The American Criminal Justice System

Knowledge of all the stages that go into the trial process is of critical importance for understanding what is included in this decision-making and sentencing procedure. Hence, there are three main stages, pretrial, trial, and disposition, between which intermediate stages may occur. In the American criminal justice system, pretrial has value, as it helps to ensure a more straightforward and more logical course of the trial. This is because at this stage, the parties meet to determine the main issue, which will be discussed further (Gaines & LeRoy Miller, 2019). The trial is a stage at which the jury is provided with facts and arguments from the defense and prosecution, on the basis of which a decision is made. Disposition implies the deduction of a verdict, which can be convicted, acquired, or dismissed.

In addition to the main stages of the process, it involves two main parties, judges and attorneys. The latter are presented in the form of the defense and prosecutor, who are most actively involved in the trial. Defense is engaged in protecting the interests of the party that has been accused of a crime (Cole et al., 2019). On the other hand, the prosecutor is a supporter of the accused party. His main task is defending the charges presented before the court. The judge provides instructions to the jury, monitors compliance with the rules of the trial, and passes the sentence.

Of particular importance in the judicial process is the concept of the court workgroup. Another crucial aspect is the role of its participants. Henceforth, this association includes judges, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, and public defenders (Fagin & Bratina, 2019). In other words, the judicial working group includes those persons for whom participation in the trial is a work activity. The role of the defense is to prove that the accused person is not involved in illegal actions. The role of the prosecution is to confirm the allegations against the defender.

A unique role is played by the defender, who is a person who has been accused of committing an illegal act. Plaintiff is the opposite party who brings the charge in court. Thus, the role of the former is to prove his innocence. The role of the latter, on the contrary, is to provide arguments for guilt. This process can be both easy and quite challenging at the same time. These circumstances depend on the amount of evidence, which includes the testimony and collected refuting or confirming data.

From the creation and implementation of the judicial system, various punishments for the accused began to develop. In the history of the American judicial system, there were several eras of punishment, which all depended on the needs and desires of society (Martinson, 1974). Moreover, there are several types of actions that were used. To begin with, these were prisons with English roots bearing the character of working houses for prisoners. Next, the first correctional institution in the American judicial system, called Walnut Street Prison, appeared (Cole et al., 2019). This was followed by institutions in which prisoners were punished by staying in personal cells and were subjected to correctional labor.

At this stage of development, there are several main types of punishment for those who have been proven guilty in court. Thus, incarceration, intermediate sanction, probation, and death stand out among them (Cole et al., 2019). It is worth noting that the death penalty in the modern judicial system is not supported. Moreover, it is not applied in all states and not in every critical case (Schmalleger, 2019). Thus, the punishment for a crime is imposed depending on the severity of the committed act. In addition, it relies on the decisions made by the jury and, in some cases, the judge.


Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E., & DeJong, C. (2019). Criminal justice in America. Cengage Learning.

Fagin, J., & Bratina, M. (2019). CJ 2019. Pearson.

Gaines, L. K., & LeRoy Miller, R. (2019). Criminal justice in action. Cengage Learning.

Martinson, R. (1974). What works? Questions and answers about prison reform. The Public Interest.

Schmalleger, F. (2019). Criminal justice today. Pearson.

Cite this paper

Select style


LawBirdie. (2023, June 1). The American Criminal Justice System. Retrieved from


LawBirdie. (2023, June 1). The American Criminal Justice System.

Work Cited

"The American Criminal Justice System." LawBirdie, 1 June 2023,


LawBirdie. (2023) 'The American Criminal Justice System'. 1 June.


LawBirdie. 2023. "The American Criminal Justice System." June 1, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "The American Criminal Justice System." June 1, 2023.


LawBirdie. "The American Criminal Justice System." June 1, 2023.