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  • A broad term referring to a set of interdependent units that are integrated into a network. There are both naturally occurring and socially constructed systems. Natural systems include a geographical area's ecosystem where one part of nature is dependent on the existence of another. Social systems include the criminal justice system, comprising the police, courts, and corrections. In the United States, a system of social services can include income assistance, food assistance, job training, and medical care. Social systems are often criticized for being composed of units that do not effectively communicate or share information with each other and for “breaking down” when one part of the network becomes disconnected from the others.

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