The Criminal Justice System in the USA — КиберПедия

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The Criminal Justice System in the USA

The criminal justice system is composed of those agencies which must enforce the laws that society has enacted for its self-protection and preservation. Theoretically, it is an integrated apparatus whose functions are to apprehend, prosecute, convict, sentence, and correct offenders. The US system is federal by its nature, i.e. it consists of three subsystems: state, local and federal criminal justice agencies. The system is composed of three components: police, court and corrections. Each component must contribute to the same goal – the prevention and control of crime and the rehabilitation of offenders. So the effectiveness of the whole system depends on the efficient functioning of each component and their efficient interaction. But at present the criminal justice system doesn’t work successfully. Of the several million serious crimes reported every year to police, ranging from murder to car theft, only one in nine results in a conviction. The rate of solution varies with different crimes. Murder is usually reported, and 86 per cent of all reported murders lead to arrests. Among those arrested, however, only 64 per cent are prosecuted and not more than 43 per cent of the cases prosecuted result in convictions. Of persons prosecuted for murder 19 per cent are convicted of lesser crime and 38 per cent are acquitted or dismissed. In contrast, only 19 per cent of all the burglaries reported to police lead to an arrest. Four out of five arrested are prosecuted and 56 per cent are found guilty. So, for every twelve burglaries reported there is one conviction. Robbery – taking property from a person by force or threat of force – is a crime of violence, dangerous to life and increasing rapidly. But chances of a robber being convicted are small. Only 27 per cent of all robberies lead to an arrest. Of those arrested, 63 per cent are prosecuted, of whom one-half are convicted. Less than two-thirds of the cases in which individuals are charged with murder and robbery are prosecutable. Often the reasons are: insufficient evidence, mistaken identity, unprofessional work of law enforcement agencies, etc. Long delays in trials may lead to dismissals because witnesses die or disappear, evidence is stale or lost. When we consider the performance of correctional agencies, the failure of the criminal justice system becomes quite evident. While there may be only one conviction for every fifty or more serious crimes, only one in four convicted will go to prison, and most who are imprisoned will commit crimes after their release. Thus from among the very small portion of all people who commit serious crimes and are finally imprisoned, the system fails to rehabilitate the majority.

2. Find English equivalents in the text:

- С применением силы или под угрозой силы

- Преступления, регистрируемые ежегодно полицией

- Коэффициент раскрываемости

- Длительные задержки в судебном разбирательстве

- Быть обвиненным в убийстве или грабеже

- Приводить к осуждению

- Предупреждение и борьба с преступлениями.

3. Answer the questions:

1. What is the structure of the US criminal justice system?

2. What are the components of the criminal justice system?

3. Does the criminal justice system function effectively?

4. Can you give any examples to prove it?

5. What is necessary for its efficient functioning?


Text №3

1. Read text and give a brief summary of the text. The following words will help you understand the text:

faithful execution – справедливое выполнение (исполнение)

consent - согласие

to relinquish – сдавать, передавать, уступать (кому-либо)

to harbour - скрывать, затаить

to generate reels and reams - вызвать волнение, вызвать резонанс

to launch a successful career – сделать успешную карьеру

shudder - дрожь, содрогание


US Attorneys

The Justice Department is responsible for faithful execution of the laws under the president’s authority. The main administrators of federal law enforcement are ninety-four US attorneys, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Unlike federal judges, these appointees serve at the pleasure of the president and are expected to relinquish their positions when the reins of government change hands.

There is a US attorney in each federal judicial district. Their staffs of assistant attorneys vary in size with the amount of litigation in the district. US attorneys have considerable discretion, which makes them powerful political figures in any community. Their decision to prosecute or not affects the wealth, freedom, rights, and reputation of individuals and organizations in the district.

US attorneys are political appointees who often harbour political ambitions. Their position commands media attention and can serve political goals. In 1983 President Reagan appointed Rudolph Giuliani as US attorney for the Southern District of New York (covering a large portion of the New York metropolitan area). Over the next five years, Giuliani notched his briefcase with dozen of successful prosecutions of elected officials, judges, organized crime figures, and Wall Street inside traders. Giuliani’s activities generated reels and reams of favourable press coverage, he even appeared on a Newsweek cover. This kind of public exposure can help a US attorneys launch a successful career in elected office. As a powerful prosecutor or potential opponent, Giuliani’s name must make some politicians shudder.

2. Paraphrase the following expressions:

a) faithful execution of laws

b) under somebody’s authority

c) consent

d) appointee

e) to relinquish

f) amount of litigation

g) to prosecute

h) elected office

i) to harbour political ambitions

j) to launch a career.


3. Answer the questions:

1. What is an attorney in the US? How is he appointed?

2. When does an attorney resign?

3. What does the number of assistant attorneys in federal judicial districts

depend on?

4. What makes attorneys so important in American communities?

5. How do attorneys in the US realize their political ambitions?

6. What example in the text proves that US attorneys harbour political


Text № 4

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