The criminal justice system was created to place a fair and standard process of defining crimes, apprehending criminals, and delivering punishment. The criminal justice system is important to enforce the laws and reprimand offenders. The elements in this system include the law enforcement agents, the judiciary, and the corrections.
While the law enforcement agencies arrest offenders and prevent crimes, the judiciary consists of courts to allow suspected offenders to receive a fair trial and pass an impartial judgment. The purpose of the correctional system is to rehabilitate the people found guilty of a crime by the judiciary and ensure successful reentry into their communities.
However, there is an overuse of this system which may be detrimental to the idea of providing justice. For instance, the overcriminalization of some offenses may be unnecessary. Many statutes at the federal, state, and local levels involve criminal regulations and different criminal penalties. Some of the conducts that attract criminal penalties may be unnecessary. While they can be suitable alternatives that can curb these problems, the overcriminalization of these conducts will result in the unnecessary punishment of offenders by incarceration.
Likewise, the overuse of prosecution in the criminal justice system reflects the numerous criminal offenses that get prosecuted. Some of these violations can be handled with alternative methods that can be more efficient. For instance, offenders prosecuted for the violation of using illegal substances may be better off in a rehabilitation facility rather than serving time in prison. It is more effective to ensure that the offender desists from the violation.
The overuse of the incarceration of offenders as a common punishment for criminal offenses may also be detrimental to the justice system. The U.S prisons suffer from overcrowding and violence due to this phenomenon. By the end of 2020, the country held 1.2 million prisons in state and federal correctional facilities. The incarceration rate grew astronomically over the decades partly due to the overuse of incarceration punishment. Payment of fines and other forms of justice negotiation are alternative punishments suitable for non-violent offenders.
Many people held in jails for non-violent offenses may fail to meet the bail conditions because they cannot afford it.
The overuse of justice fines and fees is also prevalent in the criminal justice system. Individuals usually face this in non-serious cases and may be required to pay court fines and other legal fees. However, many people may be unable to afford these fees or fines. Failure to do this may result in their arrest or picking up another violation.