Webster’s defines justice as “the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity”. Applied to society, criminal justice is the system that promises fairness and equal treatment to all under its guidance. But why is it important to society as a whole? Without a criminal justice system, we would rapidly decline into anarchy. The strong would take from the weak, the wealthiest among us would rewrite the laws to better serve their interests and those who weren’t strong or wealthy would be powerless against the onslaught.
The founding fathers of this nation recognized this potential danger and deemed the rights and fairness so important that they drafted an equal branch of power in the Constitution focused on this ideal. The Judicial Branch dedicated to the interpretation and enforcement of the law, was bestowed equal power with the Executive and Legislative branches to ensure that every citizen would have equal rights and receive equal treatment.
The agencies directly or indirectly associated with the criminal justice system have an impact on everything that transpires in our everyday lives. Law enforcement ensures that laws are being obeyed, judges ensure that those who violate the law are punishment fairly and attorneys ensure that everyone has a voice in a court of law. Other law enforcement agencies such as the CIA, FBI, DEA and CSI are devoted to the investigation and prevention of national and international crimes.
Our nation was founded on the ideal that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Without any of the above agencies we would be living in an environment both terrifying and dangerous. Innocent people could be incarcerated without cause, mob mentality would become commonplace and everything you own could be taken from you without recourse. No productive society can successfully function within this framework. Without our criminal justice system, we would resemble a third world country constantly fighting for our survival. It’s our criminal justice system and the ideals behind the judicial branch that make America the land of freedom and opportunity.