Analysis of My Learning Experience
In completion of a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, I have learned every system has flaws. The American criminal justice system is no different. It is our duty as citizens to evaluate, maintain, and analyze the key components needed to provide social control in America. We must work continuously to promote the integrity, fairness, and equality of the criminal justice system. Moreover, society must change its ideals and values concerning criminals. Criminals can be rehabilitated, and we must work to change our punishment process from retribution and incarceration back to rehabilitation. Society and the criminal justice system can develop, maintain, and analyze a basic continuum of sanctions that gauge and punish offenders according to criminal activity and effectiveness. Maintaining a continuum of sanctions will protect society and decrease the risk of recidivism.
I believe the online environment fosters an environment of self-reflection. The online experience is extremely difficult; the process takes dedication, organization, planning, and an extreme amount of daily work. I have written hundreds of posts, papers, and thoughts. The process promotes individual thought and analysis; therefore, I have learned more. The online environment does not foster memorization. In this light, I have learned how cases and rulings have helped to mold the criminal justice experience. I have formed a type of self-actualization in respect towards promoting integrity, fairness, and equality in the criminal justice system. Furthermore, my thoughts and beliefs have not been institutionalized. The online learning environment provides instruction and the tools necessary for individuals to form individual beliefs, attitudes, and truths about the curriculum.
In May of 2011, the United States Department of Justice studied untested sexual assault evidence available in police departments. Sexual assault kits (SAKs) are completed in sexual assault cases. The Department of Justice notes the United States does not know how many rape kits exist that are untested. The study examines the process of collecting and testing rape kits. The Department of Justice has concluded the reasons for the failure of testing these kits is an antiquated and failed process of tracking, counting, and documenting cases (Ritter, 2011).
Thousands of SAKs lay dormant in law enforcement agencies. The Department of Justice found, 10,000 in Los Angeles, 12,000 in Dallas, Texas, and 10,500 in Detroit (Ritter, 2011). SAKs are boxes containing DNA evidence of sexual assaults consisting of vaginal swabs, anal swabs, fingerprints, hair, photographs, fibers, clothing, bedsheets, or any other pieces of evidence needed to prosecute a rape case (Ritter, 2011). The kits are stored in police departments, hospitals, clinics, or rape crisis centers, “A recent National Institute of Justice (NIJ) survey found that four in 10 of the nation’s law enforcement agencies — 43 percent — do not have a computerized system for tracking forensic evidence, either in their inventory or after it is sent to the crime lab” (Ritter, 2011, p. 1). This lack of documentation and proper procedure results in criminals freely walking the streets. This case study also enlightens the role of victims in the criminal justice process.
Victims have a limited effect within the criminal justice system. Victim impact statements, provided after conviction, helps judges analyze the real impact a crime has caused. This case study is important and it has influenced me to explore employment options in victimization. In many criminal acts, victims are often forgotten. They have lost loved ones, confidence in the criminal justice system, and have lost countless hours contemplating the effects of a violent crime. Many of these victims need an advocate to escort them to court, help fill out paperwork, provide guidance on the criminal justice process, and inform them of the status of a case. Many victims need important information concerning social services or other benefits available to help them overcome adversity.
Victims without a good support system most often fear entering the criminal justice system. If they have submitted a SAK, the victim might fear public humiliation, re-victimization, or might lack the finances needed to enquire about the status of a case. I believe many of these rape kits can be tested if the victims have an advocate in their corner. With sufficient resources, we can help victims overcome adversity. The United States Department of Justice suggests, “Ultimately, at the heart of this latest challenge for our criminal justice system are the victims” (Ritter, 2011, p. 14). The case study shed light upon the need for more victim advocates in the United States.
I believe we are a forgiving society. Every citizen is capable of rehabilitation, and everyone in this world makes mistakes. These mistakes should not cripple society; these mistakes should give society ammo to confront important problems in socialization. We must provide appropriate measures to maintain social control while working to keep violent offenders away from society. Nonviolent offenders and victims should be given instruments to re-engage society in a positive way. I have achieved my first goal in obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Now I am seeking to achieve my next goal; I will help to maintain the integrity, fairness, and equality of the criminal justice system.
Ritter, N. (2011, May). The Road Ahead: Unanalyzed Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases. Retrieved from National Criminal Justice Reference Service: httpss://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/233279.pdf