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American Response to Crime - An Overview of Criminal Justice Systems

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1983
Based on 'Report to the Nation of Crime and Justice,' this bulletin provides an overview of the basic concepts in the response of criminal justice institutions to crime in the United States.

It notes that most crime is not responded to by the criminal justice system because it is not reported to the police. The bulletin describes prosecution and pretrial services, adjudication, sentencing, and corrections. A brief review of the juvenile justice system observes that despite the considerable discretion associated with juvenile court proceedings, juveniles are afforded most of the due-process safeguards associated with adult criminal trials. Discretion is often exercised by police, prosecutors, judges or magistrates, correctional officials, and parole authorities. Other observations are that the responses to crime is mainly a State and local function; more than one agency has jurisdiction over some criminal events; and within States, the response to crime also varies locally from one locality to another. Finally, differences in local laws, agencies, resources, standards, and procedures result in varying responses in each jurisdiction. One chart, tables, and five footnotes are supplied. For the complete report, see NCJ-87068.

Date Published: December 1, 1983