The Challenges Confronting Contemporary Criminal Justice

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][The Challenges Confronting Contemporary Criminal Justice]

    • 00:12

      JOSEPH SCHAFER: Hello, I'm Joe Schaefer.I'm a professor of criminology and criminal justiceat Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.[Presentation Topics-- Examining criminal justice controversiesthrough the lens of managers and executives]This video examines some of the significant criminal justicecontroversies that we see in contemporary society,particularly considered through the lens of managersand executives who must operate in shifting

    • 00:33

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: and uncertain environments.While the video is aimed at the issues and challenges managersand executives confront, the matters are of equal relevanceto you as a student preparing to enterinto a career in criminal justice.Criminal justice in America has alwaysbeen a source of controversy, challenge, and change.

    • 00:53

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: How individuals believe society and our governmentshould understand and respond to crimeis often a reflection of our personal assumptions, beliefs,and biases.As a result, it's difficult to achieve clear consensuson what behaviors we should criminalize,how violations should be sanctioned,

    • 01:15

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: and how individual offenders should be treated and punished.The criminal justice system remainsa source of public disagreement and a hot button issuefor the political process.This video will examine a range of issues of key importancein modern criminal justice.[Race]

    • 01:39

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: American criminal justice has a long standing strugglewith, at the very least, the perception of racial bias.Our early policing systems were oftenused to control slaves, new immigrants, and the workingclass who were frequently membersof marginalized ethnic groups.Though we might see evidence of advancement

    • 01:59

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: in how the justice system deals with bias and inequity,the public continues to express concern with this situation.We can see patterns of biased outcomeswithin the justice system that arecause for concern and question.This raises questions as to whether those patterns reflectproblems in the justice system itself or differences in who

    • 02:22

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: commits various types of crimes.It also raises important questionsabout how our society defines criminality, sanctionsoffenders, and processes cases through our policing courtsand corrections systems.Criminal justice managers must continueto seek new ways to improve relations and understandings

    • 02:43

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: with all members of the public.This includes being open and honestin examining the presence of racial disparitieswithin the justice system.Managers must be willing to acknowledge disparities existand lead difficult conversations about how we can changeour laws and our justice system to correct problems with race.

    • 03:06

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: [Police Use of Force]When modern American policing emergedin the middle 19th century, officers oftenhad no legitimacy in the eyes of the public.They were not trained on proper use of force,and agencies lacked use of force policies.And accompanying this, there were virtually no laws

    • 03:28

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: restricting how officers used force on the job.As a result, officers often had to use forceto secure public compliance and cooperation.There was little oversight, limitation, or controlover how, when, and to what extentthe force was employed by officers.Though we've seen appreciable advances in the regulation

    • 03:50

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: of the use of force in the last 150 years,the issue remains a concern for the American public.Among other challenges, police officers frequentlyare forced to make split second decisionswith incomplete and imperfect information.Sometimes it's later determined that officers used more forcethan might be objectively necessary to resolve

    • 04:13

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: a situation, but they did not know that whenthey had to make a life and death choice.As citizens, we want the police to useas little force as possible, but we alsorespect officers have a need to protect themselves.The challenge for police officers and their managersis how to train, equip, and hold officers accountable so force

    • 04:36

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: is used in the most judicious and appropriate way possible.Additionally, managers need to workto help educate the public about the complex realities of workofficers do and the difficult decisions they must make.It's easy to second guess officersbased on what is known after an incident has been finished.

    • 04:58

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: What's more difficult is to fairly assess their actionsin the context of the imperfect world in which officersoperate.[Crime Reduction Strategies]There is a wide amount of public disagreement about the bestapproaches and policies we shoulduse to reduce crime and associated social problems.

    • 05:21

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: Public perceptions as to what works in controlling crimeoften differ markedly from what research and experiencesuggest.The interventions the public supports to reduce crimefrequently seem to fail to achieve their expected crimereduction outcomes in terms of making communitiesand the public more safe.

    • 05:43

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: In other words, what the public wants the justice system to doabout crime problems is often out of stepwith what research and experiencesuggest will actually achieve those desired results.For example, the public often likes the ideaof aggressive enforcement responsesby the police in response to crime problems.

    • 06:04

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: Evidence suggests, however, that such broad efforts rarelyachieve sustained reductions in crime.Despite this evidence, however, the publiccontinues to place pressure on criminal justice leadersand policy makers to get tough on crime in our communities.Our understanding of how to effectively reduce crimeis limited and often carries numerous and complex caveats.

    • 06:29

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: There is a tendency for the publicto pressure criminal justice leadersto employ overly simplistic and blunt crime reductionstrategies.Managers must seek more evidence-based strategiesfor reducing crime and disorder in our communities.They must also help the public understandwhy approaches that might seem soft on crime

    • 06:50

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: could actually have the greatest promise to reduce that problem.[Guns and Crime]The relationship between guns and crimeremains one of the most controversial criminal justiceissues in our nation.In the aftermath of incidents of mass violence,

    • 07:10

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: we often hear extensive and passionate discourseregarding whether we need more or fewer gun laws and rights.The relationship between guns and crime is complex,and we have few definitive answers.We know there is a strong degree of public support for guncontrol and an equally strong level of public support for gun

    • 07:33

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: rights.The challenge for criminal justice leadersis to find a rational footing within this complex andpassionate environment.Gun rights and control remain emotional and passionatepublic issues.It can be difficult for all of usto be objective about such matters.It's important that managers respect that fact

    • 07:54

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: while recognizing we can only work to fix problemswith gun violence by being objectivein assessing various strategies and approaches.[Terrorism and Extremism]The war on terror and concerns over homeland securityhave had prominence in our nation's political landscape

    • 08:15

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: since the events of September 11, 2001.Despite more than 15 years of discourse and policy,it is still not entirely clear what rolethe justice system should play in preventingterrorism and extremism.There are difficult balances to be achieved between keepingcommunities and citizens free from terrorism

    • 08:37

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: while respecting the fundamental rights afforded to all citizensunder our constitution.Furthermore, it's difficult to understandhow much time and attention the criminal justice system shoulddevote to threats of terrorism relative to the threats posedby crime.Managers continually confront ambiguity and questions

    • 08:58

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: about what role they should play in protecting the homeland.What is the most effective way to work with high riskpopulations and individuals?How do we balance the need to protect our nationwith the rights people have to holdunpopular but constitutionally protected points of view?There are no easy answers.

    • 09:19

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: [Rights of the Accused]Our constitution is predicated on the assumption accusedoffenders are innocent until proven guilty.It extends considerable protections and rights, evento those convicted of the most heinous of crimes.This creates considerable debate and discord

    • 09:41

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: about the rights the accused should enjoy.This situation appears most profoundlyin high profile cases that garnerappreciable public attention.Offenders the public believe to be clearly guiltyare given ample rights as their cases make their waythrough the court system.The public looks at such events and questions

    • 10:03

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: why we are expending scarce resources and work so hardto seemingly protect offenders over their victims and societyas a whole.Managers are caught in a difficult situation tryingto ensure the legal rights of accused individualsare protected as required by law.These require protections often mean finite resources must

    • 10:25

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: be expended to provide legally required but publiclyunpopular services to those convicted of crimes.It's important that managers respect the legal rightsof all parties, regardless of public and political pressure.It can also be necessary to educate the publicand politicians who control criminal justice system

    • 10:45

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: budgets that certain rights, while unpopular,are legal requirements managers must meet.[The Goals of Corrections]When someone is convicted of a crime,what's the best way to handle that person?What objectives should we be workingto achieve when sanctioning an offender?

    • 11:07

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: Should the goal of our correction systembe to punish people for their past misdeedsor to correct the conditions thatled them to commit a crime?The goals we define for our correction systemplay an important role in shapingour policies, practices, and programs for offenders.These goals are often implicit in public policy

    • 11:29

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: and how we sentence offenders.It's less common that they are the topicof explicit discussions.Managers and employees need to recognize their own assumptionsand beliefs about human nature and the policies thatguide our justice system.They need to consider how these assumptions and beliefs shapethe goals implicit within our sentencing and corrections

    • 11:51

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: practices.Equally important, the justice systemneeds to employ more evidence-based correctionalstrategies in the pursuit of safer communities.This requires that we ask difficult questions,seek evidence about what works in corrections,and educate policymakers so sound laws and policies can

    • 12:11

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: be implemented.[Capital Punishment]Capital punishment is the ultimate and most seriousway to treat those convicted of crimes.There is no greater punishment a society can impose thendepriving someone of their life.Capital punishment is one of the oldest

    • 12:33

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: forms of sanctioning criminals, and itremains a highly controversial practice.Supporters of capital punishment see this as a necessary wayto hold accountable those who commit the mostegregious and serious crimes.It is often viewed as the only wayto dissuade offenders from committing homicide to avoidapprehension or conviction.

    • 12:55

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: Opponents often question whether itis a humane response to offendersor simply a manifestation of a society stoopingto the very level of those who commit the ultimate crimes.They also note that we sometimes make errorsin determining guilt, even in the most serious cases.A capital sentence once enacted cannot be undone.

    • 13:17

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: [Conclusion]In summary, issues of crime, justice, and punishmentremain controversial sources of public and political discussionand disagreement.It's common that citizens have views of these issues,and sometimes those beliefs are strong and passionate.

    • 13:38

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: Because we often hold strong assumptions and beliefsabout human behavior and what it means to achieve just outcomes,it can be quite difficult to set aside those views in favorof evidence-based insights.It is only in recent decades that wehave seen the emergence of evidence-based knowledgeabout the outcomes associated with the criminal justice

    • 13:59

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: system.It is imperative that all employees within the justicesystem, from newly hired front lineworkers to the very top managers with decades of experience,support the expanded use of evidence-based practicesin American criminal justice.It is only through research and objective assessmentthat we can achieve truly just and fair outcomes that support

    • 14:22

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: our criminal justice goals.Consider a few questions about criminal justice policy.What should criminal justice leadersdo when the public is encouragingthem to reduce crime problems usingtactics that might be ineffective or evenworse, biased or illegal?Second, how can research-based understandings of the justice

    • 14:45

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: system improve the pursuit of more safe and securecommunities.Third, how can criminal justice managershelp the public understand the complex and imperfectenvironments in which front line personnel makeimportant decisions on a daily basis?Fourth, what role should our assumptions about human nature

    • 15:06

      JOSEPH SCHAFER [continued]: play in shaping how we respond to crimeand treat convicted offenders?[MUSIC PLAYING]

The Challenges Confronting Contemporary Criminal Justice

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Abstract

Professor Joseph Schafer discusses the challenges confronting the contemporary criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has always been a source of controversy; it is difficult to come to a consensus on what behaviors should be criminalized. Schafer discusses crime reduction, the rights of the accused, and the goals of corrections.

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The Challenges Confronting Contemporary Criminal Justice

Professor Joseph Schafer discusses the challenges confronting the contemporary criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has always been a source of controversy; it is difficult to come to a consensus on what behaviors should be criminalized. Schafer discusses crime reduction, the rights of the accused, and the goals of corrections.

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