Sienna Saunders – INQUIRY Does the our current criminal justice system promote peace and justice?

Question: Does the our current criminal justice system promote peace and justice?
Round 1: What is the justice system?
The criminal justice system is a set of legal and social institutions comprised of three major institutions which process a case from inception, through trial, to punishment enforcing the law in accordance with a defined set of procedural rules and limitations. Criminal justice systems include several major subsystems, composed of one or more public institutions. (1)
Law Enforcement:
Law enforcement is a system in which some members of society act to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules governing society (3). Legal enforcement involves managing the punishment process for those who are convicted of crimes and managing the process of incarceration. Law enforcement seeks to prevent the occurrence of a crime that damaging society and to make sure suspected criminals are tried in compliance with local laws. (2)(4)
Court system:
Much like the law enforcement stage of a case, there are dozens of restrictions on the court’s ability to prosecute a case, including the right to confront one’s accusers, the right against incriminating one’s self, the right to counsel, and the right to a jury trial. The primary purpose of all of these protections is to ensure a fair trial for the accused. The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal composed of 9 judges that represent the four major regions of Canada. This court hears appeals from other courts and matters involving the Constitution as well as specific areas of private and public law, its decisions and judgments are final. (2)(5)
Corrections Systems:
The purpose of corrections is to separate criminals from the society in which they would operate. Providing housing and programs for offenders encompassing secure detention facilities like jails and prisons for those who have been convicted of crimes that necessitate the loss of freedom for the offender. Probation can be either supervised or unsupervised. Supervised probation requires the offender to check in regularly with an officer to ensure compliance with the terms of his probation. Also includes programs and personnel such as rehabilitation training, counseling, restorative justice as well as therapy. Incarceration is the most serious punishment to which a free society can condemn an individual. (2)(6)

Why do we have or need a criminal justice system?
In ancestral times, forming cooperative coalitions helped our ancestors to hunt large animals, share food, invade territories, build shelters and defend themselves. Those who formed coalitions had an evolutionary advantage over those who didn’t. This psychological mechanism of forming coalitions has made its way into our psyche as things like justice, punishment, and revenge. The desire to punish those who are hurtful to the coalition helps keep track of disloyalty. When strict punishments and rules are in place for those who fail to contribute their fair share, high levels of cooperation tend to emerge. (7)
These two videos show some more info on the Criminal Justice System and ours in Canada in particular:
Canadian Justice System:


One Reply to “Sienna Saunders – INQUIRY Does the our current criminal justice system promote peace and justice?”

  1. Hi Sienna,
    Great round of research! I know very little about our justice system, or any justice system in general, so I learned a lot from your post. In my French class, we’re currently reading a book on philosophy (Presentations de la Philosophie by Andre Comte-Sponville, if you’re interested), and one of the chapters I have read so far is about liberty, and there was a very interesting point it made about laws and justice. It explained how we might think that laws take away our freedom, but if you think about it, it also limits the liberty of others, which in turn allows our own to exist because without laws, there would only be more violence and fear, and how can an individual be truly free if they always feel scared or threatened? Therefore, it’s impossible to ever be completely free.
    Here are some websites that you might find useful for your next round of research:
    Good luck!

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