Criminal justice is one of the fields of social life, which, no doubt, can be called one of the integral parts of modern society. But it is unbelievable what diverse forms criminal justice may take. This essay is to compare and contrast two places related to the field of criminal justice and through this example to display what unrecognizably diverse forms can criminal justice take. The two places to be compared and contrasted are a court and a prison. Both fulfill the same function. They are meant to prevent crimes in the society. They are both parts of the state organism. They both are largely financed by the tax payers. Both of them are links in the penetration chain. Criminals go through these links at different stages of their “Educational” process. Basically this educational metaphor may be seen in the contrast part as well. This is like a department of education in the capital, and an average school in a small distant village. The first is nice and beautiful, and full of unexpressed pathos. Here is where the curriculum is developed. In case of criminal justice system this is the court. Here we have a number of very serious, nicely dressed people, seriously taking part in some medieval ceremonies. Any deviation from the scenario may lead to very serious subsequences, especially for the convicted. A curriculum for everybody is chosen here.
In the building of the court, in the presence of their justices, the society, represented here by the jury, will express and prove their utmost concern regarding the faith of the convicted, regarding the moral portrait of the convicted, about the motives of the convicted and his future, which needs to be prescribed by them.
But the hearings are over, and very shortly the criminal – or at least a person, who is believed to be a criminal – appears in a different place. A place, called a jail. Here one can find no signs of the society’s care and indifference. Here the convicted is left alone with all the social indifference and inability to do anything to change the situation. At this place people do not run around in nice dresses, and lengthy and flowery speeches here are reduced to a brief and expressive cursing.
At court the society pretends to care for the accused. The society pretends to listen and to hear. After the session is over and the convicted is taken to jail, the care of the society vanishes.
There is a great contrast even in the furniture of the two places. Look at the nicely equipped court rooms. Here is an example of luxurious setting, at times close to being unaffordable. Now look at the furniture one can find in a prison. This is something barely usable. Something intended not for humans but for animals, the animals, for who people in charge of their maintenance care very little.
People, who work for the court and those who work at the prisons, can also be contrasted. Higher education and first class manners in the first case, lack of education, low salaries and not-so-nice uniforms in the latter case.
These are just a few strokes, to compare and contrast of two places, which seem to be so tightly connected into one system of criminal justice. These strokes may hint at some thoughts, regarding the effectiveness of modern system of criminal justice. Sub sequentially thoughts regarding a dire need of reforming the entire system may cross one’s mind. However these thoughts are subject to another essay, dedicated to an even more significant problem of possible ways of reforming the field.