How the Criminal Justice System Works


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This section of articles on how the criminal justice system works and the flowchart below depicts the most common sequence of events in the criminal and juvenile justice system from the time a crime is committed, reported, investigated, an arrest is made and a criminal defendant proceeds through prosecution, pretrial services, adjudication, sentencing, punishment and corrections.  Information about these events in the criminal justice system can be found in the table of contents below the chart.

 

Flowchart of events as they occur in the criminal justice system

Flowchart from the time a crime is committed, reported, investigated, an arrest is made and proceeds to entry into the criminal justice system, prosecution and pretrial services, adjudication, sentencing and sanctions, punishment and corrections.

 

 Table of Contents to How the Criminal Justice System Works
   (color coded to the flowchart)

   The response to a crime

  Entry into the system

  Prosecution and pretrial services

  Arraignment & Adjudication

  Sentencing & Conviction

  Punishment & Corrections

   Recidivism

   The juvenile justice system

   The structure of the justice system

   Discretion is exercised throughout the criminal justice system