"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
- John Quincy Adams
Science tells us that nothing occurs within a vacuum. The same can be said of criminal justice and the laws which guide the field. Worldwide, political forces play a key role in deciding how and why laws are imposed on society. These laws dictate whether someone will be fined, arrested and/or incarcerated for breaking societies rules.
Since these laws are created by legislators, most of whom are elected officials representing specific party interests, no study of criminal justice is complete without a dicussion of politics.
For this reason, we cannot exclude politics from this website. We wish we could. We wish that partisan politics would simply go away. But the fact is, it will not...at least not in the forseeable future.
We have attempted to divide this information in a logical manner. Some of the info will apply directly to criminal justice and criminal law, some indirectly. But all is important. Remember to send us any comments, questions or suggestions you have and share, bookmark and/or like these pages.
(Pages Coming Soon)
The modern history of politics includes the Suffrage and Civil Rights movements, which brought the right to vote in America to women while insuring the right to vote to minorities, most notably Blacks. Yet, the history of politics runs far deeper. In this section, we will explore the roots of politics, especially partisanship with a view to understanding how each legal shift impacted criminal justice.
Political parties are nothing new. In fact, George Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned the fledgling U.S. nation against involvement in party politics. To be sure, politics need not be partisan, but tends toward this fact of life. This is because it is human nature for people to align with others who are like-minded. In these pages, we will explore party politics as it relates to criminal justice law.
Universities worldwide teach entire curricula on political theory. Theories of politics range from the very liberal philosophies of John Stuart Mill to the repressive notions of Karl Marx. One of the most influential political theorists in Western nations has been the writings of John Locke, who challenged the long-held "Divine Right of Kings." Yet, well before this, political theory was established via Thomas Aquinas and others.
Throughout much of the world, political activities and parties are governed by the rule of law. Indeed, just as law regulates nearly every human activity, politics is not immune. Yet, a strange situation arises from this: When one party holds power, it tends to pass laws which are favorable to them and less-than-favorable to opposing parties. In the long-term, this harms society, as George Washington wisely predicted. But how can this sad situation be mitigated? What can be done to regulate politics in a just way?
The United States is dominated by two starkly opposing political parties, the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right. Yet, what does it mean to the right or left? And why do only two parties tend to dominate while the multitude of "third" parties rarely seem to make inroads into the political realm? Students of politics have wrangled with these issues since the founding of the U.S. Republic yet solutions remain elusive. In this section, we explore political parties in the United States and what laws may resolve these issues.
Political donations are one area of heated debate which deserves a special section. Money influences people. And since people form political parties, the money which flows into both parties and individual politicians has a definite influence. This influence extends to the passing of laws and the policies an adminstration pursues. Thus, any discussion of how politics influences criminal justice cannot rightly proceed without an examination of donations. This includes who can donate, how and when as well as what said influence buys.
The impact of the media on politics and criminal justice law cannot be understated. With the explosive growth of media outlets thanks to the internet, trust in the media is at an all-time low. This is in part because some media outlets operate with integrity while others are completely amateur with a wide range in between. Just as politics has become very polarized, trust in certain media has become equally polarized. This is the case worldwide.
In the U.S., many forget that there is an entire world outside of America. Yet, global politics is just as heated and muddled as in the United States. In this section, we will examine the various partisan issues and political entities impacting criminal justice efforts globally. In general, the political entities are often as partisan and either left or right as those in the U.S. Why? The answer lay in human nature, which tends to follow whatever is easiest.
Closely related to the impact of money in politics and criminal justice is lobbying. Although lobbies often donate large sums to politicians, their key role is to use the influence they purchase to have laws passed which are favorable to the goals of their organization. Thus, no discussion of criminal justice politics is complete without an examination of the various lobbies vying for change. To be clear, lobbying can be healthy or harmful for society.
The Politics of Justice
Justice occurs when wrong is made right. When someone violates the rules (laws) of society, they must pay a penalty of some kind. This is core to the concept of justice. But the exact nature of what should be penalized and what the penalties consist of is often hotly debated.
To be sure, these debates are colored by party politics. The left and the right often fight vicious battles over their own version of right. Those in the center are often squeezed by both extremes to conform to their way. The ultimate loser in these battles is the citizenry, which must often cope with alternating, often confusing laws.
This often results in a loss of confidence in both leadership and law. This loss of confidence then leads to an erosion in respect for law and those on the front lines, namely police and correctional officials, pay the steepest price. As an "Us Versus Them" attitude develops, battle lines are drawn. Social order too begins to erode and crime rates spike.
The goal of this section is to explore this dicotomy and find ways to mitigate the negative consequences of power-hungry politicians and political parties on both the profession and social order.
Political resources often include the establishment of voting centers and movements to encourage voting. In the United States, the right often discourages the expansion of voting while the left encourages doing so. The reasons are presumably because one side sees mroe support for their position with more voters, but there could be other factors at play.
In any case, this section will include resources related to politics from voting centers to how to register with various parties or anything else deemed necessary to serving the ends of criminal justice and law in politics.
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.