The U.S department of justice has the responsibility of enforcing the Federal laws, controlling and preventing crimes, and protecting national interests in legal matters.
According to Dowler (2002), the department was created in the year 1870, under the direction of the attorney general, the officer in charge of enforcing nation’s chief law is one of the key leaders of the department. The justice department has a number of prominent agencies and bureaus for law enforcement, they include Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshal Service, plus many other departments. The 21st century key concerns within the US department include substance abuse, terrorism, community violence, worldwide drug trafficking, hate crimes, and white collar crimes.
In administering justice within any system, the law enforcement officers must ensure that they conduct their operations within the ambit’s of th law, and ensure that fairness and justice is the outcome of the process.
The rights of the individuals must be observed while at the same time, the provisions of the law must be closely followed (Stephen, 2000).
According to a report by the department of justice on strategic plan (2001), it was stated that the justice system is faced by various challenges that may lead to inefficiency in the department. However, it has been stated that the department of justice has opportunities to effect the system at the beginning of the 21st century. Studies have established that, though the level of crimes had gone down in 1930s, they had began climbing in the later decades. After the 1990s however, the crime rates once more begun declining.
The US president has in his speech repeatedly expressed about the uncertain legal environment in which the intelligence professionals are operating. He has emotionally expressed that, it is not fair to require efficiency of work from the intelligence professionals who are expected to conduct their operations under uncertain legal environment.
Dowler (2002) posited that, in fact, the president explained that an effective legal operation is distracted by legal uncertainty and that this jeopardizes the national security. There has in effect been a call for the congress to enact a legislation on the Foreign Surveillance Act, and to make the necessary amendment that would make all points of law clear.
From the report by the department of justice on strategic plan, there have been development of national policies by the congress. For instance, the congress enacted the Safe Streets Act in the year 1968. This in effect has led to increased financial support for the department charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law, at the local level and at the Federal State, hence boosting development and efficiency of security agencies, who are now ready to face the legal challenges within the environment.
From the 1980s, the juvenile and criminal justice agencies have effectively been partnering with organizations that are community based such as churches, schools, social services and businesses, as well as victim advocacy groups. The establishment of an office for victims of justice was effected under the Victims of Crime Act. Community based organizations have also been established to provide support to various categories of victims including spousal abuse, victims of rape, drunk driving, and other crimes.
The department of justice has been allowed broader form of authority in the enforcement of federal law, in dealing with criminal organizations, such as criminal syndicates, gangs, and terrorists. Corwin (2004) observed that, in the early 1990s the enactment of Brady Handgun and Prevention of Violence Act, together with the development of National Instant Criminal Background system, have been effective measures for reducing gun related crimes. The Reform Sentencing Act enacted in the year 1984 has helped to stiffen sentences in prison, putting a requirement for absolution of federal parole, and mandatory period of sentencing for certain criminal actions. This developments have helped to strengthen the justice system, and enhanced national security.
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