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Critique of Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Criminologie V 11 Issue: 2 Dated: (1978) Pages: 6-24
G A B Watson
Date Published
19 pages
Criticisms of the Canadian apparatus for criminal justice are discussed.
Criticisms relate to general problem areas: 1) unclear definition of functions of various elements within the system, 2) dissatisfaction (especially of police) with the gap between court procedures and street realities, 3) alienation of the community from the police, and 4) shortcomings in organization and communication within justice agencies. A lack of operational standards and of a clear understanding of the 'application of law' in the broad sense has hampered the system's ability to function effectively. These problems have been addressed in reports of the National Advisory Commission and the American Bar Association, which conclude that standards must reflect the character and mission of the police. Questions which must be weighed carefully in the process of developing norms pertain to application of the law within the context of democratic philosophies, the division of responsibilities in the given political system, the need for public education about laws and their application, and the role of the public in police and criminal justice. Furthermore, the relationships among police, courts, and correctional services must be assessed from the standpoint of citizens who are affected by the system. Police activities are in need of coordination and restructuring (i.e., replacement of the military model). Finally, sound standards for application of the law must be based on thorough research rather than conjecture.--in French.