Good article Mr. Hallet. We all engage the system on one side or the other during our lifetimes, or we know others who have.
I am no expert in law enforcement or in the justice system, but common sense allows me to suggest that the measure of the quality of any system of justice depends on the degree to which fairness and justice is achieved for both the victim and the accused by those in the justice system. Given my understanding of some situations I’ve been involved in, and heard of, concerning certain events in our local system of justice, it all too often functions so that justice is not achieved for either the victim or the accused. Why is this so? After all, the individuals within the system have the power and control to do as they wish.
Are these failures to achieve justice due to incompetence? My view is that much of it is due to this unfortunate condition, which in turn is probably due to a lack of much needed training. I suggest that also it is due to the disease I like to call institutional arrogance, which allows the officer, detective, prosecutor, jailer, or judge to do exactly what they wish to do, so that if they are without integrity and competence, they can, and are likely to, avoid fairness and justice. These individuals, certainly for a time, have the power over the victim and the accused, so that unless they are persuaded by good training, or by their possession of the rare integrity, they will not be inclined to fairness and justice.
Therefore, we are set with a system, in my view, of mediocrity; with a system wherein there are too many within it who are incompetent, who are too often inclined to allow their temporary power over the victim or the accused to favor their bad side, their prejudice, their arrogance, and thus, to spoil the opportunity for fairness and justice.
Surely, any system of justice which has the ultimate power, by way of control and potential secrecy and deception regarding the victim, and by way of incarceration and judicial force regarding the accused, can arrive in due time at a condition of fairness and justice. Where is integrity? Where is true competence? Where is fairness? Where is justice? Where is the ideal?
Some will say that no system is perfect, and that our law enforcement is doing quite well, along with our judicial and incarceration system. I say that there is the idea of perfection, and that our systems lie too far from it.
I must add that the consequences of unfairness and injustice toward the victims or the accused, is that of bitterness, of the desire for revenge, and in the making of an enemy where there would have been none, where there would have been a friend, one who would be more inclined to the road to recovery, to a productive life.