Segments in this Video

History of American Criminal Justice: Introduction (02:45)


Experts define criminal justice and discuss its three components: law enforcement, courts and corrections. Laws are regulations created by the government to reflect its citizen's goals. Amendments in the Constitution protect legal rights of the accused citizen.

Code of Hammurabi (02:07)

Prior to the Magna Carta, the King was responsible for adjudicating criminal matters. Each American colony created its own regulations based on the English Common Law system.

U.S. Constitution (02:23)

Learn how the Amendments in the Bill of Rights protect individuals' rights. Due process is the legal requirement that the government respect and treat a person fairly through the judicial process.

Police (03:27)

Byron Johnson describes the evolution of the Texas Rangers from 1823 until present day. Originally derived from the Bobbies, American police organizations were given more autonomy and training than its British counterparts.

Municipal Police Departments (03:48)

The first cities to adopt a police force were Boston (1838) and New York (1844). August Vollmer instituted many innovations, including: Modus Operandi Systems, record system, forensics, a school of criminology, and using psychiatric screening during police officer recruitment. There are over one million law enforcement officers employed in the United States.

After Being Arrested (02:52)

The accused appears before the court in an arraignment hearing and must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. After hearing the facts of the case, the judge decides if bail will be granted and for what sum. Learn how the American court system is organized at federal and state levels.

The Courts (03:57)

Appellate courts only review previous judgements— they can affirm, reverse and remand, or reverse and render. A plea bargain saves the government the cost of a trial, and offers the defendant a reduced sentence. Three strikes laws mete out harsher penalties to repeat offenders.

Corrections (02:15)

Rolando del Carmen explains how studies about the effectiveness of capital punishment contradict each other. The corrections system concentrates on four goals: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Prior to William Penn, prisoners paid for their own food and upkeep.

The Auburn System (02:29)

The Auburn prison system was cheaper to maintain because prisoners worked during the day and slept in one large room. Because of the rapid population increase of the 1960s and 1970s prisons now use a factory system where inmates live in small cells and work during the day.

Overcrowding in Prison (03:30)

In 2005, over 7,000,000 people were under some form of supervision costing over 100,000,000,000 dollars. Federal Prisons operate at 34 percent above capacity. Modern prison systems comply with the due-deference doctrine.

Zebulon Brockway (03:55)

Zebulon Brockway's system of rewards for good behavior was a precursor to the parole system. Two thirds of the criminals paroled return to jail within three years. Originally the juvenile justice system was meant to focus on rehabilitation, not punishment.

Privatization of Prisons (02:20)

Private prisons can be built more quickly than state run facilities. Criminal justice offers occupations in many areas of study, including: sociology, psychology, penology, criminology, penology, and criminology.

Credits: The History of American Criminal Justice (00:28)

Credits: The History of American Criminal Justice

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The History of American Criminal Justice

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3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



This program offers a brief history of U.S. criminal justice. It covers such topics as criminal justice in colonial America, the Quakers’ penitentiary, and the development of criminology. The program explains the organization of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Length: 37 minutes

Item#: BVL115850

ISBN: 978-1-63521-169-6

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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