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Week 1 Posts Essay

1847 words - 8 pages

Please post a 200-300-word response to the following discussion question by clicking on Reply.
What is crime? What are the components of the criminal justice system? How does crime relate to the law? What changes would you recommend to better improve the criminal justice process?
Crime is any act or omission (i.e. something intentionally or unintentionally left out), which violates established laws of the local, state, or federal governments (Schmalleger, 2011, p. 7). What does this mean? It means that if there is a law governing a particular act and an individual commits the act in violation of the established law, they are committing a crime. For example, if there is a local ordinance ...view middle of the document...

In addition, I would recommend that procedural laws governing the admissibility of evidence be revamped to take into consideration the spirit and intention of the law rather than the letter of the law, among other things.
Reference:
Frank Schmalleger. (2011). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century. Retrieved from Frank Schmalleger, CJS/200 - Foundations of the Criminal Justice System website.
Week 1 - Discussion Question 1 - Due Week 1 Day 2 (Tuesday)
Name a famous person whom you would consider a “typical” American. What characteristics of this individual do you think make her or him typical? Do you consider these characteristics a stereotype? Why, or why not?
This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I never really looked at people as “typical” Americans. However, if I were to classify a person as a typical American in the sense of my perception of what it is to be an American, I would identify the Australian born actor/governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a typical American. Arnold came to the United States worked hard, educated himself and became a recognized figure in politics and the movie industry. The fact that he was able to come to this country and become a leader in the “free world” makes him an example of what I would consider a “typical” American. To some extent, I would consider these characteristics a stereotype. Stereotyping is hard to avoid it is something that has been embedded in the deepest senses of our reasoning abilities. The mere fact that I profiled Arnold as a “typical” American in it of itself is stereotypical. It does not matter how you look at it, both negative and positive stereotypes exist. Even though positive stereotyping may not seem bad, it has the potential to cause harm later on down the road. This is because almost all stereotypes are limiting and leave little room for personal opinions to be expressed.
This thread is discussing stronger penalties for certain criminal offenses. I want you to consider uniform sentencing. In 1987, the federal government adopted the use of sentencing guidelines. The guidelines were set forth to help reduce sentence disparity at the federal level. The guidelines were criticized by some because the guidelines reduce the ability of the court system, specifically the judge, to use discretion. The federal sentencing guidelines are just that, a set of guidelines. They provide a range of punishments based on a point system. For example, cooperation lowers the points, while past criminal history increases the point level. Once convicted, each offender is given a score and that score is used to determine the range of punishment. Once the range is determined, the judge can use discretion. Do you feel the use of discretion should be utilized in sentencing? Do sentencing guidelines reduce the use of discretion?
Yes, I do feel that discretion should be used during sentencing. Just because certain elements need to be met to classify a crime,...

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