American Criminal Justice System

The American criminal justice system goes through several processes such as the police process which entails pre-trial, the court process where the actual trial takes place, and finally the correctional process which is the post-trial process for those found guilty.Prosecutors play a significant role of charging or declining to charge and this discretion is unfettered therefore they can be considered as a crucial part of the criminal justice system. The prosecutor has the mandate to provide justice and not necessarily obtain convictions (Howell, 2014). The con of this discretion by prosecutors is that procedural justice is undermined because they are overwhelmed by an increase in the number of cases in lower courts caused by over-policing. The pro of this discretion by prosecutors is that they have the power to deal with the lack of justice and racial disparities caused by over-enforcement of minor offenses such as selling goods without a vendor’s license, sitting on two sits on a subway and consumption of alcohol in public.

The adversarial approach has its limitations especially when it comes to discovering the truth and numerous reforms have been proposed to amend adversarialism. The adversarial approach allows for the control of examination of witnesses by the parties which flaws the promotion of accuracy. This approach embodies non-instrumental values and some of them may obstruct truth finding and in addition, the trials cost the tax payers a lot of money in this time of economic austerity (Ferguson, 2017). Acquittal of those who are innocent is the major goal of the adversarial approach through the process of rigorously testing the prosecution case and ensuring that those who are guilty are convicted and this can be said to be one of the pros of the adversarial approach. Additionally, the adversarial approach follows the due process where procedural fairness is observed and that the outcome should justify the means followed (Ferguson, 2017).

The court can be described as an organization that embeds a larger environment incorporating other entities such as police departments, prisons, probation departments, other legal law and policies. Organization cultures within the structures of the court, local political and other criminal justice systems may overlap from time to time and influence decision making. The overlapping justice may complicate otherwise straightforward decisions due to the complex time it may take to come into an agreement between the different jurisdictions. For example, the child protection service may overlap with the youth justice system and justice may be delayed due to the back and forth between the two jurisdictions.The American criminal justice system is more inclined towards the perpetrator as more often than not, the victims go without justice and when it is served it is usually delayed. For example, the police brutality cases are yet to be resolved with the death of high profile cases such as that of Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland (Alang et al, 2017). The police who are supposed to serve justice are at times caught in the way of justice and they are only suspended from their job posts and their trial process takes a very long time to get justice such as the case of George Floyd who was recently killed by a police officer sparking huge protests all over America.










Alang, S., McAlpine, D., McCreedy, E., & Hardeman, R. (2017). Police Brutality and Black Health: Setting the Agenda for Public Health Scholars. American journal of public health107(5), 662–665.

Ferguson, R. P (2017).Should Adversarial Systems of Justice Become More Like Inquisitorial Ones?Reforming Criminal Procedure

Howell, K. B. (2014). Prosecutorial Discretion and the Duty to Seek Justice in an Overburdened Criminal Justice System. Geo. J. Legal Ethics27, 285.



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American Criminal Justice System . (2021, November 10). The Studypool . Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
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