The definition of justice and the means by which it must be distributed differ depending on an individual’s background, culture, and own personal morals. As a country of many individualistic citizens, the United States has always tried its best to protect, but not coddle, its people in this area. Therefore, the criminal justice history of the United States is quite extensive and diverse; with each introduction of a new era, more modern technologies and ideals are incorporated into government, all with American citizens’ best interests in mind.
Since English colonizers were the first to establish an extravagant, European society in North America, it is unsurprising that many of the aspects of the American administration of justice stemmed from its mother country. In England, law enforcement was an unorganized mess until the year 1200 (Schmalleger 137). The police system remained static from 1285 to 1829, until when Sir Robert Peel instituted the modern police force (Schmalleger 139). However, early American law enforcement was bound to be different, due to the differences of American and English life and environment. In the beginning of the colonial law enforcement, towns and cities inaugurated versions of the English day ward and night watch, but these processes did not remain in place for long (Schmalleger 139).
As the American landscape began to broaden its horizons, its administration of justice had to expand to accommodate new situations and environments. In the early nineteenth century, due to lack of law enforcement, the frontier presented itself as heavenly to outlaws and bandits (Schmalleger 139). Many citizens took up the task of protecting others in a form of vigi...
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...t is extremely extensive and elaborate, far different from its humble beginnings (Schmalleger 145). American government has expanded much over the decades to include 14 departments and 28 non-departmental conglomerates, each with its own direction and purpose concerning a specific area needing law enforcement; in addition to new entities, there also are at least 137,929 officers employed by the government (Schmalleger 145). All officers and departments work continuously and uniformly in order to administer justice as properly and swiftly as possible.
Time may pass and personal morals may change, but one of the strengths of the United States of America is its unwavering dedication to justice. Throughout time, this country’s methods and laws have grown and adapted, but the basis of the law enforcement’s work has remained the same: the safety and interest of the people.
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