Why is Healthy Discretion a Critical Tool When Working in the Criminal Justice System?

Essay by olingerdaiCollege, Undergraduate February 2005

download word file, 1 pages 1.0

There are numerous reasons why healthydiscretion is a critical tool in the criminal justice system. Here are a few of the reasons I think healthy discretion needs to be used in all decisions made in the criminal justice field whether it's officers, lawyers, courts or corrections facilities.

The most visible and possibly most important is police discretion or an officers ability to decide to arrest or not arrest someone purely on the basis of his or her own judgment. Using healthy discretion this decision would be based on the circumstances surrounding the situation without including race, gender, age, appearance or income. For example should a man driving 55 in a 50mph zone trying to get his pregnant wife to the hospital receive a ticket?

If officers didn't have the freedom of police discretion our courts would be overwhelmed with cases of petty offences such as jaywalking and minor traffic offences.

Also the police would be bogged down by court appearances. Case in point when an officer issues a speeding ticket and the recipient contests it, that officer must now go spend several hours in court. He could have used that time dealing with more important matters.

There are also problems that arise within this system. Some officers abuse or misuse this freedom making it unhealthy discrimination instead of healthy discretion. When this happens it becomes things like police brutality and other such acts. An example would be an officer prone to giving blacks or hispanics more tickets than whites in similar instances. This unhealthy discrimination can cause the public to lose faith in the justice system in which case chaos could follow. In conclusion there are many reasons why healthy discretion is a critical tool in the criminal justice system.