Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHello, and welcome to Week 2 of Crime, Justice and Society. I'm Layla Skinns. I'm a reader in criminology here at The University of Sheffield. And this week, we'll be looking at criminal justice and the criminal justice system. So what is criminal justice? In simple terms, criminal justice refers to a mixture of institutions, actors, decisions, procedures, and practices. Or put another way, a mixture of buildings, people, and things they do, which comprise the state's response to crime. They include the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, criminal defence solicitors, courts, sentences, juries, prisons and probation organisations. We can also think of criminal justice, however, in terms of the values that it upholds, whether justice or perhaps social justice.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsIt is also oriented around values and legal concepts, such as the right to a fair trial. This is expressed in ideas such as about being innocent until proven guilty and having the right to remain silent. Also key are notions of legitimacy and the need to treat suspects and defendants with dignity and respect. What is also really remarkable about criminal justice is that it's continually changing and evolving. It never stands still, which reflects the ever-changing social landscape in which it's situated. On the one hand, this is seen in debates about criminal justice response to cannabis use, for example, which has become decriminalised, if not legalised, in places such as Portugal or parts of the US, reflecting changes to prevailing social norms.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsOn the other hand, as a result of heightened public concern, we've seen a hardening of criminal justice responses to terrorism, including through the use of police stops without reasonable suspicion, the lengthening of police detention without charge, and the use of control orders for those suspected of committing terrorist acts. This process of change, as well as the sometimes controversial and political nature of criminal justice, means that criminal justice matters are rarely out of the media. And I therefore encourage you to keep abreast of these changes and developments as much as you can by reading good-quality news media, as well as the academic sources recommended to you as part of the course. That's all from me for now.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsI thoroughly hope you enjoy the criminal justice week. And we look forward to reading your comments and reflections.

Welcome to Week 2

This week, we’ll consider the topic of criminal justice and discover the agencies and processes that have been established to carry it out.

In this video, Dr Layla Skinns introduces criminal justice as something which is continuously evolving and encourages you to keep abreast of these changes and developments, as much as you can.

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Crime, Justice and Society

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