The criminal justice system specifies the responsibilities of all members who take part in court proceedings. Some of these responsibilities include collecting evidence, reporting crimes, carrying out trials and sentencing (Carlson, 2005). The chief goal of any criminal justice system is to enhance public security by cutting down rates of crime and rehabilitating criminals. Some players involved in the process include the prosecutor, victims, criminals, and the defense attorney. This paper evaluates the roles played by each of these entities and how victimization affects each responsibility. Also, the paper discusses the goals of alternative sanctions. Lastly, the paper makes some recommendations on the rights of victims and offers a conclusion that summarizes the main points.
Roles of a Prosecutor
A prosecutor acts as the legal representative in the criminal justice process. He represents legal processes in criminal trials. Most prosecutors have a law degree. The prosecutor acts in response to complaints of criminal activities received from local societies and the public. He collects evidence to prove to the court that the defendant is responsible for the alleged crime (Carlson, 2005). All activities of the prosecutor aim at giving the defendant a harsh sentence through presenting evidence in courts. However, a prosecutor may decide to drop a case through plea bargaining.
Roles of the Defense Attorney
A defense attorney is responsible for advising the defendant during criminal proceedings (Brookshire, 2007). Defense attorneys always make sure that they listen to the claims of the defendant as well as witnesses before appearing in courts. Mostly, they conduct interviews with all parties involved in the case before advising the defendants.
Defense attorneys try to defend their client‘s innocence through oral arguments in courts. People who work as defense attorneys must show empathy and know legal matters as their roles call for these attributes. Despite the claims made in court proceedings, defense attorneys must uphold and fight to portray their clients’ innocence.
Roles of Victims
Victims have a crucial role in the criminal justice system as they start the process of criminal justice. The reporting behaviors of victims account for the number of cases presented before courts. The main role of victims in America’s criminal justice process is reporting crimes and giving evidence (Schneider, 1982). The victim’s role is of value in this process because most crimes reach the police from reports made by victims and not through police patrols. Besides, the information obtained from the victim is more reliable for solving crimes than the information developed by detectives.
The victim identifies the offender as he receives crime directly (Schneider, 1982). He explains the exact grounds or provides evidence to make sure that justice reigns. The victim also describes the physical attributes of the criminal to law enforcement agents, in situations where the criminal escapes (Schneider, 1982).
Roles of Criminals
A criminal is a person alleged to have committed a crime (Gibson, 2002). The role of a criminal in the criminal justice process is to negate allegations made against him. The victim may as well decide to stay silent and leave the burden of proof to the victim (Gibson, 2002).
What are the Goals of Sentencing Associated with Each Responsibility?
Different parties have various roles in the criminal justice process. However, prosecutors play the greatest role in assisting courts to decide on sentencing criminals. Prosecutors listen to claims made by victims and look at factors that can aggravate or mitigate the case (Champion, 2009). Prosecutors also study constitutional provisions that should apply in cases, depending on the nature of cases.
Other roles involving the application for ancillary and compensation orders also lie within the duties of the prosecutor (Gibson, 2002). They also challenge any misleading claims made by the defendant (Champion, 2009). Guidelines of the attorney general lead prosecutors to accept, or refuse pleas made during sentencing. Every prosecutor must comply with these guidelines.
The goal of the defense attorney is to protect the defendant in the course of prosecution. The defense attorney orders the defendant to act in an innocent way even after sentencing.
Victims’ goal of sentencing is to cut the rates of crime in their communities. Victims feel contented when criminals get sentenced as they are sure of the security as long as these criminals stay confined.
Lastly, the goal of sentencing criminals is to rehabilitate and reform (Champion, 2009). This allows them to become valuable members of society and not repeat criminal activities. The goal of sentencing criminals could also be for punishment. Criminals stay confined and thus, they cannot meet with their friends and relatives, or move freely. This can serve as a punishment for discouraging undesirable behavior.
What are the Goals of Alternative Sanctions?
The main goal of alternative sanctions is to rehabilitate criminals. However, criminals, communities, and the government have different perspectives about the goals of alternative sanctions.
The goal of alternative sanctions, from the perspective of the government, is to mobilize community resources for the rehabilitation of the offender. The government, through using community resources, cuts costs that would otherwise be used in institutional treatment.
The goals of alternative sanctions, from the perspective of criminals, differ. While most prisoners think that alternative sanctions seek to taint their reputation and make it hard for them to cope with life afterward, others have a different perspective. Such criminals see alternative sanctions as a platform for reformation, rehabilitation, protection from the shame of imprisonment, drug counseling, income management lessons, and employment counseling. Criminals who appreciate positive goals of alternative sanctions are likely to gain from programs offered.
Lastly, the goal of alternative sanctions, from the perspective of the community, is to give criminals chances to reform cost-effectively.
Recommendations on Victims’ Rights
The rights of victims can only be protected through investigating crime suspects. Law enforcement agencies such as the police should take complaints from victims with a lot of weight since most crimes reach the police through reports made by victims. The process of reporting crimes could also be enhanced by creating an automated notification system that victims can use to report crimes. Creating a direct toll-free contact can also aid the process of reporting crimes.
Victims should also be made aware of their rights. This could be achieved through media campaigns and awareness programs that help victims to know their legitimate rights.
Lastly, law enforcement agencies should refrain from sharing private information about victims without their consent since defendants can use such information to threaten victims and their families.
In conclusion, the criminal justice system entrusts different people with different roles. Prosecutors represent legal processes in criminal trials. Defense attorneys guide their clients and defend their innocence during court proceedings. Victims report crimes while defendants negate allegations made against them. The effectiveness of prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, and criminals in playing their roles affect the entire criminal justice system.
Governments use alternative sanctions intending to equip criminals with practical skills for income earning. Alternative sanctions also give criminals a chance to reform in a way that is less costly to the government. Lastly, the rights of victims could be protected by investigating reported crimes, providing an automatic way of reporting crimes, and making victims aware of their rights.
Brookshire, M. (2007). The plaintiff and defense attorney’s guide to understanding economic damages. Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Pub.
Carlson, R. (2005). Criminal justice procedure. Newark, NJ: LexisNexis Matthew Bender.
Champion, D. J. (2009). Leading U.S. Supreme Court cases in criminal justice: Briefs and key terms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Gibson, B. (2002). Introduction to the criminal justice process. Winchester, MA: Waterside.
Schneider, H. (1982). The victim in international perspective: Papers and essays. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.