Sample Essay on Criminal Justice Policy SB

Criminal Justice Policy SB

In the United States, just like several other countries, great success and achievements have been witnessed in police departments in recent years. These are highlighted in the significant reduction of crime rates and several other illegal activities in which civilians are involved. Research indicates that crime rates in the US have reduced by almost 50% in the last two decades, and this is coupled with notable lower levels of unlawful behaviors such as corruption among police officials and civilians. These perspectives can be attributed to the application of the concepts of legitimacy and procedural justice by the criminal justice system. Essentially, procedural justice and legitimacy refer to the measurements that indicate the level or extent to which civilians trust or have confidence in the criminal justice system, believe in the honesty and competence of the police, and have perceptions that treatment towards civilians by the police is fair and desirable (Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012).

The application of legitimacy and procedural justice has influenced the deference of civilians to both police authority and the law. Moreover, the application of the same has boosted the willingness of the public to provide vital intelligence information, which has helped police departments, and as a result, their effectiveness in service delivery has been witnessed.  The perceptions that people have regarding legitimacy and procedural justice are influenced by their interactions or encounters with the police, and how the latter handles day-to-day situations such traffic and larger policy issues. Opinions revolving around legitimacy and procedural justice vary from one individual to another or from one group of the community to another. Despite the positives that accompany the application of procedural justice, police departments face an uphill task in thinking about the perceptions of the public towards the same. In fact, this has jeopardized the efforts police agencies to achieve the set goals and objectives of legitimacy and procedural justice.

It should be noted that legislations and policies formulated by federal, state, and local governments have implicated the criminal justice system, and in turn, have either compromised or facilitated the application of procedural justice and legitimacy. To begin with, various levels of government have incepted policies that push for the provision of financial assistance to the criminal justice system. As a result, the latter has been in a favorable position to enforce laws, supervise criminal justice, and prevent crime in every context. The enthusiasm and commitment shown by police agencies, as illustrated by programs such as community policing, are influenced by governmental policies. For instance, the federal government has come up with the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), that has been instrumental in the enhancement of community policing, and thus, boosting the application of procedural justice and legitimacy (Robinson & Darley, 2007).

Moreover, the federal government’s policy concerning the registration of sex offenders has had negative implications for criminal justice. Activist groups argue that the policy is not only inflexible but preemptive and outdated, and should not be implemented by state governments. The policy has resulted in the failure of police agencies to handle cases dealing with sex offenders, and this has jeopardized the application of legitimacy and procedural justice in the US. Evidently, while implementing the policy, the federal government has failed to offer vital support or assistance to state governments.  The lack of clear policies regarding the operations of the juvenile justice cannot go unnoticed, and thus, the criminal justice system has no idea of which and in what situations juvenile offenders should be treated like adults (Cole et al, 2015). The effectiveness of juvenile justice has been hampered by the lack of support from the federal government, and this has trickled down to police agencies that have found it hard to apply legitimacy and procedural justice.

Nevertheless, whether the criminal justice system will regain the confidence and trust of the members of the public depends on its effective formulation, negotiation, and implementation of policies related to procedural justice and legitimacy at the local level. First, the CJ system should focus more and listen carefully to issues affecting members of the public rather than emphasizing issues such as vandalism and other violations that are not of interest to them. More meetings between stakeholders of the criminal justice system and the members of the public that focus on the needs and desires of the latter should be held (Cole et al, 2016).  Second, the criminal justice system should roll out plans that would see active community policing. With the latter, the members of the public will have the opportunity of giving information willingly to police agencies regarding perpetrators of criminal activities. Moreover, community policing will enable members of the public to give their opinions freely regarding police agencies’ service delivery. Third, the CJ system should focus on explaining their actions to the members of the public who are directly affected or involved in the actions. For instance, traffic problems being menaces facing the public, the CJ system should come up with actions such as traffic enforcement that will directly address the problem faced by the members of public. Through this, the formulation, negotiation, and implementation of policies relating to procedural justice and legitimacy will be more effective.


Bottoms, A., & Tankebe, J. (2012). Beyond procedural justice: A dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. The journal of criminal law and criminology, 119-170.

Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2015). Criminal justice in America. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2016). The American system of criminal justice. Nelson Education.

Robinson, P. H., & Darley, J. M. (2007). Intuitions of justice: Implications for criminal law and justice policy. S. Cal. L. Rev., 81, 1.