"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
- Ayn Rand
One of the most important duties of a legislature is representation. In most western nations, a Congress, Parliament or similar body of elected representatives serves the interests of their constituents.
Legislative bodies discuss issues which arise in the jurisdiction they serve. Deliberations are usually open to the public unless sensitive matters, like issues of national security are being discussed.
Legislators are often called law-makers because one of their key roles is to create and pass the laws needed for governing. Since law is central to criminal justice, legislators play a key role in the field.
In most cases, legislative bodies also determine the expenses needed to enforce or execute laws. They may also decide budgets which apply to the various bureaucracies tasked with carrying out functions deemed vital to the operation of the government.
Oversight involves determining which organizations will be tasked with carrying out the functions of government. Oversight committees will often be formed for specific tasks as needed and these will create bills to be approved by the entire legislative body.
Any time the people of a nation deem it necessary to either revise or rewrite a constitution, the legislatures will be tasked with this duty. Those tasked with creating a new government via a constitution are called legislators, a Constitutional Congress, or similar term.
Legislatures also determine the structure of the government in keeping with the constitution of the nation. It decides how each bureaucracy or organization will be managed and to whom each reports. This includes criminal justice agencies.
Membership in a legislative body is most often via public elections, but not always. In some cases, representatives are appointed while in others it can be a heriditary position. How this is done depends on the form of rule for a nation.
Most legislative bodies meet in some kind of place, most often referred to as Chambers. "Chambers" may refer to a physical location or the legislative body itself. Some chambers directly deal with matters of criminal justice, others indirectly.
Being able to contact legislative bodies in a democracy is often written into law. Other forms of rule may not want this information to be made public.
Where possible, our goal is to make contact information known. This will permit students and professionals in the fields of criminal justice with easy access to those who steer their organizations.
We hope to continually expand and update these resources so that anyone can gain access to their representatives, find information they may need for their organization, or generally satisfy their curiousity.
We especially welcome suggestions for links and other resources...Contact us here.
No matter the jurisdiction, legislative bodies exists to ensure that the government functions as it should. While the following jurisdictional divisions may differ somewhat throughout the world, all may be generally broken down as Supreme oversight, Mid-level oversight and local.
Thus, in the United States, there are Federal legislators, State legislators, County legislators, and local (city, town, village or some other entity). County and city legislators are often referred to as simply law-makers or by some other term, but the role is the same - to pass laws deemed useful to society.
In nearly every instance, the legislatures are located in the Capital city for the jurisdiction.
Federal legislators serve the needs of the entire nation. In the US, Congress is located in Washington, DC. In the UK, Parliament is located in London.
State legislatures in the US total 50. In Canada, there are Provences, not states. In fact, in most western nations, the divisions are not by "state" but some other term.
The US and many other nations also have counties. One exception in the US is the State of Louisiana, which uses the term "Parish," in keeping with its Catholic roots.
Locally, cities, towns, villages, incorporated townships or other legal entities will all have some form of legislative body to serve local interests including police and jails.
About CJLaw Intl
The purpose of Criminal Justice Law International is to explore issues of importance to Criminal Justice and Law students worldwide while providing tools and resources to enhance education.
Justice is NOT just an American concept.
Justice, social justice, and criminal justice impact everyone on the planet. As the world becomes more globalized, more interconnected via technology and transportation, a need arises to alter the old ways of approaching criminals and crime control.
We hope to be a positive influence on these changes. Learn more About CJLaw Intl.