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Controlling Discretion in the Criminal Justice System

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Controlling Discretion in the Criminal Justice System Discretion in the criminal justice system is becoming a rising problem. Criminals aren't being arrested when they should, police are using deadly force when it may not have been needed, prosecutors have too much leeway when it comes to which cases they prosecute, judges are given lots of room when it comes to bail and sentencing, and corrections aren't given enough guidelines and rules when it comes to correctional decisions. There needed to be a change to control the overall discretion and there was. Numerous factors played into this change and it proved to be mostly effective. Discretion issues have decreased since the new changes. The issues came in many shapes and forms. Discretion is used by police, prosecutors, and judges. Police use it to decide whether to make an arrest or not. Prosecutors can either accept or reject a case given to them. Judges decide on sentences of convicted criminals. All three of these put together make the entire justice system based on discretion. Police have the most influence discretion wise on the justice system. Goldstein stated in "The Criminal Justice System: Politics and Policies" that "the police define the ambit of discretion throughout the process of other decision makers." Discretion is also stated as "the means by which actors of the criminal justice system substitute their own judgments, interests, or objectives for formally specified statutory punishments in order to influence criminal justice outcomes." (Kessler and Piehl 1997) This is a perfect example of what discretion is. Police, judges, and prosecutors all heavily influence the outcomes of those going through the justice system. For example, police use discretion by choosing not to ticket an illegally parked car, not arrest a criminal suspect that gives info, not arrest when victim doesn't press charges, not…...

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