Criminal Justice Essay Example

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Harm Reduction Strategies

Drug abuse is considered to be amongst the main factors that lead to the commission of crime and other related societal vices. This is mainly linked to the individual and social characteristics in the environment that leads a person to the abuse of drugs. According to Braga and Bond (p 579), they state that there exists a link between disorder and serious crime and therefore there needs to be a difference in terms of approaching crime-control and the disorder strategies. Thus harm reduction strategies in policing aim at reducing the harmful effects associated with illegal human behaviour such as drug abuse. Policing is important in terms of managing the behaviours that is tolerating the risky and illegal behaviours, and minimises the risk of injury on a person.

The core difference in adopting a harm reduction strategy as opposed to other approaches is that the individual is not removed from the primary coping mechanisms until a new way of coping and hence creating a new avenue to achieve the desired behavioural change. Braga and Bond (p 560) claim that the strongest way in which to gain a milestone in crime prevention is to have a prevention strategy rather than misdemeanour arrests or social services strategies.

The approaches taken in harm reduction strategies is the creation of programs and policies to rehabilitate drug users, the strategy is non-judgmental and not coercive as opposed to the zer tolerance approach to drug related issues. It recognises the fact that the users are exposed to harsh realities of society such as unemployment, discrimination, social isolation, trauma, and the vulnerability of the users to different forms of drug related harm.

The zero tolerance drug policy approach is a policy that automatically imposes a penalty or a form of punishment to offenders especially in regards to drug abuse in a way that seeks to eliminate any undesirable conduct. The police in this case are involved in the arrest of the drug offender and immediately remand them and punish them without considering other approaches to deter drug abuse. This approach differs from the harm reduction approach since the police do not tolerate the actions of the drug offender since the offender is removed from the environment in which he is likely to abuse drugs and placed in confinement or imprisonment. The aim of the zero tolerance approach is to curb abuse of drugs mainly targeting the users, transporters, the suppliers in order to ensure that there is limited supply of the drugs. The CJS in using this approach aims at ridding the environment from suppliers and the illicit drugs.

Changes in Policing

Policing has evolved and has changed over the last decade mainly attributed to the changing environment from real world to virtual spaces attributed to technology and the growth of the internet. The entrance of new forms of crimes such as terrorism, cyber-crime are new areas of policing and in most cases the police and the criminal justice system have no way of dealing with the new potential challenges. Australia is not immune to the new forms of crime and the challenges facing policing in the 21st century and this is in regards to terrorism, climate change and the economic and technological crimes (Braga & Bond, ).

Cyber-crime is one of the new crimes brought about by technology in a globalised scale. This means that the police needs to extend their authority to a global scale. The crimes perpetrated in real and virtual spaces over the internet include frauds, extreme pornography, and hacking. The problems paused to policing include the identification of the victims as well as issues of jurisdiction in regards to cyber-crime is a challenge to policing. This has created a loophole in the criminal justice system since some of the crimes are too small in terms if the impact, there is no law hence there is no crime, the jurisdiction to prosecute; the criminal activity is not detected by the policy (Wall, 2008). Further there is underreporting of the crime since victims are embarrassed, it is not serious enough and hence presenting a conflict between private and public justice interest.

It is important that in the wake of new crimes that are beyond the jurisdiction of the police, there is need to adopt new approaches to reduce crime especially in cases where it is intertwined with psychological and social problems (Braga & Bond, p 588). Social problems such as drug abuse and mental illness have a correlation with the crime rates and the criminal justice system.

The relevance of the police in dealing with the new forms of crime is declining especially when it comes to issues of jurisdiction while at the same time the effectiveness of the crime control methods adopted to deal with the rise in crime and criminal tendencies. According to Cope (p 191) policing is faced with terrorism, climate change and cyber-crime as the current problems affecting society; however intelligence gathering and policing is an important avenue when it comes to dealing with crime and crime prevention.

Characteristics Associated with Crime Prevention through environmental design

There is an increase in the level of crime perpetrated in Australia and this is linked to the changes in the way people interact within the society. This means that the police need to incorporate different ways in which to prevent crimes as well as the need for the police to be aware of the different issues concerned with environmental crime. An environmental design approach for crime prevention aims at discouraging crime and having maximum control of the entire policing process.

Technology is one of the areas that have changed the way in which the police work. Advance in technology such as the use of the internet, social media and social networking sites have made it difficult to police these areas (Wall, 2013). The issue is how can the law extend to this new areas or virtual spaces and how the police can have jurisdiction to prosecute crimes perpetrated through the use of technology. According to Wall (2010) the police are considered to be uncomfortable with new technologies and this poses a great challenge to policing in the 21st Century. The place of technology in policing is that it changes the way in which the police traditionally did their jobs, it shifts the balance that the police had in policing and the only way to deal with technology is if the police develop a new approach to policing.

Intelligence is another way in which the police may engage themselves in the prevention of crime. The impact of intelligence in the fight against crime is immense, that is the failure to comprehend information it may lead to regrettable mistakes (Cope, p 199). Intelligence gathering involves getting information that enables the police to strategies on how to tackle crime.

Surveillance is a crucial tool and weapon in the fight against crime and in the occurrence of crime. Additionally, surveillance is an important aspect when it comes to intelligence gathering since it enables the police to gather material information regarding the occurrence of crime and the chance of crime occurrence (Cope, p 187). It is important to state that criminals are less likely to operate in spaces where their actions are monitored and closely watched; hence visual control is likely to reduce the occurrence of crime. Formal ways of surveillance exercisable by the police include the use of closed-circuit television, electronic monitoring, and security guard patrols that enables the police to monitor the occurrence of a crime.

Territories are likely to be marked in order to define the boundaries in which criminals operate. Marking of zones as areas of particular groups of criminals is important because it enables policing to be easier especially in knowing those who are likely to carry out criminal activities within the particular area. Physical presence of the police within the physical environment is important in enhancing security in the particular region.

The main concepts when it comes to environmental design in policing is that the police must have access to public routes and limits given to the creation of private elements when it comes to the control and the prevention of crime. There need to be visibility of the property in order to ensure that security personnel are aware of what is happening in a particular place. Lastly, there has to be a territorial enforcement in order to protect an individual from criminal acts.

Impact of the CJS on victims of crime

In most jurisdictions, the CJS creates a program for the victims in order to rehabilitate them back to the society. The CJS gives the victim the chance to analyse the impact of crime on their families, promote the accountability of the offender to the victim, give an important learning experience as well as advance the principles of restorative justice (Bednarova, 2011). It is important to not, the interest of the CJS in most cases is victim focused, that is the imposition of the punitive penalty or measure against the offender is centred on the victim hence making the CJS process entirely focusing on giving justice to the victim of the crime (Bednarova, 2011).

After the commission of a crime by an offender a victim is harmed by the delinquent or criminal activity. They question the reason why the offender chose them, whether the offender is remorseful and whether the offender is accountable for the loss and whether there is a way in which the offender can play a role in reconstructing their lives after the crime. The CJS controls crime, and crime in itself is an individual act and therefore the role of the CJS is to prevent, intervene, and break the cycle of violence in order to protect innocent victims of crime (Bednarova, 2011).

In Australia one of the main challenges in terms of policing relates to the indigenous offending as well as the high sentencing rates of the indigenous people. The disparity in terms of sentencing of the indigenous and the non-indigenous people in Australia is amongst the challenges affecting policing. What should the police consider prior to arresting and prosecuting an indigenous person and whether the current sentencing trends needs to be thought out. Policing as part of the criminal justice system needs to be evaluated in terms of the way it deals with the disadvantaged persons in society, such that there is no disparity in the enforcement of justice (O’Reilly & Ellison, p 670). The impact of the CJS amongst the indigenous Australians is that it shows victimisation of the indigenous people despite most of them living in conditions of drug abuse and violence prior to being sentenced.

The justification for centring more on the victim rather than the offender is ensuring that justice prevails in the administration of justice. It is however paramount that justice must be in both ways, to the offender and to the victim. In order to improve the CJS in regards to addressing the concerns of the victim, then the victim needs to have a say in the form of punishment given to the offender and this should not only be left for the court to determine. For instance, the victim may desire to pardon the offender and therefore the court must take into consideration the victims opinion on what form of punishment should be given.


Bednarova, J. “The Heart of the Criminal Justice System: A Critical Analysis of the Position of the Victim”. Internet Journal of Criminology (2011)

Braga, A.A. & Bond, B.J. ‘ Policing Crime and disorder hot spots: A randomized controlled trial.’ Criminology, 46(3) (2008), 577-607

Cope, N. ‘Intelligence Led Policing or Policing Led Intelligence?”: Integrating Volume Crime Analysis into Policing.” British Journal of Criminology, 44(2) (2004), 188-203

O’Rielly, C. & Ellison, G. “Eye spy private high: re-conceptualising high policing theory”. British Journal of Criminology, 46:641-660

Reenen, P.V. ‘From policing the garbage can to garbage can policing.’ Policing and Society, 20(4) (2010), 569-479

Wall, D.S. & Williams, M.L.” Policing Cybercrime: networked and social media technologies and the challenges for policing”, Policing and Society, An International Journal of Research and Policy, 23 (4) (2013) , 409