CRJU 20423 Chapter 20: Critical Issues in Crime & Justice: Chapter 20

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Criminal Justice
CRJU 20423

Critical Issues in Crime and Justice by Maguire Okada Chapter 20: Public Policy I. Introduction a. Public policy shapes our everyday life from the way we get to school and work, to the breaks that employees are granted, to the degree of sanitary conditions of the restaurants we eat lunch, to the taxes and fees we pay to maintain the schools, roads, police agencies, and correctional facilities. b. Two forms of public policy: formal codified version and the daily way in which it is actually practiced. II. Public Policy: The Formal Version a. Public policy is what the government chooses to do or not do do. These actions or inactions are based on the social contract, that is, society expects from government. Changes in the social contract occur due to reasons such as emerging problems, principles held by new policy makers, or program evaluation results. b. Public policy can be defined as purposive governmental courses of action or inaction. Choices are made and implementation takes place, resulting in outcomes that are subsequently evaluated to determine the policys impact and effectiveness. c. Public policy is generally created when a problem has been identified and brought to the attention of policy makers. A critical influence is whether or not the problem is perceived as fitting the policy makers agenda, in which case a public policy may be developed to resolve the problem. In criminal justice, policy agendas are generally based on one of the major goals of the criminal justice system deterrence, incapacitation, punishment, rehabilitation, reintegration, and restoration. d. A policy can impact several systems and agencies as well as many people. Welsh and Harris separate the policymaking process into three components: defining and examining the problem, developing goals and objectives, and creating the policy. e. The first step in developing public policy is to define and examine the problem. Thorough investigation into the problem will reveal its causes, impact, history, stakeholders, previous interventions and outcomes, agency interconnectivity, and the barriers to and support for change. The examination may reveal more than one approach for resolving the problem as well as the goals and objectives that need to be met by the public policy. f. Evaluation of the public policy helps to determine if the goals and objectives are being met. Evaluations also guide the review and reassessment process to determine if the policy should be revised, continued, or discontinued. g. Criminal justice is directly and indirectly impacted by public policies. Public policies that reduce fear of crime, punish or rehabilitate offenders, and fund 100,000 more police officers are easily identified as criminal justice policy initiatives and are created in consultation with criminal justice agencies. h. Policies that involve other systems (mental health, education, the workplace) may also greatly impact criminal justice.
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