Chapter 5 Questions for reflection and discussion

  1. What do you think are the primary objectives of the criminal justice system? How far are they consistent?
  2. How can the tensions between the ‘due process’ and ‘crime control’ or ‘bureaucratic’ models of criminal justice best be managed?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the statistical information we have on the criminal justice system?
  4. Do the police have too many/too few powers?
  5. Should everyone be required to provide a DNA sample for a national DNA database?
  6. Are the rules of evidence too heavily weighted in favour of the alleged offender?
  7. There has been a lot of publicity given recently to failures to disclose evidence which has resulted in a number of instances of miscarriage of justice. How can the rules on disclosure be more properly applied?
  8. Should the criminal justice system become more ‘victim-focused’?
  9. What are the primary objectives of sentencing policy?
  10. Why is it so difficult to have a reasoned public debate about sentencing policy?
  11. Are too many people sentenced to prison? What are the alternatives to prison which would work and be politically acceptable?
  12. Can mandatory sentences be justified? Or should sentencers always retain sentencing discretion?
  13. Should the rules relating to jury trial be changed?
  14. Should it be easier to undertake research into the jury?
  15. Are administrative penalties, imposed without any court intervention, an appropriate part of the criminal justice system?
  16. What changes in trial process might be desirable, building on experience with dealing with Covid-19? How far can criminal cases be moved online?
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