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Criminal Justice Issues, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 319

Essay

No greater challenge confronts the criminal justice system than the subject of victimless crime, for it reflects an enormous aspect of the system itself.   Courts and prisons are perpetually backlogged because of the prosecution and sentencing of such “crimes”, be they drug-related offenses or variations on antiquated codes of conduct no longer applicable in society.   Moreover, and most importantly, the system’s insistent and widespread pursuit of victimless crime is a damaging relic of ancient legal structures, still in place from eras wherein the concept of legislating morality was both desirable and possible.   In modern times, this is known to be both an inappropriately motivated and essentially ineffective way to proceed.

Turning to the example of drug traffic, the United States expends extraordinary amounts of energy and resources in combating a battle inherently impossible to win.   The Prohibition years, when the sale of alcohol was rendered illegal, provide a striking and conclusive case of how such a policy of legislating morality must fail.   Not only were the restrictions largely ignored by the public, the Volstead  Act accomplished precisely what the criminal justice system is in place to suppress: more crime, greater profit incentives for criminals, and violence created by the criminal activities enabled by the law (Fernandez,  2002,  p. 15).   In a misguided attempt to better the society by denying it the opportunity to “victimize” itself, the government set in motion a massive criminal enterprise.

The criminal justice system can best amend itself, not through further modifying of existing laws, but by reviewing the basis of them.   There must be a departure from the traditional concept of enforcing morality, or putting into effect laws that will reflect a mainstream ideology not necessarily in place.  More importantly, individual responsibility and personal liberties are better protected by acknowledging that the law has no place where the only “victim” is the perpetrator.

References

Fernandez, J.  (2002).  Victimless Crimes: Crime, Justice, and Punishment.  New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers.

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