Every nation of the world experiences the same crimes on some level within their society. From burglary to murder, every nation must deal with the criminals who help in various ways to shape the society that many either admire or fear. The rates of crimes around the world are significantly different from the crime rates that occur within the United States. The political and social structures of these nations often help in predicting the types of crimes that are more prevalent around the world compared to what is more prevalent within the United States.
These structures also help to predict the ways in which the nations deal with these crimes within their criminal justice system. Through the evaluation of major global crimes and criminal issues, one can better understand the global impact that these crimes have on the national and international justice systems and processes. First, the prevalence of certain crimes varies from nation to nation and can often be based on the political and social structures of that nation.
For example, in middle-income and developing countries, homicide is far more prevalent compared to nations with higher incomes (Shaw, et al, 2004). Research reveals that nations that have high rates of homicide tend to be accompanied by social and political unrest, where crime organizations tend to run the country more than the politicians (Shaw, et al, 2004). On the other hand, there has been a dramatic decline in the rates of robbery among nations included in North America compared to other nations of the world (Shaw, et al, 2004).
Second, the ways in which criminals are tried and detained within the criminal justice systems of various nations differ due to the political and social structures that are set up for each citizen. Research has revealed that most nations follow a civil law system, which is typically based on Roman law structures, in which a person can be punished as soon as a sufficient amount of evidence proves that a person is guilty of a crime (O’Connor, 2011). This varies from the common law systems, where innocence is assumed prior to proving that a person is guilty of a crime (O’Connor, 2011).
More common in nations, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran, the Islamic law system is directly based on the Koran, which is often interpreted as a harsher law system compared to other law systems utilized by other nations (O’Connor, 2011). The law systems that are utilized are critical to uncovering the standards and beliefs of a nation, which often helps people, determine what is considered a crime compared to what may be overlooked by a nation. For example, seven of the eight nations that are included in the group of Caribbean nations have been affected by colonial rule for centuries (United Nations Programme Development, 2012).
This colonial rule has caused their criminal justice system to be based on British common law, as well as national statutory laws (United Nations Programme Development, 2012). Their courts are also structured in a manner that is similar to British courts, where there is a magistrate court, a high court, as well as a court of appeals (United Nations Programme Development, 2012). While every person tried in court are entitled to a fair trial, they tend to reserve juries for serious criminal trials, such as homicide, etc. hich distinctly varies from the United States, where there are few cases historically or otherwise, where juries were not used (United Nations Programme Development, 2012). These structures help to formulate the methods in which criminals are obtained as well as detained within each nation. For example, research has revealed that the rates of attrition, or the rates in which a criminal is obtained and tried for the crimes in which they are accused of committing, differ with the status of the nation (Shaw, et al, 2004).
For example, nations that are more developed tend to have higher rates of attrition, meaning that more criminals have a tendency to be properly tried by the criminal justice system of that particular nation (Shaw, et al, 2004). In contrast, nations who were classified as “developing nations” tended to have lower attritions rates, which would be indicative of the lack of political and social structures, which would help to deter crime, as well as fairly punish those who have committed crimes within their society (Shaw, et al, 2004).
This phenomenon can best be explained by the colonization thesis, which asserts that more developed nations cause crimes in developing nations, who are dependent on these nations for financial and other assistance (O’Connor, 2011). For example, Interpol reported that France (a developed nation) was able to successfully dismantle a crime network of both Georgian and Armenian nationals who “were believed to be linked to more than 300 burglaries” with 21 people being arrested and a substantial amount of money being recovered by law enforcement (2012).
Through determining the attrition levels often help to determine the ways in which criminals around the world are rehabilitated through the punitive system. The corrections system, though similar to the United States, tend to be different from nation to nation. For example, in Jamaica, law enforcement depends on the probation system in order to rehabilitate criminals who pass through their punitive system (United Nations Programme Development, 2012).
This still varies from other nations who are included in the Caribbean nations, where both probation and parole are commonly used to rehabilitate criminals (United Nations Programme Development, 2012). This, however, does not help to explain nations who have little to no crime. Nations, such as Switzerland, tend to have very few issues of crime in their nation, which many would normally assume is due to the fact that they have historically been a neutral nation and do not seek to pull a gun when issues can be discuss diplomatically (O’Connor, 2011).
Research, however, has revealed that the reason that these nations have little crime is because there are wealth of social institutions that help to ensure that each citizen is well provided for (O’Connor, 2011). For example, Switzerland has a plethora of welfare programs, which helps to care for those who are among the underclass (O’Connor, 2011). This, in turn, helps to deter potential criminals from committing crimes, and even when crimes are committed, criminals are moderately punished after an extensive review of their socio-economic history, and are later assisted to help prevent them from committing future crimes (O’Connor, 2011).
In conclusion, while crime is confronted on a daily basis by every nation, the rates and frequency of certain crimes vary based on the political and social structures of that nation. The ways in which each nation chooses to address these issues also tend to vary based on the political and social structures, which can affect the future rates of crime in those nations. Through the evaluation of major global crimes and trends, one can better understand how other nations structure their criminal justice system in order to deal with the criminals of their nations.
Interpol. (2012). “Crime network behind hundreds of burglaries dismantled by French police.” Retrieved from: http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News-media-releases/2012/N20120607bis O’Connor, T. (2011). “Introduction to comparative criminal justice.” Retrieved from: http://drtomoconnor.com/3040/3040lect01a.htm Shaw, M., van Dijk, J., and Rhomberg, W. (2004). “Determining trends in global crime and justice: An overview of results from the United Nations surveys of crime trends and operations of criminal justice systems.” Forum on Crime and Society, 3 (1-2). Retrieved from: http://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/forum/forum3_Art2.pdf United Nations Programme Development. (2012). “Caribbean Human Development Report.” Retrieved from: http://hdr-caribbean.regionalcentrelac-undp.org/files/Chapter5_Caribbean_HDR2012.pdf