Criminal Justice Authority Evaluation


The criminal justice system is important in every state as assists in bringing order in the society. The criminal justice process provides correctional facilities to reform those who go against the laws. The institutions of criminal justice use the constitutional in the justice and thereby make rulings based on the provisions of law. Different situations require different interpretation. Therefore, the law is made flexible in some situations. This paper will evaluate discretionary authority exercised by personnel and the roles of the oversight committees. It will also critique the values of the oversight committee and the Assess various factors affecting attitudes of criminal justice personnel towards the public that would affect the use of discretion.

Evaluation of the discretionary authority exercised by personnel

Some situation in criminal justice may require some level of flexibility in the application of law. Tyler and Kerstetter (1994) point out that some situation requires an ethical approach. The personnel will adopt a flexible influence depending on the beliefs and the background. This is because they may have different perceptions and understanding. The prescribed may therefore be inexact in dealing with some cases.

The ethical practices vary from one group of individuals to another and may apply differently. Some ethics are applicable from a professional point of while others are applicable from a societal point of view. Irrespective of whether professional or societal, the establishment of order is important for a nation. Criminal justice personnel are expected to be able to apply ethics in the most appropriate situation.

Roles that civilians oversight committee have

As Bruce (2002) point out, that the personnel have at times overstepped their mandate leading to the formation of the oversight committee. Among their tasks they ensure that commands are applied correctly by the personnel. This is achieved in establishing an investigation over the personnel to determine if the mandate was overstep. They also see that the personnel have the right regulations that will guide them to avoid such misconduct.

The civilian’s oversight committee is also given the role of examining accusations that are made against the personnel. They receive reports from members of the public on matters concerning criminal justice. These concerns are mainly to do with what is morally acceptable as well as the application of law. This way the personnel ensures that it makes good judgment in its under taking of justice.

After the investigations, the finding is presented to the committee. Recommendations are given to the justice system for consideration. The committee keeps check of the justice system and therefore it cannot directly make changes to the justice system. Therefore they provide a bridge between the civilians and the justice system.

A critique of values and ramifications of such oversight committees

The civilian committee is perceived to be a constantly assessing the criminal justice. For this reason the relationship is seen as that of conflict. This is because of that the oversight committee upholds values such as morality. The committee does not always cause conflict with the justice system; it contributes positively by giving insights in the approach of some issues. In some cases, the ideas given by the oversight committees foster the authority of the justice system. Another value portrayed by the justice system is good relationship among the parties involved. In the process of justice, respect for the accused and the criminal justice personnel should be endorsed. Further the civilians gain confidence with the criminal justice system as they are assured of a fair process.

In other cases, civilians get information on the right way of conduct during the criminal justice process and thereby cooperate and make it possible for a smooth progression. Consequently, the quality of work is competent as the processes become transparent. Additionally, the civilians gain trust with the criminal justice system with the increase in awareness. Undesirable conduct is therefore abandoned as the personnel are keen to observe the correct conduct. Policies have been coined as a result to maintain a well organized and informed criminal justice system (Zalman and Smith, 2007 p. 2).

It has also been noted that some civilians or the criminal justice personnel are dissatisfied with the services that the civilian’s oversight committees offer. Therefore, interventions are made in the case of conflict to resolve the differences. Intervention gives a satisfactory feeling to both parties and possible positive outlook towards criminal justice.

Assessment of various factors affecting attitudes of criminal justice personnel towards the public that would affect the use of discretion

The police have been known to use excessive force in their line of duty. Since the culprits are believed to be risky to arrest, some have used excessive force to make arrest. In some cases, they have shot suspects assuming that they are harmful and should therefore defend themselves. In other cases, the personnel are accused of performing a search without a warrant or search while damaging property.

The criminal justice personnel assume that the public is aware of the law and the laws as stipulated in the country’s constitution. Therefore, they consider that the civilian know and refrain from giving explanations during the entire process. Despite the assumption that the civilians know the law, the criminal justice personnel avoid doing anything or even saying anything that would implicate them. Therefore, the civilian is most often left to assume that the personnel are doing the right thing.

Existing perceptions have hindered the ability of the criminal justice personnel in proper judgment in some situations. The fact that a person comes from a particular group of society can make the officer treat the civilian differently from another of another group. This is because some groups are attached to certain behaviors and vices. Since the majority of the group is known criminals like a gang, an individual is treated as a criminal even before proven guilty (Zalman and Smith, 2007, p. 4).


The criminal justice may exercise their moral authority while dealing with criminal. This will enable them understand and deal with the case in an appropriate manner. The oversight committee keeps check of the criminal justice personnel to ensure that they follow the requirements of justice without hurting the civilians excessively. They investigate and give recommendations on issues that need to be readdressed. Therefore they ensure that the criminal justice does not overstep their mandate in dealing with criminals. The personnel often fight with perceptions while performing their duties. This is a set back as they end up having poor relationships with the criminals.

The committees value good relationship and therefore encourage good conduct between the parties. The committees also receive complains and make it possible for the civilians to access information on the process of justice.

Reference List

Bruce, D. (2002). Civilian Review: A proposed role for civilian oversight committees in Promoting accountability in municipal police departments. Web.

Tyler, T. M. and Kerstetter, W. (1994). Moral authority in law and criminal justice: some Reflections on Wilson’s ‘The moral Sense’. Web.

Zalman, M. and Smith, B. W. (2007). The attitudes of police attitudes Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Web.

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