Example Of Essay On Criminal Justice Overview

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Crime, Technology, Criminal Justice, Social Issues, Supreme Court, Law, System, Software

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/22

Advancement in technology has greatly improved the efficiency of the criminal justice system. The departments directly affected include the police, the prosecution and the courts. Improved technology has led to more effective crime control; crime detection; successful prosecutions; and better administration of justice at the courts. The impact of improved technology on the criminal justice system can be assessed by dividing them into hardware technology; and software technology.

Hardware Technology

Hardware technology can also be regarded as material based technologies. They refer to inventions such as the telephone, radio, police patrol vehicles, CCTV, street lighting apparatus, metal detectors, Tasers, ignition interlock system, luggage screening machines at airports, computers and bullet screen windows at banks among others.

Software Technology

These include risk and threat assessment instruments, registration for sex offenders and violent criminals, facial recognition software, crime mapping, DNA and drug testing, criminal history databases, amber alerts and gunshot location devices.

Impact on Crime Prevention, Detection and Control

Video surveillance such as the closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) has immensely reduced the number of crimes committed. Potential offenders are discouraged from engaging in crime because they know their activities will be captured. The effect of this is particularly seen is parking lots, train stations and shopping malls. In Massachusetts, the murder of a 15-year-old was captured on camera after a convenience store robbery incident. Law enforcement officers used it to investigate the crime, and the prosecution called up the video evidence during trial and the gunman was eventually convicted of first-degree murder.
The police are alerted of a crime incident by telephone or radio. Through the use of patrol cars, they are usually able to reach the crime scenes faster than they used to before the invention of motor vehicles. Further, with the use of weapon detectors, potentially violent situations are avoided. The invention of less-lethal devices like tasers, help the police in taking control of dangerous situations without the risk of killing or seriously injuring offenders.
Another important technological advancement is the ignition interlock system in motor vehicles. A driver is supposed to exhale into a breathalyser which determines the level of alcohol content in the driver’s blood. If it is above the recommended limit, the engine does not start. This prevents road accidents.
In addition to the various hardware technology applications described above, a wide range of software technology innovations have been developed recently and used as crime prevention tools. The United States has considerably invested in software technology used to contain parolees, probationers and sex registrants. In Florida for example, the ‘Jessica Lunford Act’ identified new standards for registration of sexual offenders and established a program within the Corrections Department to identify, assess and monitor sexual offenders that are considered high risk. The Act also imposes mandatory electronic monitoring on child sexual predators.
Studies have identified that most crimes are usually committed by a small and often identifiable group. These are mainly offenders who have left prison or have been placed on parole. Software technology tools have been designed to identify this high risk group of people, times and places. There is also the use of computer software and devices used to monitor transactions and communications made through cell phones, the internet and even social media sites. This has had a considerable impact on the fight against drugs, financial crimes, human trafficking, sex crimes and terrorism. It is perhaps not surprising that threat assessment agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency are heavily funded.
Technology used in drug testing has helped in the campaign against drugs. Airline pilots, participants in sports, police officers and federal employees must undergo drug tests as a prerequisite condition for employment. The good thing about this technology is that it is cheaper and relatively easier to administer. Blood samples and urine are taken and processed quickly.

Impact on Administration of Justice

DNA technology has been among the highlights of the 21st century. Its impact in the justice system has been remarkable to say the least. DNA testing enables almost absolute certainty. The NIJ published a book called ‘Convicted by Juries; Exonerated by Science.’ The book told compelling stories of 28 people who were released from prison after serving an average of 7 years after DNA science showed that they were innocent.
In courts, fewer cases are being dismissed or overruled by reason of prosecution impropriety. There are improved sentencing decisions, through the availability of a criminal history information system. This helps in identifying serial offenders. Computer based technologies have led to efficient utilisation of court resources through better scheduling and analysis of cases. There is also easier and more efficient management of accounts associated with fines, fees and penalty payments, which in turn leads to a more transparent and reliable court system.
Correctional facilities have also invested heavily in technology. It was recently reported that a man in Baltimore City Jail allegedly arranged for the murder of someone while in prison using a cell phone call. This raised the issue of detection and control of criminal activities in prison using technology. Inventions such as the Weapons and Non Permitted Devices Detector are now used to scan fully clothed people for contraband. Small transponders on inmates are used to track prisoner movements. Prison officials are alerted if there is a strange concentration of prisoners in a certain area.
The NIJ has co-operated with Florida Department of Corrections to test a system that can be used to predict potential trouble spots within correctional facilities by using information such as the age of an inmate, their propensity for violence, gang membership and medical and psychological conditions. These are the areas where the use of technology has been used to maintain harmony in prisons.
One of the main reasons against the death penalty is its cruelty. The 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution states that cruel and unusual punishment may not be handed out to anyone. With the advent of improved technology, however, more humane and less painful methods of execution have been invented. These include the lethal injection and the electric chair.
Despite the obvious advantages of improved technology, it has not been without criticism. A report entitled ‘Under the Watchful Eye’ was released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California which was against the increased use of videos surveillance. According to the report, excessive surveillance interfered with the constitutional right to privacy. Indeed, there has been a very thin line between crime detection and prevention, and what others refer to as harassment. The millimetre wave system used in jails to detect contrabands in prisons operates by screening inmates and visitors beneath their clothes while releasing nude-like images. This has been said to be a serious infringement to privacy rights.
The use of increased technology has led union representatives of agencies such as the police force to raise an alarm that their jobs might be in danger. Cameras that detect speed violations, wired courts and electronic monitoring have reduced the number of human personnel needed. There is fear that this reliance on technology might need to downsizing of the police force.


It is clear that technology has completely revolutionised the criminal justice system and mostly in a positive way. With more inventions on the way, it is safe to say that the criminal justice system will only get better and the administration of justice will be greatly improved. The National Institute of Justice is closely working with other departments to ensure the success and efficiency of the same while using technology as the means of achieving that.

Works Cited

Byrne, James M and Donald J Rebovich. The New Technology of Crime, Law and Social Control. New York: Criminal Justice Press, 2007.
Welsh, Brandon C and David P Farrington. "Effects of Closed Circuit Television Surveillance on Crime." Campbell Systematic Reviews (2008): 73.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 22) Example Of Essay On Criminal Justice Overview. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-criminal-justice-overview/
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"Example Of Essay On Criminal Justice Overview." WePapers, Dec 22, 2020. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-criminal-justice-overview/
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"Example Of Essay On Criminal Justice Overview," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 22-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-criminal-justice-overview/. [Accessed: 28-Mar-2023].
Example Of Essay On Criminal Justice Overview. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-criminal-justice-overview/. Published Dec 22, 2020. Accessed March 28, 2023.

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