The Discretionary Powers of the Criminal Justice System of the United States

2385 Words Nov 17th, 2010 10 Pages
T he discretionary powers of the Criminal Justice system of the United States

By Jonell Fergsuon

“In the Criminal justice system the police, the prosecutors and corrections are afforded discretion with regard to enforcing and interpreting the law.” Here I will discuss both pros and cons with regards to the fair administration of justice in the United States.

The Police
The police are afforded a wide range of discretional powers, covering things from deciding whether or to arrest someone to determining disciplinary actions in the workplace. With regards to deciding to arrest someone, I can see many reasons why this discretion is necessary. For example the police come across two young girls in a park smoking marijuana.
Now the law
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However, when responding to scenarios of underage drinking and assault, it was
New South Wales police who were more likely to divert young offenders. There were very few significant relationships between attitudes and behavior when examining either group, with significant results possibly being a side effect of large sample sizes. Further there were few significant relationships when considering demographic or situational variables.
However, in an exploration of police personality, through cluster analysis, evidence was found for different 'typologies', or resonances, of police. The results indicate that police are not an homogenous group. In addition, quite complex relationships between measures of police behavior and individual difference were found within the resonances, with effect sizes showing moderate results. The findings support the need to investigate further personality typologies and extend them to the examination of attitude-behavior relationships. In addition, research into the use of an attitudinal measure, such as discretionary ideology, as an alternative to measuring behavior could be expanded.
Moreover, broadening of the research into additional areas of the juvenile justice systems, such as legal representatives, magistrates, and youth detention centre officers, would provide further insight into the
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