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Future of Criminal Justice Policy

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The recent past has overseen a rise of newchallenges in the criminal justice system. Not only has the issue ofprison overcrowding and increase in firearm crime continued, butother issues such as increased terrorism, an increase in breach ofimmigration laws, and increased threat to national security haveemerged. Due to these challenges, scholars and researchers in thefield of the criminal justice policy are attempting to assist thecriminal justice policymakers by conducting extensive research intothe possible solutions that can be used to ensure that the future ofthe criminal justice system is secure. The research has mainlyfocused on individuals, communities, and the state. Although theresearch focuses on the different aspects of the society, Velazquez(2011) asserted that the future of the criminal justice policy isdependent on gaining valuable knowledge from different regions orcountries in the world. This would allow the criminal justicepolicymakers to adopt some of the beneficial aspects and incorporatethem into the individual, state, and societal aspect of criminalpolicymaking. This essay discusses the future of criminalpolicymaking, with a particular focus on future policies, limitationsfacing criminal justice policy and solution to anticipating policyoutcomes.

The number of incarceration in the US had been ona steady rise for 30 years[ CITATION Jam15 l 1033 ].However, since 2008, the rate of crime decreased significantly, thuscontributing to a gradual decline in thenumber of incarceration. Despite this, the number of people in theprison system remained at approximately 2 million as of 2012[ CITATION Jam15 l 1033 ].It is expected that the incarceratedindividual would return at to the society sometime in the future. Assuch, the criminal justice policy expects to develop a system thatwould allow ex-convicts to reenter the society and become usefulmembers of the community once again. The future of the criminaljustice policy entails the formulation of specific programs andactivities that would prepare prisoners to return to the communityand live as law-abiding citizens as well as productive members of thesociety.

Apart from amending the system to allow smoothreentry of ex-convicts, the criminal policy in the United States alsointends to eliminate social biases that exist. The judicial system inthe US is still affected by racial prejudice[CITATION ACL27 l 1033 ].Judicial decision-making is often skewed and tends to have a negativeview of people of color. This was evidentin the Boston Vs Kentuckycase, where prosecutors excluded jurors from cases based on theircolor[ CITATION ACL27 l 1033 ].In addition, Nunn (2007) asserted that people of color are morelikely to be incarcerated than white people in the US. The future ofthe criminal justice policy in the US intends to eliminate the issueof racial bias and ensure that people from all races are affordedequal rights and fair sentencing[ CITATION Neu15 l 1033 ].This is expected to be achieved byoverhauling the current judicial policies that enhance racialdisparities in sentencing.

Limitation of Criminal Justice Policy

There are several limiting factors in the questfor securing a reformed criminal justice policy. To commence with, notwo states define crime the same way. For instance, in some states,the use of marijuana is legal and therefore people found using it arenot considered criminals. On the other hand, some states have notlegalized marijuana and users are often incarcerated. This lack ofhomogeneity in the definition of crime is a major obstacle to theestablishment of consistent criminal justice policies that can governthe criminal justice system. In addition, different states havedifferent punishments for similar crimes[ CITATION Ell13 l 1033 ].Policymakers are finding it difficult toestablish flexible policies due to the disparities in the definitionof crime and punishment in the different states. To ensure that thefuture of the criminal justice policy is secure and fruitful, it isimperative that all the states come up with a homogenous definitionof the major crimes and the punishment that can be afforded for eachoffence. This would not only ensure fairness across all states butalso allow uniformity in the criminal justice policy.

Apart from this, the current correctional systemin the United States does not address the need of the prisoner. Mostof the prison systems across the country have failed in their attemptto reform the prisoners. Consequently, that rate of repeated offenseshas increased. According to Currie (2013), the correctional systemmakes individual worse rather than better after incarceration. Thisis a major limitation to the future of the criminal justice policybecause it would require significant restricting of the correctionalfacilities to ensure that the correctional system serves its purposeof rehabilitating criminals. After the extensive restructuring of thecriminal justice policy, it would also take a considerable amount oftime before its impacts can be fully felt. While the idea of policyrestructuring and overhaul has already begun, many Americans arestill confused as to how President Trump will continue with thereforms in criminal justice policy[ CITATION OKe16 l 1033 ].The change in guard is also a major limitation as the new presidentis expected to come up with his ownpolicies, which will affect the changes that are already in place.

Solutions to Policy Outcomes

The changes in criminal justice policy areexpected to have several outcomes. To commence with it is anticipatedthat the changes in policies would affect the reentry of ex-convictsinto the society in that it would allow them to be law-abidingcitizens and productive members of the society. Even though this isan achievable outcome, scholar, and political analysts anticipatethat it would take considerable amounts of resources to ensure thatthe correctional system works as planned[ CITATION Ell13 l 1033 m Jam15].Hence, the possible solution to ensuring that the correctional systemcan achieve the intended outcome of rehabilitating prisoners would beto make sure that the federal governmentincreases the budgetary allocation for prisons. This move would allowthe prison system to formulate sound programs that can contribute tothe rehabilitation of convicts. In addition, the government shouldalso ensure that the law is followed to the latter as well as educatepeople about racism and racial bias. This would ensure that thejudiciary system eliminates the issue of racism during sentencing.


In the recent past, the criminal justice policy isa system has attempted to reform some of the flaws in its executionin a bid to ensure that all individuals receive equal rights andopportunities in the judiciary. Among the reforms expected to takeplace is the future is the elimination of racial bias in the justicesystem, as well as the improvement of the correction system to allowsmooth reentry of ex-convicts into the society. These efforts havehowever been limited by the change in president, who is expected toformulate his own policies, as well as the different definition ofcrime and punishment in the different states. Nevertheless, forsuccessful reforms and future changes in the criminal justice policy,it is imperative that the government increases the budget andprovides education to everybody.


ACLU. (2014). Racial Disparities in Sentencing. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Currie, E. (2013). Crime and Punishment in America. New York: Picador.

James, N. (2015). Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community and Recidivism. Washington D.C: Congressional Research service.

Neubauer, D. W., &amp Fradella, H. F. (2015). America`s Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Nunn, K. B. (2007). Race and Racism in the Criminal Justice System. In V. Streib, State of Criminal Justice (p. 1). Washington DC: American Bar Association.

O`Keefe, K. (2016, November 25). Criminal-Justice Reform Efforts Face a New Uncertainty Under Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/after-donald-trumps-win-justice-overhaul-groups-seek-a-path-forward-1480082400

Velazquez, T. (2011). Finding Direction: Expanding Criminal Justice Options by Considering Policies of Other Nations. Washinton: Justice Policy Institute.