How Much Do You Know About the Criminal Justice System?

Isadora Teich

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

A justice system is a group of persons organized by a country’s government who are responsible for controlling crime, defending the law and punishing offenders. In the United States of America, several criminal justice systems exist. Despite the slight variances in their laws, they are all based on the US constitution.

The US criminal justice system comprises two main systems: the state justice system and the federal justice system. The state justice system is responsible for all crimes done within or relating to the responsible state. The federal justice system handles crimes which pose a national threat such as espionage and assassinations of government officials.

The US justice system across all states is made of three components. Law enforcement is the first step of the justice system. After the notification of a crime has been received, offenders are arrested, evidence is collected, and reports are written by police officers. 

The second one is the adjudication, which begins when the police reports are filed to a prosecutor who determines whether the matter should be taken to court where if pronounced guilty, the offender receives a sentence. And third, there are corrections. Convicts are placed at correctional facilities where they partake in rehabilitation programs responsible for preparing them to re-enter society as improved beings.

But before we go too far and tell you too much, can you answer our questions? Do you know all about your country's criminal justice system?

In the US, a person accused of committing a crime in criminal court is a:

In a criminal prosecution, a defendant is someone who has been accused of committing a crime. There are usually taken into custody by police, who issue an arrest warrant and take them to court.

__________ is a part of the Law Enforcement branch of the US criminal justice system.

Of the 3 branches of the criminal justice system in the US, people will most regularly interact with Law Enforcement, which includes police officers. It also includes the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

In the modern world, ___________ typically create and enforce laws.

While in ancient societies, laws were often created by leaders, religious figures or philosophers, it is not that way in most of the modern world anymore. Modern laws are typically created and enforced by governments.

Does the US use life in prison as a punishment?

Depending on the crime committed and in which state, life sentences can look very different for US citizens. The convicted must serve a minimum of 15 years before requesting parole, and in some cases may not be eligible for parole at all.

Defendants accused of crimes have the right to a trial by:

In a trial by jury, a jury makes a decision which directs the actions of a judge. This is different from a bench trial, where one or more judges makes all major decisions.

Which of these does criminal justice involve?

Criminal justice refers to the complex practices and parts of governments that aim to maintain social control, lessen crime and punish and rehabilitate those who commit crimes. This system can vary greatly around the world.

Which country has the largest number of prisoners on earth?

America is the third most populous country on earth, following China and India, but has a larger incarcerated population than both countries combined. Over 2 million Americans were jailed as of 2017.

What two types of laws are courts usually concerned with?

Civil laws are rules which solve problems between individuals. Criminal law comes into play when an individual might have taken an action which is harmful to society as a whole and is prosecuted by the state.

If a person is charged of a crime in the United States, does that mean that they are automatically considered guilty of it?

In America, people who are charged with crimes are given certain rights. These include certain protections and the right to a trial by jury, through which their guilt or innocence is determined.

Which of these punishments are used on those who have been found guilty of committing crimes, other than prison sentences?

Outside of prison sentences, there are numerous ways someone found guilty of committing a crime can be penalized. Their punishment will depend on a vast number of factors.

Which country have many modern countries taken their criminal justice systems from?

The United States' criminal justice system is based on the British one. So are those in many other countries, due to the colonial days when the British Empire stretched across the globe.

Out of 113 countries, which country came last on the 2016 Rule of Law Index?

Venezuela was 113th on the Rule of Law Index, meaning that of all the countries surveyed Venezuelans have the least faith in and can depend the least on rule of law being upheld in their country. Canada was 12th, Senegal was 46th and India was 66th.

In the U.S., what happens if you are accused of a crime, but cannot afford a lawyer to defend you in court?

Those accused of committing crimes in the U.S. have certain rights, which includes the right counsel. This means that if defendants cannot afford lawyers, the government must provide them with one and pay their legal expenses.

What is capital punishment?

Capital punishment is also known as the death penalty and is a government-sanctioned practice where a person is killed by the state as punishment for a crime. Depending on the country, someone could be put to death for either major or minor crimes.

Which area of the world is ranked lowest overall when it comes to rule of law?

South Asian countries collectively come lowest in terms of the 2016 Rule of Law index rankings. The top performer from South Asia is Nepal, which came 63rd out of 113 countries.

Is the death penalty practiced in the U.S.?

The death penalty is only used regularly in 55 countries, and the U.S. is the wealthiest and most developed of these to continue using it. Most state executions occur in Texas and Oklahoma.

What is a goal of some modern prisons other than punishment?

Some prisons around the world aim for not only punishment but the rehabilitation of prisoners. Religious institutions have a strong presence in many prisons, and some offer educational and job training opportunities so that prisoners have a marketable legal skill which will make reintegrating into society easier after they are released.

What is it called when an innocent person is convicted of a crime they did not commit in court?

The criminal justice system is imperfect, which is one of the reasons why many countries have abolished the death penalty. When an innocent person is convicted by the court of a crime they did not commit, it is called a miscarriage of justice.

Judges are a part of which branch of the U.S. criminal justice system?

The courts play an important role within the U.S. criminal justice system, as those accused of crimes have the right to a trial. Courts require attorneys, judges and a jury.

Which country has the highest number of prisoners per 100,000 people?

Seychelles has the highest rate of incarceration of any country on earth, with 799 incarcerated per 100,000 people. America comes in second, followed by El Salvador and Turkmenistan.

Which of these are part of the corrections branch of the U.S. justice system?

In theory, the third branch of the US justice system is corrections, which is supposed to both punish and rehabilitate criminals. Jail time, probation and parole are the main instruments of this branch.

Do most countries on earth practice the death penalty?

There are 195 countries on earth, and in 103 of them, the death penalty is completely illegal, regardless of the crime. In about 40 countries no one has been sentenced to capital punishment by the courts in a decade or more.

Which rights does a person accused of a crime have in the US?

Those accused of crimes in the US have certain rights. These include those listed above as well as fair trial and trial by jury.

What is it called when a court of law finds a defendant guilty in a criminal trial?

When a person is found guilty of a crime by due process, that verdict is called a conviction. If a person is found not guilty in a court of law, that verdict is called an acquittal.

Which of these countries measures highest on the 2016 Rule of Law Index?

The Rule of Law Index is measured every year to study and compare how adherence to rule of law is experienced by citizens in countries around the world. In 2016, out of 113 countries, Denmark came first globally, New Zealand came 8th, Japan came 15th, and the U.S. came 18th.

In the U.S., a defendant with priors has a history of:

Someone on trial in the U.S. with priors has a history of previous convictions. These can include a wide range of major and minor crimes.

Can all criminal defendants get released by posting bail?

Depending on the crime, an accused person may not have the option of bail. These include cases of severe crime, such as murder.

Those accused of crimes in the U.S. are considered _______ until proven guilty.

Presumption of innocence is one of the legal rights of the accused in the U.S. It is also an international human right, according to the UN, that all people are considered innocent until proof is collected and analyzed for their alleged crimes.

Which branch of the U.S. criminal justice system charges people for alleged crimes?

The duty of those in law enforcement is to uphold local, state or national law, depending on their jurisdiction. Their job is to prevent, uncover and investigate crime.

Which of these is a part of the criminal justice system?

There are three main parts of the criminal justice system in the U.S. These include law enforcement, courts and corrections.

Is life imprisonment used as a punishment globally?

Life imprisonment is still a common punishment throughout the world, but has been abolished in some countries. Life imprisonment is no longer an option in many South American countries, Portugal, Iceland, Mozambique and the Republic of the Congo.

In some countries, can only men be sentenced to life in prison?

In Russia and some former Soviet countries, only adult men can be sentenced to life in prison. For example, in Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Russia, only men between the ages of 18-65 can get this sentence.

___________ means that someone cannot be tried for the same charges based on the same facts twice.

Double jeopardy means that after a legal acquittal or conviction, a defendant can't be tried on the same grounds again. This is a constitutional right in much of North America.

When a person is found guilty, but the court orders that a defendant not be convicted anyway, it is called a:

While there are no discharges in U.S. legal practice, there are in countries around the world. These include England, Australia and New Zealand.

Is the death penalty legal throughout the entire U.S.?

The death penalty is legal in 32 states and illegal in 18 states and Washington, D.C. The US was the first to develop lethal injection as a method of execution.

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