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The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

The Oxford Textbook on Criminology (2nd edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 18 May 2022

p. 54p. 553. What is ‘justice’?locked

p. 54p. 553. What is ‘justice’?locked

  • Steve Case,
  • Phil Johnson,
  • David Manlow,
  • Roger Smith
  •  and Kate Williams

Abstract

This chapter examines justice in an absolute sense, and also justice in the context of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system is the set of rules and practices under which government institutions and agencies act in order to prevent or control crime, to deal with those who break the law, and to support victims. ‘Justice’ in the context of ‘criminal justice’ refers to the extent to which the system aims to prevent or reduce offending; ensures that those who are accused, convicted, and sentenced are treated fairly (justly); and works to support victims and communities. Justice should be guaranteed by the law, especially the criminal law, in any state and should be clearly present in all decisions about crime and social issues made by those working for the state. As such, justice is core to almost every aspect of the criminal justice system. The chapter also considers broad definitions of justice; frameworks called criminal justice models on which understandings of justice in the criminal justice system can be anchored; philosophical ideas about the concept of justice; and the main systems used to bring about criminal justice.

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