65 terms

Criminal Justice

Introduction to Criminal Justice
An action taken by a person or group of people that violates the rules of a given society to the point that someone is harmed or the interests of that society are harmed.
sociological imagination
Refers to the idea that we must look beyond the obvious to evaluate how our social location influences how we see society.
A process by which individuals acquire a personal identity and learn the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to their society.
The period from January 29, 1920, to December 5, 1933, during which the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages was made illegal in the United States by the Eighteenth Amendment. (Enforcement legislation was entitled the National Prohibition Act or Volstead Act.)
war on drugs
A policy aimed at reducing the sale and use of illegal drugs.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The principal investigative arm of the Department of Justice. It investigates the crimes assigned to it and provides cooperative services to other law enforcement agencies.
From the English words "shire" and "reeve" (king's agent). An official of a county or parish who primarily carries out judicial duties.
A writ issued by a judicial official that authorizes an officer to perform a specified act required for the administration of justice, such as an arrest or search.
An officer of the court responsible for executing writs and processes, making arrests, and keeping order in the court.
A crime considered less serious than a felony. Usually tried in the lowest local courts and punishable by no more than one year in jail.
A crime punishable by a term in state or federal prison and sometimes by death. In some instances, a sentence for a felony conviction may be less than one year. Felonies are sometimes called "high crimes."
county stockade
A component of a county corrections system. The stockade usually holds offenders who have already been sentenced. Because of overcrowding in state systems, many county stockades hold state felony offenders on a contract basis.
U.S. Secret Service
A federal investigative law enforcement agency authorized to protect the president and other U.S. government officials and visiting officials. The agency also investigates financial fraud and counterfeiting.
U.S. Border Patrol
the mobile uniformed law enforcement arm of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Its primary mission is to detect and prevent the illegal entry of foreign-born persons into the United States.
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
An agency of the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the admission of foreigners to the United States and for administering immigration benefits, including the naturalization of applicants for U.S. citizenship.
U.S. Marshals Service (Federal Marshals)
Created in 1789, the agency protects federal courts and ensures the effective operation of the judicial system. The agency also carries out fugitive investigations, custody and transportation of federal prisoners, security for government witnesses, and asset seizure in federal forfeitures.
U.S. Customs Service
The primary enforcement agency protecting U.S. borders and dealing with smuggling, imports, and exports.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Enforces U.S. controlled substances laws and regulations. Also brings to the U.S. criminal system organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, and/or distribution of controlled substances to be trafficked in the United States.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATFE)
A law enforcement organization within the United States Treasury that enforces federal laws and regulations relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, and arson.
The power of a judge, public official, or law enforcement officer to make decisions on issues within legal guidelines.
clearance rates
The number of crimes that have been solved by the police.
bill of indictment
A declaration of the charges against an accused person that is presented to a grand jury to determine whether enough evidence exists for an indictment.
true bill
The decision of a grand jury that sufficient evidence exists to indict an accused person.
The decision of a grand jury not to indict an accused person as a result of insufficient evidence. Also called "no true bill."
nolo contendere
Latin for "I do not wish to contend." The defendant neither admits nor denies committing the crime, but agrees to be punished as if guilty. This type of plea cannot be used as an admission of guilt if a civil case is held after the criminal trial.
prima facie case
A case established by evidence sufficient enough to establish the fact in question unless it is rebutted.
A court appearance in which the defendant is formally charged with a crime and asked to respond by pleading guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere.
preventive detention
The jailing of a defendant awaiting trial, usually in order to protect and individual or the public.
presentence report
An account prepared by a probation officer that assists the sentencing court in deciding an appropriate sentence for a convicted defendant. The report includes the defendant's prior, if any, criminal history; relevant personal circumstances; the appropriate classification of the defendant and the offense under the established system; the variety of sentences and programs available; and the offense's impact on the victim.
electronic monitoring
A form of intermediate punishment in which an offender is allowed to remain in the community but must ear an electronic device that allows the authorities to monitor his or her whereabouts. Electronic monitoring may also be done via telephone.
prejudicial error
an error affecting the outcome of a trial.
A wooden frame with holes for securing the head and hands that was used to secure and expose an offender to public derision.
chemical castration
Anti-androgen drugs, usually administered by injection, that have the effect of lowering the testosterone level and blunting the sex drive in males.
victim precipitation
A situation in which a crime victim plays an active role in initiating a crime or escalating it.
serial murder
Homicides of a sequence of victims committed by an offender in three or more separate events occurring over a period of time.
The use or threat of violence against a state or other political entity in order to coerce.
Sexual activity, usually sexual intercourse, that is forced on another person without his or her consent, usually under threat of harm. Sexual activity conducted with a person who is younger than a specified age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental handicap, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception is called statutory rape.
sexual assault
Sexual contact that is committed without the other party's consent or with a party who is not capable of giving consent (such as a child or mentally handicapped individual).
The removal of property from a person by violence or by threat of violence.
A form of theft in which an offender takes possessions that do not belong to him or her with the intent of keeping them. Some jurisdictions specify "grand larceny" or "petty larceny" based on the value of the stolen items.
The act of breaking into and entering a building or other structure or vehicle to commit a crime. Extreme force is not required, and burglary is not restricted to theft. Any crime committed, such as assault, is considered to be burglary.
The act of intentionally burning a building. Any death that results from arson is murder, regardless of the arsonist's intention.
dark figure of crime
A metaphor that describes crime that goes unreported to police and criminal justice officials and is never quantified.
Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)
An annual publication by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that uses data from all participating law enforcement agencies in the United States to summarize the incidence and rate of reported crime.
crime rate
The number of Crime Index offenses divided by the population of an area, usually given as a rate of crimes per 100,000 people.
National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
A crime-reporting system in which each separate offense in a crime is described, including data describing the offender(s), victim(s), and property.
victimization surveys
Surveys that attempt to measure the extent of crime by interviewing people who have suffered crime.
trial by ordeal
An ancient custom found in many cultures in which the accused was required to perform a test to prove guilt or innocence. The outcome of the test was considered to be decided by a divine authority.
classical school of criminology
A set of criminological theories that uses the idea of free will to explain criminal behavior.
A theory associated with Jeremy Bentham that states that people will choose not to commit crime when the pain of punishment outweighs the benefit derived from the crime.
rational choice theory
A theory that states that people choose criminal behavior consciously. The theory also states that people may choose to commit crime upon realizing that the crime's benefits probably outweigh the consequences of breaking the law.
positivist school of criminology
A set of criminological theories that uses scientific techniques to study crime and criminals.
The appearance in a person of features thought to be from earlier stages of human evolution. Popularized by Cesare Lombroso.
the use of body types and physical characteristics to classify human personalities.
XYY syndrome
A condition in which a male is born with an extra Y chromosome. Such males tend to be tall, have difficulties with language, and have relatively low IQs. The condition was once thought to cause criminal behavior.
The assessment of human psychology via the examination of objectively observable and quantifiable actions, as opposed to subjective mental states.
operant conditioning
The alteration of behavior by giving a subject rewards or punishments for a specified action until the subject associates the action with pleasure or pain.
Chicago school
Criminological theories that rely, in part, on individuals' demographics and geographic location to explain criminal behavior.
differential association theory
States that crime is learned. Children learn crime from other children. Developed by Edwin Sutherland.
strain theory
The hypothesis that the causes of crime can be connected to the pressure on culturally or materially disadvantaged groups or individuals to achieve the goals held by society, even if the means to those goals require the breaking of laws. Based on Emile Durkheim's theory of anomie.
A condition in which a people or society undergoes a breakdown of social norms and values
social control theory
A theory that seeks not to explain why people break the law, but instead explores what keeps most people from breaking the law. Associated with Travis Hirrchi.
neutralization theory
A perspective that states that juvenile delinquents have feelings of guilt when involved in illegal activities. Illegal behavior is episodic, and delinquents drift between legal and illegal activities. The delinquent sets aside his or her own legal and moral values in order to drift into illegal activities.
labeling theory
A perspective that considers recidivism to be a consequence, in part, of the negative labels applied to offenders.
false consciousness
An attitude held by members of a class that does not accurately reflect the reality of that class's existence. A term associated with Karl Marx.