When reading the different abstracts, it isnt as easy to identify the "lessons learned" as it would be if the entire paper had been provided. However, in criminal justice, whether in northeast Louisiana or Washington, D.C., there is one integral lesson that should be learned no matter what criminal justice agency/organization you are employed with. The lesson is that the criminal justice system works more efficiently and effectively when there is a multidisciplinary collaborative effort from diverse professionals in situations where they are needed. Both criminals and victims have diverse and multiple needs, it is not likely that a single agency can provide everything that is needed. By involving other professions, there is a more comprehensive range of services provided, a reduced likelihood of the client "falling through the cracks" of the criminal justice system, and a reduction in overlapping. Collaboration can be very beneficial especially in cases dealing with rape, child abuse, and domestic violence. The shared responsibilities cut down on time, which in turn, cuts down on the trauma and inconvenience of the victim. My essay will tie the papers together through the central idea of collaboration. I will also apply the collaborative approach to the criminal justice system of northeast Louisiana.
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It is commonplace to speak of the "criminal justice system" as if it were one distinct entity organized in pursuit of a single goal. In fact, the criminal justice system is built on a philosophy of separation of powers, and the fundamentally adversarial nature of criminal law means that no such entity really exists. As the problems facing the courts, communities, and criminal justice professionals have increased in both complexity and size, the limitations of the current system have become both more evident and more critical. Issues such as domestic violence, pervasive drug use, juvenile delinquency, and a growing concern for the impact of crime, have presented the criminal justice system with new challenges in balancing the often conflicting needs of offenders, families, victims, and communities.
The exponential growth in incarcerated individuals, coupled with high recidivism rates, have presented the criminal justice system with yet another dilemma, the successful reintegration of offenders following incarceration. Offenders entering or reentering the criminal justice system put additional strain on an already overburdened system. Many have severe substance abuse and mental health problems, and have been victims of physical and sexual abuse. Others have significant life skills deficits which make living productive, crime free lives in the community impossible. Given the severity of these challenges, it is clear that no single entity can address and resolve them alone.
Collaboration justice in criminal justice seeks to work toward the more effective resolution to problems. For example, Jessica's paper focused on organizations available in Louisiana for domestic violence victims. Rather than relying on a single agency to solve the respective problems of the victims, collaborative justice recognizes that many of the victims' problems are systemic and require a coordinated and collaborative response. Treatment may range from residential care and counseling to police involvement and litigation. Joyce's paper on juvenile justice reform is a great example of an issue that would benefit from collaborative effort. Juvenile justice reform requires an array of services from a plethora of agencies. Advocacy, public policy, research, and treatment are just a few topics that would require multidisciplinary assessment in juvenile justice reform. Multidisciplinary teams have the ability to share information, develop common goals, and create compatible internal policies to support those goals. They have significant potential to positively impact crime, increase public confidence, and reduce costs throughout the justice system. Courts, communities, and criminal justice professionals join forces to analyze problems and create responsive solutions; and judges, court administrators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation and parole representatives, corrections personnel, victim advocates, law enforcement officers, and public and private treatment providers reach out to one another to forge partnerships that will enable them to address complex medical, social, fiscal, and behavioral problems that pose significant threats to the safety and well-being of our communities.
Northeast Louisiana's criminal justice system could always make some improvements just like the entire criminal justice system. It is a constant work in progress, where new programs and policies are being implemented and unsuccessful ones are eliminated. The criminal justice system of northeast Louisiana operates as smoothly as it does because it collaborates with many different agencies in order to successfully implement programs, policies, and laws. No one agency has all of the resources necessary to provide their clients with all of the services that they require in every situation. Like many criminal justice agencies around the country, the yearly budget does not stretch as far as one would like. For example, not every police department can afford to have a crime lab within their department so having a link to an off-site crime lab that you can send evidence to for analysis is a must. Also, many agencies cannot afford the luxury of having experts, like forensic pathologists and toxicologists, on the payroll full-time so being able to have them come in and collaborate on special cases is essential.
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A prime example of an agency that takes advantage of outside help is the Levee District Police. Their district covers eight parishes from northeast to central Louisiana. The Levee District Police not only patrol in cars, but also, patrol their areas utilizing four-wheel drive vehicles which enable the officer to not only patrol streets and highways, but also access those hard to reach areas such as remote rivers, bayous and woodlands to accomplish their tasks. In addition to their regular law enforcement function, the Levee District Police also perform specialized services such as search and rescue operations and are responsible for crash/fire/rescue. The Levee District Police coordinate their efforts with the numerous agencies on a regular basis and maintain constant contact with other law enforcement and security organizations at the local, state and federal levels. Among these include: The U.S. Coast Guard, U. S. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Customs Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local police and Sheriff's departments, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries' Law Enforcement Division, and Civil Defense. This agency, like so many others in northeast Louisiana and around the country, would not survive without the services provided by other agencies. Collaboration has become a very prominent part of the criminal justice system. In order to play an essential role in the criminal justice system, whether its administrative or policing, cooperating with others is a key factor.