Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ch. 12 | criminal justice system

  • criminal justice system: involves prosecution, defense, sentencing, & punishment of those suspected of convicted of committing a crime
  • Texas Penal Code: body of TX law covering crimes, penalties, & correctional measures
  • enhanced punishment: additional penalties or prison time for those who engage in organized crimes or hate crimes, & for repeat offenders 
  • capital felony: punishable by death or life imprisonment w/o parole 
  • Texas relies heavily on incarceration as a response to drug offenses 
-prosecuting & incarcerating Texans who suffer from addiction limits ability to become healthy
  • Texas law provides enhanced punishment for hate crimes 
  • death penalty:
murder can become capital felony if:
-victim was younger than 10
-victim was a police officer/firefighter/prison employee
-occurs during the commission of another felony
-murder for hire
-serial murders
-inmate-on-inmate murder 

cannot be used on anyone:
-younger than 18 when committing a capital crime
-mentally retarded 
-mentally incompetent at the time of committing a capital crime 
-mentally ill 

Texas Department of Criminal Justice:
  • provide public safety
-current focus on rehabilitation & reentry has reduced escalating imprisonment rates 
-Correctional Institutions Division: responsible for ensuring public safety
   maintaining trained workforce
   difficult working conditions
   demand leads to hiring candidates who have not been properly screened 
   candidates failing to meet physical requirements for job
   candidates not adequately trained to deal w challenging inmate population
  • promote positive behavioral changes
  • reintegrate offenders into general society
-goal of treatment & education programs: equip prisoners w skills to succeed upon release 
-agencies responsible for convicted criminals who serve part of sentences in community:
  1. Community Justice Assistance Division: est. minimum standards for county programs involving community supervision & corrections facilities 
  2. Parole Division: recommends acts of clemency 
  • assist crime victims
-Victim Services Division: provides info to crime victims about any change in offender's status 

  • Juvenile: at least 10 years old but younger than 17 years old 
-juvenile offenders are arrested by the same officers who deal w adult criminals but are detained in separate facilities 

problems & reforms: implications for public policy
  • overcrowding & mental illness in prison
  • technology
-social media: inmates can communicate w each other & outside world
-forensic science: DNA testing 
  • exoneration issues
-Texas conppensates individuals wrongfully incarcerated 
  • racial bias in the criminal justice system
  • misconduct by district attorneys 
-DA represents Texas in criminal cases 
-some unfortunately misuse their power 
-DAs must see that justice is done, instead of focusing on convictions 

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