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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77748 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice Issues and Ironies, Second Edition
Author(s): A S Blumberg
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 421
Sponsoring Agency: Franklin Watts/New Viewpoints
New York, NY 10019
Sale Source: Franklin Watts/New Viewpoints
730 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book examines the criminal justice system from the perspective of its use as an expedient makeshift mechanism designed to defuse or contain many social conflicts and problems while rarely solving them.
Abstract: The analysis focuses on the use of discretion in the criminal justice system as a means of exposing the social realities operative in the system. The discretion points examined are the police decision to arrest, the prosecutor's decision to charge, the decision to plead or go to trial, the decisions of the plea bargaining process, the judge's decisionmaking at every stage of trial up to the imposition of sentence, the decision to place on probation or release on parole, the decision to revoke probation or parole, and the process of appellate review. Because most of these decisions are made in secretive low-visibility organizational settings, they are vulnerable to political and bureaucratic manipulation, thus making a myth of legal order, impartial justice, and strict rules of procedural formality. The greater the variety of human behavior society designates as criminal, the greater the discretionary powers of police, prosecution, and related enforcement agents. Attention is given to the nature and future prospects of the adversary system of dispensing justice, and the convergence of the adversary and bureaucratic models is considered. The theory and practice of punishment are also examined. The importance of keeping criminal justice institutions under careful scrutiny through rigorous systems of accountability and oversight of elected officials is emphasized. Chapter notes, tables, figures, and an index are provided.
Index Term(s): Accusatorial systems; Judicial discretion; Organization studies; Plea negotiations; Police discretion; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Prosecutorial discretion; Punishment
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