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Old 08-26-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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What is the meaning of the word 'Justice'? Particularly with respect to the use of the word in the phrase "Criminal Justice". Is it, or should it be, the purpose of the criminal justice system to confer justice---or something else?
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
What is the meaning of the word 'Justice'? Particularly with respect to the use of the word in the phrase "Criminal Justice". Is it, or should it be, the purpose of the criminal justice system to confer justice---or something else?
I'd personally like it to also include rehabilitation/reconciliation. Drug courts and these types of things are pushing in that direction, but it couldn't go fast enough for me.
To most people, I'd guess that Justice means revenge, essentially. It's hard to not see it htat way when someone does something bad to you.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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Good question. Here are my thoughts...

Given that the term here is 'criminal justice', one would assume that the aim is to produce a "just" outcome for a very "unjust" act..i.e., one person has committed a crime against another..or against society.

Since there's really no way society can make things "better" for the victim, it stands to reason that justice would require we make the situation 'even' (just) by making things "worse" for the perpetrator...that's the rationale behind punishment.

Is 'rehabilitation' a requisite part of 'justice'? In the purest sense of the term, I'd say 'no'. Our modern concept of 'rehabilitating' people who have harmed others is born out of a sense of compassion, not a 'duty' to the criminal. Often, we lose sight of this, and rehabilitation becomes an aim in itself, so much so that the original 'victim' begins to be seen as simply 'complicating' the relationship between the criminal to be rehabilitated, and the system which is geared to his rehabilitation. The criminal becomes the 'client' of a system geared to 'serving his needs'...and the victim is left to put back the pieces of his shattered life as best he can.

I've even heard defense attorneys use such phrases as "your honor, a jail sentence is not what my client NEEDS at this time".....or "it would serve NO PURPOSE to incarcerate my client", etc etc. Plainly, when we begin discussing 'justice' in terms of what will..or what will not...benefit the 'bad guy', who is IN this situation because he hurt a 'good guy', justice is no longer where our focus lies.

I'd say 'justice' is bringing a 'just' (fair to BOTH sides) outcome to a situation..one in which ONE party has already demonstrated his disdain for 'justice', by the way he treated his victim.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Sango, TN
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Justice or persecution

It all depends on which side of the scales you're on.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
Is 'rehabilitation' a requisite part of 'justice'? In the purest sense of the term, I'd say 'no'. Our modern concept of 'rehabilitating' people who have harmed others is born out of a sense of compassion, not a 'duty' to the criminal. Often, we lose sight of this, and rehabilitation becomes an aim in itself, so much so that the original 'victim' begins to be seen as simply 'complicating' the relationship between the criminal to be rehabilitated, and the system which is geared to his rehabilitation. The criminal becomes the 'client' of a system geared to 'serving his needs'...and the victim is left to put back the pieces of his shattered life as best he can.
I agree to some extent. However, I think that reconciliation, rehabilitation, and justice (in the form of punishment) should all have a place in our system. Currently, punishment is the general rule, with a minor effort on rehabilitation and no effort on reconciliation. Reconciliation is crucial to promoting understanding. I understand punishment as a deterrent, and we should not simply promote rehabilitation while ignoring the victim (as I admit also happens in a reaction to the extreme emphasis on punishment), but all parties should be brought into the process currently known as "restorative justice". This is not a completely unrealistic justice system, and has been used in the past. The current system often creates more and worse criminals just as it punishes them.
Restorative Justice | National Institute of Justice
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Even the Restorative Justice principle fails to take into account one of the most glaring impacts of the present criminal justice system. That is the secondary victims who are members of the criminal's family. When a person commits a serious offense, two things happen. First, his family is faced with the crushing burden of criminal defense, often requiring the offender's parents to sell their family home in order to release a presumed innocent man from years of pre-trial incarceration, and to pay even the most basic costs of defense. If he prosecution were less zealous about demanding the maximum possible bail, sentence and convictions for a series of pile-on charges (conspiracy, etc.), impossible financial burdens of defense would not be necessary to mitigate this vindictive approach on the part of the state. Second, and even more importantly, the spouse and the children of the offender are affected by the economic and social impact of having the contributing member of the family removed for years of their lives. Two million men in prison means maybe two million or more children growing up in households where the father is needlessly absent, a tragic social development cost. For every person that our justice system convicts, there is ripple effect taking a heavy toll on perfectly innocent people, for whom the system has no care or concern or even recognition.

Our present criminal justice system, with its overwhelming and single-minded emphasis on incarceration, flies in the face of any justice that innocent members of the offender's family my be entitled to.

The plea bargain arises out of the prosecution, supposedly representing the people, aggressively pursuing the maximum penalty that the law allows, for the maximum menu of inflated and often exaggerated and sometimes completely unfounded charges. The defendant is then left with two choices. Either catastrophic defense costs, or conviction and then sentence that might have been reasonable for the nature of the alleged crime in the first place, but without a trial. Whatever that is, it most certainly does not comport with any concept of justice.

Last edited by jtur88; 08-27-2009 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Even the Restorative Justice principle fails to take into account one of the most glaring impacts of the present criminal justice system.
Agreed. Unfortunately, our current political system does little to comprehensively address the actual fundamental issues that face our nation. Factors such as education, justice, corruption, and other base factors that determine the general trajectory and life of a nation take 2nd priority on national politics to piece-meal and narrow issues such as abortion, gun rights, terrorism, and race. MY critique is not about individuals or certain parties, but it is just the result of the overall structure. Stability and guarding against government abuses at the price of excessive compromising of its function.
I am pessimistic on changing fundamental issues. The population has little appetite for these kinds of discussion, and anything truly comprehensive will affect too many stakeholders, and go down in flames.
Thus, we must be happy with incremental steps, the benefit and curse of our system
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:25 AM
 
1,310 posts, read 2,639,688 times
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
What is the meaning of the word 'Justice'? Particularly with respect to the use of the word in the phrase "Criminal Justice". Is it, or should it be, the purpose of the criminal justice system to confer justice---or something else?
After reading Mark Fuhrmans book , INjustice is when a person like O.J. Simpson walks free because of playing the race-card .... when the blood evidence of ALL THREE are found in his Bronco on the console, on the carpet down by the gas pedal, on the seat , and at the scene of the horrific crime. Justice often fails, but it supposed to allow the guilty to come to be punished for his crime OR to allow the innocent to return to society .
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Justice is when people get what they deserve.

Which I don't think is something you can objectively 'pin down'.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: nc
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I tell you what was terrifying, there was a campaign commercial for Obama that ran back in election season that was the scariest thing I have ever seen on tv, and I have seen a lot of horror movies. It had all these helicopters flying around and this creepy voice and it was like 'we know, justice is not blind' and then all of the sudden it flashes to a the lady justice statue with the scales and everything and HER STONE EYES OPEN UP. It was the most terrifying thing I had seen in my life. What genious let that go through? I only saw it once, I bet that was the only time it aired too. Good job pulling that mess. Wow.
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