Components of Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice System (CJS) is comprised of five components that play a key role in the criminal justice process. CJS components involve law-enforcement, prosecution, defense attorneys, courts, corrections.

  1. Law-enforcement– law-enforcement officers take reports when the crime is observed. They start gathering evidence to build a case. Officers are appointed in particular areas and observe crimes committed in those areas. They are entitled to arrest the offenders, give testimony during the court process and continue further investigations if needed.
  2. Prosecution– evidence brought by law-enforcement officers is reviewed by the prosecutors. They are lawyers who represent the state or federal government and not the victim. They review the case from the very first stage of the case, which is entry into the system, to the executive part of the sentence. Prosecutors present reviewed evidence in the court, question witnesses and decide whether to negotiate plea bargains with the defendant or not.
  3. Defense attorneys– defendants are eligible to have an attorney representing their case in the court. If they can’t afford themselves to have an attorney, the court may appoint one to process the case. While the prosecutor represents the state or federal government interests, the defense attorney represents defendants’ rights and interests.
  4. Courts– the role of courts is to oversee court trials. Courts are run by judges, who make sure that the law is followed during the court trials. They accept or reject plea agreements, set a date for sentencing, etc.
  5. Corrections– the main impact of this component is to punish and correct the offender’s behavior. Corrections officers supervise offenders when they are in jail, in prison or in the community. They can prepare an extensive report on the offender’s behavior to help judges decide sentences.
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