This is the study of crime; it is a social science that studies the different branches of criminal justice system.
It is therefore a body of knowledge aimed at scientific explanation of criminal, deviant and delinquent formed at social behavior.
It includes within its cover the processes of making laws, breaking them and the societies’ reactions towards the breaking of laws and thus includes the following three main branches.
- Criminal etiology
This is the scientific analysis of causes of crimes.
This comes from the word penal; it concerns the control and prevention of crimes.
It is the study of punishment; it discuses aims, principles of the philosophies of punishments.
It therefore discusses retribution in capacitation, rehabilitation, treatment, corporal punishment etc.
3. Correction methods
The methods applied to reform the offender and they offer an explanation of the treatments of offenders in prisons, probations, approved schools etc.
It is the study of punishment; it discusses aims, principles and philosophies of punishment.
Aims of punishment
- Deterrence (discouraging)
There is general and individual deterrence; general aims at deterring other people in the society from committing an offence, individual deterrence on the other hand occurs when one is deterred from committing future crimes e.g. he/she is sent to prison not to commit future crimes.
When a criminal is in jail, in real the society is protected from the wrong deeds; it is the aim to make an individual unable to commit crime or protect the society from such crimes.
Those who commit crime are believed to be sick and they are crude to be treated so the treatment process is referred to as rehabilitation.
Crimes are viewed as product of advices environment and criminals are not responsible for their actions and thus criminals need to be rehabilitated or treated in order to reform them. This treatment is both beneficial to the offender and to the society.
There are rehabilitation homes such as approved schools, prisons, hospitals etc.
Modern correction methods
- Conditional discharge
Under this, one is tried on conditions that he/she does not commit the same crime /offence again or else otherwise taken to prison.
- Through Fines
It is the most common correction method and involves payments of money as a result of being found guilty of an offence.
This is a price to many criminals and it is based on its principle that one who has committed an offence should be made to pay the society the equivalent of the wrong.
A person who pays in fine feels the pain of losing money but the money assists the society.
This deters individuals from repeating crimes in future.
- Through community service
A working definition for in community service may be the non salaried service by an offender for non profit making agencies.
This is to be considered to be a person of retribution or pay back to the wronged society.
It is an alternative to short prison sentence and can always be ordered by a court in case any person is sentenced to imprisonment for six months or less.
The offender must report to a community service officer who administrates the service and the individual as to the place, measure and time for work.
This is punishment given to offenders i.e. they are released under the supervision of a probation officer.
N/B: It was decided in Kenya in 1946 and set up an act of parliament.
The period for which a person can be released on probation is between 6 months and 3 years.
N/B: No punishment is imposed initially but the offender is a given a fixed period of time to process that he/she can change or can be rehabilitated.
During this period he/she is under the supervision of probation officer who is to advice, assist and befriend the offender.
If the offender completes the penalty satisfactorily, then no further action is taken against him/her but if he is found unsatisfactory then further court action is taken.
- Corporal punishment
This includes strokes of cane etc.
But before this is administered to an offender, a doctor must write a certificate to certify this.
According to prison rule number 1 the purpose of sending some one to prison is for training and treatment of the convicted prisoner so that he can lead a good useful life on discharge.
The aim of prison sentence includes healthy rehabilitation, incapacitation, punishment and deterrence.
Once imprisoned, there are several pains one goes through:-
- Deprivation of liberty i.e. lack of freedom.
- Deprivation of goods and services.
- Deprivation of heterosexual relationship
- Deprivation of authority; the inmates are subject to a body of rules and common which are designed to control their behavior.
- Deprivation of security; prisons are dangerous and hardens criminal.
The extend and magnitude of crime
Criminal statistics are more complicated to comprehend because of the complexity and the scope of the definition of crime.
The perception of what is a criminal act depends on who and where the act is committed and thus in order to determine criminality, criteria should be used and this involves one determination of the seriousness of act, determine the frequency of committing, and determine the attitude of the offender.
The interpretation of crime also varies by cultural groups; generally a crime is widespread but officially it is not and this is because it is actually in dark figure.
What we know about crimes is only from official records that are the police, the law courts, prisons, the children homes, profession homes and other government and non governmental agencies homes.
Most of crimes are in the society never reported in these agencies or institutions; the next obvious fact is that crime is a lower class phenomenon.
People from slums are five times likely to be apprehended for crime ort criminal acts than people from wealthy estates.
Most criminal theories derive definition of crime from official records which are heavily against the poor. The officers mention earlier the nature and extend of crime.
The nature of crime may not be known or becomes an official because;
- It may not be reported and if reported not recorded and if not recorded not changed and if changed not convicted and if convicted not tried.
Why are crimes not reported
- It is time consuming
- It is a distance factor i.e. police station
- Ignorance (people’s low opinion about justice)
- Some cases are very embarrassing i.e. rape, assault, incest, battery
- The value of stolen items
- Unawareness that a crime has been committed
- Some crimes or criminal acts have no feasibility
- Some crimes have no victim
- The police do not record all crimes reported to them.
- Some crimes are not reported because they have no immediate victim e.g. malicious damage.
- A victim may not report crime because of fear of revenge.
The laws provide detailed rules relating to arrest and trial for those suspected of committing crimes.
The primary source of the rules is section 72 and 77 of the constitution of Kenya.
The entitlement of the accused provided in the constitution:
- To be informed of the reasons for arrest.
- Is to bail
- Fair trial
- Entitled to be tried at a reasonable time
- Tried in independent and impartial court
- Presumed innocent until proved guilty
- Should be given adequate time for preparation of his/her defense
- Entitled to defend himself/herself (including right to hire an advocate of his/her choice)
- Right to cross examine the witnesses that are called upon by the prosecutor
- Right to call her/his witnesses for her/his defense.
- Entitled to be assisted by interpreter where necessary.
- To be present during trial process
- Entitled to a copy of the proceedings of the court.
- He/she will be free from a double jeopardy i.e. should not be tried again for the offence that he/she had previously committed and acquitted.
- Is not to be tried for an act of which were not a criminal at the time it was committed before it became a crime.
Procedures and Trials
- Not to be beaten
When the police are arresting, they should not use excessive force except such reasonable force if may be necessary in a given situation of resistance by the offender.
The person arrested has the right of compensation if the police applied an extreme force on him/her.
Rights of the arrested
- Not to be beaten up in anyway.
- Tortured or subjected to any form of work.
- To be booked into the occurrence book and entitled to reasonable food and beddings.
- It is to contact a friend or relative and also to consult a lawyer in confidence.
First, one a police decides to judge a suspect with a criminal offence, they draw up a charge (contained in the charge sheet)
This has to be counter signed by the officer in charge if the police station and then presented to the court.
For a conviction to occur in a criminal case, the prosecution must establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the offender committed the act to the required accusations. However the defendant is not required to present a defense but can only force the government/prosecution to prove the case; though a number of various possible defenses are available to defender and they include:-
- The defendant can argue that there is no crime that has been committed; the defendant may present evidence to show either no crime has been committed or there was no criminal intent.
- The defendant can argue that he/she was not aware that the crime was committed; in such cases the question is that who committed a crime; in this case the defendant may be present to state the mistaken identity by sharing the evidence that he/she was somewhere else at the time the crime was undertaken.
- Where the defendant agrees that he/she committed a crime but the act was justifiable, sometimes a criminal act may be considered justifiable; the law recognizes the right of a person unlawfully forced to use a reasonable force to defend himself or herself.
- The defendant may argue that he/she has committed a criminal act but he/she is not responsible for his/here act.
- Intoxication; defendant sometimes claim intoxication as her/his defense i.e. they claim that the time they were on alcohol or drug that they did not know what they were doing.
N/B: As a general rule involuntary intoxication is not exercised to crime.
- Infancy; traditionally children of very young age usually under 7 were considered legally incapable of considering crime. Therefore the law presses that children below age of 7 years are incapable of committing a crime.
- Insanity; the basic ides is that people who are mentally diseased should not be convicted if they don’t know what they are doing or they don’t differentiate between wrong and right.
N/B: To prove insanity the defendant must produce the mental defect showing the evidence of mental disturbance.
- Entrapment; it applies when the defendant did not mean to commit a crime but was induced to doing so by perhaps a law enforcement officer or a person with authority over him/her. It must be approved that the defendant was not liable to committing the crime but was forced to do so.
- Necessity; an individual acts under necessity when he/she is compelled to react to a situation that is unavailable in order to protect life.