Source: (1997) Community Corrections Report.
The criminal and juvenile justice system has been closely scrutinized in recent times by academic pundits, elected officials, and the public. Generally, the evaluation has not been favorable, whether based on factual data or perception. The justice system has been ineffective at stemming the conditions that breed crime. Sentencing serves a useful purpose, but large-scale crime reduction is not one of them. The public is dissatisfied with the system’s ability to create the kind of societal change, which would reduce their fear of crime. In addition, people tend to globalize their fears and anxieties, often applying sweeping judgments about an entire set of players, in this case toward both offenders and justice system personnel. The justice system will face a “we-they” response from the public until it addresses the human condition of fear due to the lack of familiarity with the justice process and the system’s inability to resolve inter-personal conflict. This article illustrates some of the ways the current Justice system inadvertently isolates the public from the halls which seek to dispense Justice, describes its consequences, and identifies some ways in which jurisdictions have begun to bring the work of justice into its communities.
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