Portal:Criminal justice

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Criminal justice is the system of practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deterring and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation. The primary agencies charged with these responsibilities are law enforcement (police and prosecutors), courts, defense attorneys and local jails and prisons which administer the procedures for arrest, charging, adjudication and punishment of those found guilty. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of "justice", "fairness" or "process", essentially the pursuit of an ideal. Throughout history, criminal justice has taken on many different forms which often reflect the cultural mores of society.
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Opium harvesters
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the international treaty against illicit drug manufacture and trafficking that forms the bedrock of the global drug control regime. Previous treaties had only controlled opium, coca, and derivatives such as morphine and heroin. The Single Convention, adopted in 1961, consolidated those instruments and broadened their scope to include cannabis and allow control of any drugs with similar effects to those specified in the treaty. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the World Health Organization were empowered to add, remove, and transfer drugs among the treaty's four Schedules of controlled substances. The International Narcotics Control Board was put in charge of administering controls on drug production, international trade, and dispensation. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was delegated the Board's day-to-day work of monitoring the situation in each country and working with national authorities to ensure compliance with the Single Convention. This treaty has since been supplemented by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which controls LSD, ecstasy, and other mind-altering pharmaceuticals, and the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which strengthens provisions against money laundering and other drug-related offenses.

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Chief police officer in Hamburg
Credit: Daniel Schwen

A portrait of a senior police officer in Hamburg, wearing the new blue uniform in accordance with the policy of using the same colour for police uniforms and vehicles throughout the European Union. Law enforcement in Germany is divided into two groups: the federal police and the state police.


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Chalk and pencil sketch of Jack Sheppard in Newgate Prison
Jack Sheppard was a notorious English robber, burglar and thief of early 18th-century London. Born into a poor family, he was apprenticed as a carpenter but took to theft and burglary in 1723, with little more than a year of his training to complete. He was arrested and imprisoned five times in 1724 but escaped four times, making him a notorious public figure, and wildly popular with the poorer classes. Ultimately, he was caught, convicted, and hanged at Tyburn, ending his brief criminal career after less than two years. The inability of the noted "Thief-Taker General" (and thief) Jonathan Wild to control Sheppard, and injuries suffered by Wild at the hands of Sheppard's colleague, Joseph "Blueskin" Blake, led to Wild's downfall. Sheppard was as renowned for his attempts to escape justice as for his crimes. He returned to the public consciousness in around 1840, when William Harrison Ainsworth wrote a novel entitled Jack Sheppard, with illustrations by George Cruikshank. The popularity of his tale, and the fear that others would be drawn to emulate his behaviour, led the authorities to refuse to license any plays in London with "Jack Sheppard" in the title for forty years.

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Destiny: a tyrant's authority for crime, and a fool's excuse for failure.

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