Crime prevention refers to an attempt to reduce the risk of victimization and crime, and to increase the chances of criminals to be caught. It reduces the opportunities that fits legitimately into a society and reduces the criminal’s desire to commit crime, hence contributes to the improvement of a society’s safety (Andrews & Bonta, 1994). A successful crime prevention effort enhances the opportunity for safety of a community through promoting the perception of safety and the attitude of individuals to feel safe and protected. Criminologists and sociologists have provided a distinction between formal and informal efforts in crime prevention, thus; the criminal justice system falls under the social formal control and has the purpose of defining, punishing, and deterring crime done principally under the rule of law. It is a tertiary prevention measure that takes place after crime has been committed. Criminal justice system uses these approaches to anticipate, recognize, appraise and address crime or other conditions or factors that may lead to crime. In an effort to prevent crime, there are various strategies used by the criminal justice system such as providing education on drugs, rehabilitation programs, character modeling, improving literacy, thinking skills, provides solutions for anger management, communication, as well as, parenting skills.
In the definition of crime prevention, criminal justice system includes programs in the courts and corrections or rehabilitation programs aimed at reducing crime. Thus, for policy purposes, the criminal justice system has various intervention programs through the courts and corrections to be classified as incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, community restraints, structure discipline and challenge and the combination of rehabilitation and restraint.
Incapacitation also refers to depriving the criminals the capacity to involve in crime through detention in courts or capital punishment (Zimring & Hawkins, 1995). Deterrence commonly referred to as punishment given to criminals to prevent them from committing crimes in the future. Rehabilitation is another measure used within the criminal justice system. It is a treatment given to criminals and intended to change the characters of offenders thus, assists in the prevention of future crime.
Other measures include community restraints that refer to the efforts through surveillance and supervision given to offenders in a society to minimize their capacity and opportunity to get involved into criminal activities (Blumstein & Cohen, 1973). Incarceration makes criminals to be confined within the prisons; hence, they are not able to commit crime. In addition, the criminal justice system has also employed the use of structure, discipline and challenge programs that involves the use of physically and mentally stressing experiences to change the behavior of the offenders positively or deter them from future involvement in crime. Finally, a combination of rehabilitation and restraint has been used to ensure that the criminals make changes that are linked with minimizing the possibility of future criminal behavior.
In conclusion, crime prevention is closely related to the criminal justice system because crime prevention is the most important function of the criminal justice system, thus; the better explanation of this relationship is that high crime rates makes countries employ more police. Furthermore, an increase in crime leads to an increase in the population of criminals in police custody, court cells, and in prisons. These are the institutions through which crime prevention programs and practices are delivered. The criminal justice system should aim at forming procedures that serve to protect the innocent and convict the guilty.
Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (1994). The Psychology of Criminal Conduct. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.
Blumstein, A., & Cohen, J. (1973). A theory of the stability of punishment. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 64:197-200.
Zimring, F. E., & Hawkins, G. (1995). Incapacitation: penal confinement and the restraint of crime. New York: Oxford University Press.