It investigates and evaluates a national system of justice in terms of other countries, cultures, or institutions.
The key root word is compare, and comparative criminal justice offers a systematic method to examine the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to crime, law, and justice around the world.
It is the study of the causes and correlates of crime in two or more cultures.
In comparative criminology, we try to explain why crime occurs in different forms and at different levels in one country versus another.
Criminal Justice System
It is the term used to explain and understand all of the agencies whose goal is to control crime. It consists of police, courts, and corrections agencies, which act to enforce the law, adjudicate suspects, and deal with convicted offenders
“crimes against the peace and security of mankind”
These are offenses whose inception, acts, and impact involve more than one country
ORIGIN & GROWTH OF CCJS
The origins of the comparative method can be traced back to ancient times.
However, comparative criminal justice is a relatively new field of inquiry that applies the comparative methodologies used in law and political science to the social sciences of sociology, criminology, and criminal justice.
Its origins can be traced back to the 1700s, the “Age of Enlightenment,” and to a man who is considered by some to be the first criminologist—Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794).
In 1764, Beccaria’s essay on crime and punishment called for changes in Western European criminal justice, including the abolition of the death penalty, torture, and secret trials (Sherman, 2003; Hagan, 2007).
Soon thereafter, others such as Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), Adolf Quetelet (1796–1874), Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), and Emile Durkheim (1858–1917) conducted cross-national studies of crime
Many Reasons, but from a broader perspective, everything we perceive is based on comparison.
The differences which we perceive in certain aspects of any two events, are perceived against a background of similarity with others, and so is the relative uniqueness of an event.
We call an event unique if it is similar in very few aspects or dimensions, and different in very, very many from others.
Without attempting comparison, how could we know that something was unique?
If something were truly unique in any aspect, how could we discuss it?
We should have no words for it. We could only talk about it in negatives, calling it ineffable, unmeasurable and so on, and then we would be very close to magic or religion and well away from science (Karl Deutch---Political Scientist)
COMPARISONS LIE AT THE FOUNDATION OF ALL OUR THINKING
Because it is only through comparison we can assess the relative utility of laws, policies, programs, and alternative actions of all types.
COMPARISON IS ALSO A KEY ELEMENT IN CRITICAL THINKING.
Critical thinking is purposeful mental activity which permits us to examine the relative strength of evidence, arguments, and alternate courses of conduct. In many ways, the ability to think critically helps us to solve daily problems and even make important life choices.
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO ENGAGE IN CRITICAL THINKING.
One way is to follow a simple three-step process.
First, we determine what we know about an issue and ask ourselves why we think that way. For example, maybe we feel that the death penalty is a legitimate way to punish offenders because we believe that it is less costly than life imprisonment
Second, we seek out the opposite side of the story. In the case of the death penalty, we may learn about the volume of research indicating the actual cost of life imprisonment compared to the death penalty
Finally, we objectively weigh the evidence, compare the diverging opinions, and then make a decision based on the available evidence
To benefit from the experience of others;
To broaden our understanding of different cultures and approaches to problems;
“The reason for comparing is to learn from the experience of others and, conversely, that he who knows only one country knows none.”
When we can learn about the criminal justice processes of other countries, we are then able to develop hypotheses that will help us begin to solve our own problems related to crime and justice
For example, people wonder why Japan has a much lower crime rate than the United States or, indeed, most other Western nations. The Japanese themselves give some of the credit for their low crime rates to their police methods—most notably, community policing.Many countries have become interested in adapting the Japanese police practices, including the use of Kobans (small local police stations)
This model is copied or adapted by U.S. States
TO BENEFIT FROM OTHERS’ EXPERIENCE
Many countries have also adopted rules of criminal procedure that were pioneered by others. In fact, some criminal procedure rules, like the right to counsel at an early stage of the criminal process, are becoming universal in Western systems of justice.
And many countries have even adopted entire legal codes from the codes of others. The Napoleonic Code of civil law, developed in France in the early nineteenth century, was one such export, as was the French penal code, also developed under Napoleon.
Another export in the late nineteenth century was the German Civil Code. These codes have had an enormous influence on the development of legal systems and criminal justice systems throughout the world
TO BROADEN OUR UNDERSTANDING
A second reason for studying the administration of justice in other countries is to broaden our understanding of other countries and cultures. If we fail to broaden our understanding of other countries we are more likely to fall prey to the problem of ethnocentrism
The Term is based upon the belief that one’s own country or culture does things “right” and all other practices are “wrong” or “foreign.” Ethnocentrism is a common phenomenon, as people often think their country, culture, or religion is better than all others.
In terms of crime and criminal justice, ethnocentrism is a problem because it can lead to crime within and across borders as well as discrimination, oppression, or violent ethnic-based conflicts.
TO BROADEN OUR UNDERSTANDING
Americans are frequently astonished to hear about practices related to crime and punishment in other systems. Why does one country, Saudi Arabia, cut off a hand or a foot or stone a person to death as punishment for certain criminal acts? Why is lengthy pretrial detention without bail condoned in some countries, such as France, as a way to ensure greater justice? Why does Japan have so few lawyers compared to most countries, especially the United States?
The fact is that a nation’s way of administering justice often reflects deep-seated cultural, religious, economic, political, and historical realities
Learning about the reasons for these different practices can give us insight into the values, traditions, and cultures of other systems. Such broadening of perspective helps us see our own system in more objective terms
TO DEAL WITH TRANSNATIONAL CRIME
A third good reason to study criminal justice from a comparative perspective is the increasing need to address transnational and international crime problems. These problems have now become imperative because the multicultural world we now live in has entered the stage of globalization.
If we wish to serve justice well, whether it be for crimes committed within our borders or in another region of the world, international cooperation is an essential ingredient. Without international cooperation we cannot find, extradite, or serve justice on those who violate laws and cause pain and suffering throughout the world
HOW TO HANDLE THESE APPROACHES
The best way to handle these 3 approaches is by way of historical and political. Individual national arrangements for the administration of justice develop over the course of centuries in response to local needs, efforts by individual leaders and historical events.
For example, if we wish to learn more about the reasons for the current violent crime rate within a country, it is imperative to understand the historical reasons behind violent crime development in that country
The political context of systems of justice is also important because criminal justice agencies are governmental institutions, and they reflect political decisions about law and the administration of justice.
In the United States, for example, it would be difficult to understand the development of criminal procedure over the years if we did not have a good understanding of the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in American government
BASIC VALUES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The values of any system of justice may be classified as professed values and underlying values.
Professed values are those that are proclaimed as values by the participants in the system.
equal justice under law
the ideal that all individuals, regardless of social status or background,
should be treated equally and according to an existing rule is a professed value of most established systems of justice.
In the British and American systems of justice, another professed value is that the government has an obligation to prove an individual’s guilt without any requirement that the individual cooperate with the prosecution. This value lies at the heart of the adversary process.
BASIC VALUES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Underlying values are those that are not openly proclaimed but that nevertheless govern actions within the criminal justice system. Efficiency, or expeditious handling of cases, is one such value that may conflict with the value of equal justice under law
Underlying values are harder to understand and distinguish than professed values, and they require lengthier and more intense study