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The process of creating and implementing policies offers a uniform framework through which drafted or suggested policies can be examined, developed, proposed, started, approved, and adopted in accordance with the standards of the criminal justice system. The most typical issues that the general public raises can be effectively addressed through the creation of policies. Policy analysts could determine whether a particular policy would have an effect on the target audience in a positive or negative way by conducting policy analysis.
Governments typically create and set policies to facilitate, regulate, and provide guidance during the decision-making process. Moreover, policies are formulated as a strategy of providing the next course of action to be taken in various situations (Mallicoat & Gardiner, 2013). The implementation of criminal justice policy is centered on the needs arising or changes that take place within a society. Policy development and implementation consist of six different components that form the phases of the process; including identification of a problem, establishment of demands, agenda information, adoption, implementation, and evaluation.
Problem identification refers to that phase of policy development when an issue or potential issue is realized. Once a problem is known, questions could be raised by concerned citizens, media, politicians and advocacy groups. Some of the most prevalent issues within the criminal justice field that could be identified may include but are not limited to distresses about the residency requirements for convicted sex offenders, increased crime rates, and prison overcrowding.
Once an issue has been identified, policy developers are tasked with the responsibility to understand the purpose of policies, or the policy demands about the issues. It is, however, important to acknowledge that an identified issue could be solved most appropriately through the creation or modification of an existing policy. The intention of the policy is articulated at this phase.
The next step involves presenting the identified problems and alternative solutions to the authorized decision makers. At this stage, agenda information, adequate knowledge on the identified issue, is essential in making any assumption. To start with, it requires documentation of the known preferences by decision-makers, and, secondly, needs implementing some programs and policies. Agenda setting could be described as the art of doing something new, but it appears as if it were old (Peters 2012).
The development of criminal justice policy involves some political individuals, for instance, a congressman. All the relevant and required parties must be involved by sponsoring the bill that affects the criminal justice system. Policy adoption phase is the step where policy is adopted after a decision by the regulatory agency was made to implement it.
Once a policy has been passed and adopted, it is being implemented. In most scenarios, criminal justice policies are developed to make adjustments to the overall process of handling offenders by the system. According to resent historical review, most policies are aimed to be harsher on crimes by advocating for penalties for various crimes as well as restricting the movement of offenders within the society (Mead 2013).
Policy evaluation is the phase and component of criminal justice policy which involves monitoring of the implemented policy. Even though a policy has been successfully implemented it could still require further adjustments, and, moreover, the initial conditions or reasons for the development of the policy could change in future. Therefore, policy evaluation is an essential strategy through which a policy is reviewed to make sure that it serves its legitimate purpose. Policy evaluation is dependent on the nature of the policy.
Influence on Criminal Justice Policy Development and Policymaking
Numerous policies have been formulated in the criminal justice system in the United States. Some of the policies will be updated and reviewed in future while others will be replaced and newly implemented. Several factors are linked to influence criminal justice policy development.
Media press is one of the leading factors that influence criminal justice policy development and policy making. Commercial pressures have emerged as determinants on the news media present-day management of crime and violence. The resulting coverage by the press influences and affects the public opinion and criminal justice policy. Media content is determined and shaped by the economic and marketing factors that regularly supersede traditional journalistic principles for newsworthiness.
A political decision is another significant factor that influences criminal justice policymaking. Politicians play a significant role in mandating the law, and politics, as well as influencing all major aspects of law and criminal justice. Consequently, politicians are also influenced by the media, constituentcy, and lobbyists. All these factors affect the criminal justice system at each level. Majority of the decision-makers within criminal justice system are to great extent dependent on elections, which makes them involved in politics. Governors are responsible for appointing parole board members. Therefore the decisions of the board reflect the governors’ conduct/behavior as well. Due to such political influence, some of the decisions made by the board could be due to the pressure experienced by a governor.
Policymaking has recently emerged as a research-based activity that involves the collection of data on a certain topic to determine whether a policy could be formulated to help the society function better with criminal justice system. The research data is later utilized into a policymaking system. Eventually, the research turns out as a policy formulation and could be drawn from such issues as executive orders (Dunn 2015).
Whenever major incidences happen at a national level, the repercussions of those events could affect the general public in future. Therefore, actions and precautions regarding national level events should be addressed at all times. At most times, the outcome of some of these incidences end up being involved with criminal justice innovation. As a way of improving criminal justice systems, new policies have been developed on law enforcement agencies to acquire information on issues such as terrorism.
Criminal justice policy development is also influenced by various public figures. Some of the individuals concerned sponsor a bill, get it voted on and passed to become a policy. Generally, most policies come into effect through this approach in many states. Politics dictates the laws that legislature enacts.
Developing and implementing a policy remains a fundamental activity in any operational criminal justice system. Any government that lack properly developed and implemented policies lacks control as well. Formal documented policies help criminal justice personnel at any level to have a proper channel and guidance on how to make decisions. From the presented data in the report, there are six major components and factors that influence criminal justice policymaking. These factors include policy demands, agenda formation, problem identification, policy adoption, implementation and evaluation. The most influential factors in criminal justice policymaking and development include political decision, and media press coverage.
Dunn, W. N. (2015). Public policy analysis. Routledge.
Mallicoat, S. L., & Gardiner, C. L. (2013). Criminal justice policy. SAGE Publications.
Mead, L. M. (2013). Teaching public policy: linking policy and politics. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 19(3), 389-403.
Peters, B. G. (2012). American public policy: promise and performance. Cq Press.
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