Criminal Justice System vs. Community Participatory Criminal Justice System

The recent policing and public safety policies of the local, state and national agencies have gained widespread popularity due to the decisions of the judicial system as well as electoral politics that has been fueled by the anger the public at the law enforcement agencies (Lum & Koper, 2017). The public wants the local police to break the barriers that separate the police from citizens while inculcating a broader set of ideas within agents in the service to the community. Regarding formal organization, people require a new type of police, leadership, and management to change the way politics are carried out in the police from a traditional bureaucracy, a traditional judicial system to a criminal system that emphasizes the interaction between the environment and the organization.

For this Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich (2015) mention that the change of policing approaches and criminal law will be accompanied by a simplification of the hierarchy of police as well as the development of coordinated services; in context, many private and public agencies responsible for the security of the neighborhood.

Considering the circumstances, according to Topping & Bynrne (2016), traditionally there have been problem-oriented approaches in the criminal justice system that has been shifted towards the community participation system within the criminal justice system.

Traditionally, in the United States of America, both the state government and the federal management are empowered to indict criminal transgressions (Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich, 2015). The police action appears expressly and directly linked to the Constitution, because the police are part of the State’s control system and, specifically, of formal control.

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Moreover, it is an essential piece of State intervention on citizens in relation to effective control: the police constitutes the immediate body for the application of criminal control. The federal administration as well as states in the country has different criminal court systems, statutes, police agencies and prosecutors. This reflects that the specific crime either it is processed in the federal administration or in the state administration is dependent on several factors that are too complex to deal with (Muray, Mueller-Johnson & Sherman, 2015).

Consequently, the practice along with the legislation lead to the approaches for crime that are adequately managed by the federal administration. These crimes generally include organized crimes, drug trafficking, large scale corporate frauds, and financial crimes. Moreover, some of the crimes can only be processed by the federal administration. These include the cases involving the treason, espionage, federal taxes, and customs etc. (Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich, 2015). Although state administrations have broad powers to process numerous types of criminal activities, they can inspect and process only those devoted within the professional boundaries. But nevertheless, the powers of the federal administration extend all through the country. The federal management is frequently in a superior position to investigate as well as indict complex criminal activities and big scale.

Different levels of the proceedings are existing between different states and between these and the federal management, certain key values of criminal regulation and practices in the United States of America are applied uniformly to every federal and state investigations and proceedings. There is a defined organizational structure within the criminal system. First of all, throughout the country, the investigation as well as prosecution of an offense are the liability of the executive power (Lambert & Parsons, 2017). Prosecutors, investigators, and police officers are classified as members of the administrative branch instead of being part of the judicial branch. In addition, researchers from the Drug Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Marshals and criminal examiners from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) are working under the Attorney General of the Department of Criminal Justice. Each of the US Attorneys are appointed by the President and reports to the Attorney General (Lum & Nagin, 2017).

The deficiencies that prevent the effectiveness of the systems of justice in its fight against highly complex crimes obey to interrelated causes that affect all the links of the system (police, prosecutor’s offices, courts, and penitentiary system). In this sense, Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich (2015) hold one link or another responsible for the systemic defects in the prosecution that has never been identified causes the corrective measures to remedy the latent problems in the system. Studies carried out in different countries demonstrate that a high quality of justice compatible with a development, socio-economic development requires a transparent, consistent, predictable interpretation of criminal norms. These studies usually provide an analysis, rarely quantitative and often qualitative, of the effectiveness in the impulse and processing of causes carried mainly by the prosecutors or courts (Lambart & Parsons, 2017). In the context, when reform involving the community participatory criminal justice models of administration has been presented helps to resolve some of the issues to an extent. This has been a new moment in the administration of justice.

Primarily, Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich, (2015) mention that the change in the system can be observed regarding the two aspects. First, the goals of the policing approaches have changed with the aim to improve the breadth the law-initiated investigations by police or law enforcement between the communities and agencies. Secondly, there is a change of style of the policing that predominantly is observed to be based on the model of proactive approaches. This is done by enhancing the relationships and interactions with the community members.

Whereas, Smith (2017) suggests that the most visible part of the administration of justice with reforms can be collected in the three notes:

  1. the change in the strategies of intervention of the State apparatus in the conflicts;
  2. the diversification and expansion of mechanisms outside the state apparatus that participate in the processes of regulation and administration of justice;
  3. the retraction of the State of certain areas of the administration of justice.

Regarding the first aspect, the changes in the intervention such in conflicts are evidenced in the multiplication of both the organs of the machinery of a criminal justice system that are called to lead the management of the process, as well as methodologies for the treatment of disputes that they are presented. First, because the judicial system yields more and more space to other organs of the State, mainly of the executive branch of public power (Strang & Braithwaite, 2017). The methodologies are multiplied for the management of some conflicts such as the state intervention incorporates procedures that are based on the consensus of the parties and focus on the construction of the social fabric. Even for others, the procedures for the traditional criminal justice system are maintained, and the investigations are submitted to a decision that the judge must take in the application of the law. As for the executive branch, the range of actors that make incursions in the field of conflicts includes the police authorities to government actors. The administration intervenes, through its various agents, in conflicts that range from the individual and purely private to collective and public interest.

Moreover, beyond the generalized model of intervention based on criminal justice by State administrative bodies in the conflicts, the flexibility of community participatory judicial procedures is mainly done in two ways (Kapperler & Potter, 2017). On the one hand, informal procedures are incorporated into the task of administering formal justice, as a pre-judicial procedure that in many cases becomes mandatory. The fields in which most of the studies have developed a path, i.e. participation of the community members even though there are people who already have some experience in the criminal field (Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich, 2015). On the other hand, new mechanisms are created, with a procedural structure completely novel for the action in a certain type of cases.

As for the second aspect, there is also diversification and expansion in the regulation and conflict management actors that operate inside and outside of the State machinery. This involves ways of managing the criminal justice law in which the community is invoked (Van Cleve & Meyes, 2015). It is intended to give priority to reconciliation on punishment, but with the direction of the judiciary or State official. Also, of course, there are the instruments of management of conflicts that are part of different community dynamics and social movements, which gain new impetus at this stage. Furthermore, regarding the third aspect, the State withdraws from the board of the administration of justice by formally transferring power which materially cannot control. With these mechanisms, the State establishes a complex relationship against which substitution cannot be fully declared of the state apparatus by other dynamics of regulation or simple transformation of the judicial structures (Strang & Braithwaite, 2017).

Derived from the constitutional reform to article 21, in 1994, enacted the General Law that has established the foundation of the National System of Public Security (Feeley, 2017). The new policies act as a fundamental instrument through which it has determined the establishment of a National Public Security System that allows communities to coordinate with different agencies of state such as the Federal Executive, the Federal District, state and municipal authorities (Van Cleve & Mayes, 2015). This Law, in its Article 8, mentions that the authorities established, they will have effective mechanisms for society to participate in the planning and supervision of public safety; Article 49 states that the National Council will establish mechanisms and procedures for the participation of society with respect to the functions performed and, in general, of public safety activities in the country.

Article 50 of the aforementioned order determines that within the Coordination Councils for Public Security, provided by this Law, community participation will be promoted to know and comment on public safety policies and suggest specific measures and concrete actions to improve the function of the criminal justice system (Love et al., 2018). For this, the authorities carry out follow-up work and propose recognition for merit with incentives for members of the police institutions. The community members can make complaints regarding irregularities and assist the competent authorities in the exercise of their tasks. Besides, the communities can participate in non-confidential activities or the ones that put at risk the good performance of public safety. According to the law, each public security institution must have citizen participation (Findley, 2017).

In this context, the pillars of public policies aimed at reducing the crime incidentally include the relationship between the police and the community. It has derived in greater attention to the community, which has acquired a greater role in the policies directed to the end of criminal activities (Copes & Pogrebin, 2016). As a consequence, it has become popular in the discursive plane, which reflects a change in the paradigm of public security, towards citizen security. This in practice has translated into the search for greater participation. Community participation on security policies can be translated into an improvement of relations between the public and the police (Lochner, 2017).

Meanwhile, the police and members of law enforcement agencies have also evolved in terms of its training, widening considerably, both as regards the learning time invested, as in terms of diversity of materials in which agents and controls are trained. Most models or theories for the leadership present that the person needs to be proactive against the more traditional reagents (Hurwitz & Peffley, 2015). The proactive leadership and management models, such as the proximity police, community or neighborhood, aim to minimize the undeniable reactive component of interventions in the police, making it possible for the police to act in the prevention of security with knowledge of communities and their (Carter, 2013). In fact, some authors have pointed out that ‘ the community police following community-based criminal justice has reinvented the operations of police in certain sense ‘ (Lochner, 2017). The new practices involving police with advanced training demand new forms of leadership and management in police organizations.

A theory of leadership that studies how styles of leadership help transform organizations and members that compose them, is the Theory of Transformational Leadership (Weisburd, 2018). The author has distinguished between three styles of leadership: transformational, transactional and laissez-faire or no leadership. Transactional leadership is the traditional leadership style as observed in the traditional criminal justice system, that is, the leader is related to its employees based on transactions or offers involving incentives to influence the effort, as well as or clarification of the work needed to obtain a goal (Carter, 2013). This traditional style is necessary for clear setting objectives and correcting errors or deviations from the established objectives.

The transformational style increases the influence that the leader gets with the transactional style; the leaders transform their subordinates by inspiring them and enhancing their awareness regarding the importance of tasks and goals, provide superior order, and instill in them the transcendental personal concern for the betterment of the team. As a product of this control, followers tend to feel being respected and trusted and are self-motivated to perform more than what is expected of them. Finally, the style called laissez-faire or no leadership consists of the absence of leadership where the leader ‘ avoids responsibility, delays actions and does not provide feedback and is not interested in satisfying needs of his followers’ (Weisburd, 2018).

Traditionally, both transactional as well as the transformational styles have been observed among the leadership of the law enforcement agencies (Hurwitz & Peffley, 2015). For Copes & Pogrebin (2016), the transformational style consists of behaviors idealized or influenced that in turn distinguish the attribution and observed behavior, motivation, intellectual stimulation, and inconsideration, whereas the transactional style is composed of the Contingent Reward and Exit Management (active and passive). Overall, the studies have suggested that the outcomes of the transformational leadership style within the law enforcement and criminal justice institutions are more promising. The leadership profile of the police agents reflects that the efficient officer has the ability to motivate and build equilibrium in work, through team spirit and group solidarity (McKergow & Miller, 2016).

The efficient police leaders make use of expert power as a system of leadership, generating respect and some kind of admiration in his subordinates (idealized influence – attribution), exercise active supervision (direction by active exception), co- rectification of deviations from expectations, failures, and errors in the tasks of his subordinates. Moreover, they also use proactive modeling to reinforce the behaviors of their subordinates in a reliant way (contingent reinforcement); and encourages the exchange of ideas (intellectual stimulation) (Love et al., 2018).

The study by McKergow & Miller (2016) provides a comprehensive evaluation of the styles of management and leadership through law enforcement agencies. And, it is found that there is a greater tendency in the approach of command-oriented to the heroic leadership model for the police by which the individuals need to act in a way to ensure that followers are carrying out their will. However, the agenda of taking the command still remains the essential elements of the leadership. At every level, the leaders are required to develop the competencies to balance their techniques of leadership with the connection between community members and police. Otherwise, they would lose the effectiveness and perspective of policing and the criminal justice system. In the context, Van Cleve & Mayes (2015) has determined that a long term dispute is present for the police agencies as initially there is a test for the assessment of heroic capabilities where the consensus building and engagement skills are considered in the later stages. Besides, the act of balance may also prove a risk for the officers, but the officers who have the ability to transform and adapt themselves according to the situation are important in the system.

Furthermore, Lai & Zhao (2010) illustrates that the attitude of the public and reputation of the Police officials and law enforcement agencies is directly associated with the quality of performance. In general, the performance is related to the gap that exists between the ability of police to face the problem and rise in the rate of crime. The larger the gap is, the greater the apprehension of the citizen is towards the Police as well as their institutional aptitude. The studies considering the association of the police and public suggest that the police or criminal system acts in a better way if they are supported by the communities to whom they protect (Feeley, 2017; Love et al., 2018; Smith, 2017).

The high level of trust motivates the public to approach law enforcement agencies and report the crime so that the officer can perform in a more efficient manner. This indicates that the reciprocal trust and harmony in the police and public leads to the vicious cycle by which the mutual benefits are improved. On the other hand, the absence of cooperation and lack of the participation of citizens to account crimes lead to the higher ratio of criminal activities, and distrust that makes the situation more worse. A wide range of sample for analysis has been used by the studies, where most of them have extended study scope due to the comparison of public attitudes towards policing in the US and other countries. These findings report the significant feedback for how the agencies can improve the performance, its quality and thus gain high public trust (Lai & Zhao, 2010).

In terms of fairness, equal treatment and well communication, studies like Murray et al (2015) show that Hispanics have better opinion, attitudes, and behavior towards the police in comparison to African Americans. For the report, the Blacks have more unfavorable and negative opinions about the police due to the racism, unfair policing towards their communities and mistrust. The experiences of victimization by the communities have made them feel vulnerable with the belief that police has failed to provide them with safety and protection. Most of the minority communities feel fearful of police agencies and have depicted negative attitudes. In addition to this, the factors that affect the relationship of police officials with the community members are determined by (Lai & Zhao, 2010). These include experience of victimization, gender, age, education, race etc. For the study, the factors depict the overall image of the police within the societies. In particular, the trust factor is closely associated with the satisfaction of public with the work of police, race, and concentrated drawbacks.

The studies have largely presented the knowledge related to the racism and segregation in the work of police for the poor neighborhoods where the majority of residents are either Hispanics or African Americans. For Lambert & Parsons, 2017), there is no doubt that there is structural racism in police surveillance and in the criminal justice system. Racist attitudes are ‘obvious,’ that is, the police decisions to select mostly the black or Hispanic community as the object of their investigations and a low number of in-depth investigations into the abuses. For Tyler, Jackson & Mentovich (2015), the fear of oppression and discriminatory police surveillance is as debilitating to the community as the fear of crime. However, the community policing and community participation based criminal justice system seem to offer the opportunities to black teenagers, or efforts to promote trust between law enforcement bodies and the communities in which they operate. The communities are provided the prospects to provide feedback that aim to make modifications and positive changes within the system to gain the trust of the respective communities.

It is further assessed that the literature supports the community participation based criminal justice system. The latest model for the protection in criminal justice system is precisely characterized by the importance of rights as well as policies that construct citizenship. The criminal policy within the system has responded to the criterion of the ‘ultima ratio’ (Lum & Nagin, 2017). The model of criminal justice within this paradigm corresponds to a criminal model of responsibility with guarantees clearly demarcated in the international law of human rights. While it has been pointed out that the criminal justice system is a central characteristic of criminal justice models consistent with convention for human rights and other instruments, both at the local and regional levels. The definition and implementation of these systems have described tendencies that have truly guaranteed the criminal responsibility model. On the other hand, efforts to enhance the participation of different indigenous peoples, as a manifestation of legal diversity, derived from ethnic and cultural diversity, are also recognized as antecedents of criminal justice (Copes & Pogrebin, 2016; Findley, 2017; Smith, 2017).


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Criminal Justice System vs. Community Participatory Criminal Justice System. (2022, Apr 27). Retrieved from

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