest of his life was the right answer.
For the most part, prosecutors step onto the job with little appreciation of the impact of our decisions, regardless of our intent. Despite our broad discretion, we learn to avoid risk at all cost, rendering our discretion basically useless. History has conditioned us to believe that somehow, the criminal justice system brings about accountability and improves public safety, despite evidence to the contrary. We're judged internally and externally by our convictions and our trial wins, so prosecutors aren't really incentivized to be creative at our case dispositions, or to take risks on people we might not otherwise.
We stick to an outdated method, counterproductive to achieving the very goal that we all want, and that's safer communities. Yet most prosecutors standing in my space would have arraigned Christopher. They have little appreciation for what we can do. Arraigning Christopher would give him a criminal record, making it harder for him to get a job, setting in motion a cycle that defines the failing criminal justice system today.
With a criminal record and without a job, Christopher would be unable to find employment, education or stable housing. Without those protective factors in his life, Christopher would be more likely to commit further, more serious crime. The more contact Christopher had with the criminal justice system, the more likely it would be that he would return again and again and again — all at tremendous social cost to his children, to his family and to his peers.
And, ladies and gentlemen, it is a terrible public safety outcome for the rest of us. When I came out of law school, I did the same thing as everybody else. I came out as a prosecutor expected to do justice, but I never learned what justice was in my classes — none of us do. None of us do. And yet, prosecutors are the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system. Our power is virtually boundless. In most cases, not the judge, not the police, not the legislature, not the mayor, not the governor, not the President can tell us how to prosecute our cases.
The decision to arraign Christopher and give him a criminal record was exclusively mine. I would choose whether to prosecute him for 30 felonies, for one felony, for a misdemeanor, or at all. I would choose whether to leverage Christopher into a plea deal or take the case to trial, and ultimately, I would be in a position to ask for Christopher to go to jail. These are decisions that prosecutors make every day unfettered, and we are unaware and untrained of the grave consequences of those decisions.
One night this past summer, I was at a small gathering of professional men of color from around the city. As I stood there stuffing free finger sandwiches into my mouth, as you do as public servant —. I noticed across the room, a young man waving and smiling at me and approaching me. And I recognized him, but I couldn't place from where, and before I knew it, this young man was hugging me. And thanking me. See, I never arraigned Christopher. He never faced a judge or a jail, he never had a criminal record.
Instead, I worked with Christopher; first on being accountable for his actions, and then, putting him in a position where he wouldn't re-offend. We recovered 75 percent of the computers that he sold and gave them back to Best Buy, and came up with a financial plan to repay for the computers we couldn't recover. Christopher did community service. He wrote an essay reflecting on how this case could impact his future and that of the community. He applied to college, he obtained financial aid, and he went on to graduate from a four-year school. After we finished hugging, I looked at his name tag, to learn that Christopher was the manager of a large bank in Boston. Christopher had accomplished — and making a lot more money than me —.
He had accomplished all of this in the six years since I had first seen him in Roxbury Court. I can't take credit for Christopher's journey to success, but I certainly did my part to keep him on the path. There are thousands of Christophers out there, some locked in our jails and prisons. We need thousands of prosecutors to recognize that and to protect them. An employed Christopher is better for public safety than a condemned one. It's a bigger win for all of us. In retrospect, the decision not to throw the book at Christopher makes perfect sense. When I saw him that first day in Roxbury Court, I didn't see a criminal standing there.
I saw myself — a young person in need of intervention. As an individual caught selling a large quantity of drugs in my late teens, I knew firsthand the power of opportunity as opposed to the wrath of the criminal justice system. Along the way, with the help and guidance of my district attorney, my supervisor and judges, I learned the power of the prosecutor to change lives instead of ruining them. And that's how we do it in Boston. We helped a woman who was arrested for stealing groceries to feed her kids get a job. Instead of putting an abused teenager in adult jail for punching another teenager, we secured mental health treatment and community supervision. A runaway girl who was arrested for prostituting, to survive on the streets, needed a safe place to live and grow — something we could help her with.
I even helped a young man who was so afraid of the older gang kids showing up after school, that one morning instead of a lunchbox into his backpack, he put a loaded 9-millimeter. We would spend our time that we'd normally take prepping our cases for months and months for trial down the road by coming up with real solutions to the problems as they presented. Which is the better way to spend our time? How would you prefer your prosecutors to spend theirs? Something like abcnews. It will also tell you if the publication is meant to be satirical, like the Onion.
Pay Attention to Writing Quality. Does the publication have all caps or way too many emphatic punctuation marks?!?!?!? Proper reporting does not adhere to such informal grammar. The article you are reading is probably not vetted. Check out the Sources and Citations. Does the publisher meet academic citation standards? Your teachers and professors constantly tell you to cite and reference appropriately. This is how we can check your sources. The same is true for online news. Check the sources. Ask the Pros Check out fact-checking websites like factcheck. Lab, S. Crime Prevention: Approaches, Practices, and Evaluations. New York, NY: Routledge. Holcomb, J. Criminal Justice: The Essentials 3rd ed. New York, NY. Oxford University Press. Previous: 4: Criminal Justice Policy.
Next: 4.How to write a drama essay introduction, dissertation juridique actes de commerce. Oklahoma has amended classifications for Essay On Criminal Justice System possession charges Essay On Criminal Justice System property offenses to Essay On Criminal Justice System as misdemeanors Essay On Criminal Justice System State Question Another reform Washington is working towards is bail reform.