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Today's Criminal Justice System

Computers and Information technology being commonplace in the present age and times, many legal and judicial cases now involve the discovery of electronic stored information or raw data in order to determine results of cases. It is very obvious according to Travis, that there are challenges of technology facing the criminal justice system (2008). The technological revolution that is sweeping across nations and the world has not spared the criminal justice system. Like other areas such as the police departments, private and public sector, correctional facilities and even the community groups. Many agencies therefore have seen the importance of embracing technology and the promise of change it does come with. It is no small revolution especially when today we can have on record judges routinely ordering for electronic monitoring as a condition of probation; prisons administer care with no need to move the prisoners simply due to the presence of telemedicine. All these changes are either backed by opposition but a greater force of approval comes along to ensure that technology is introduced in order to secure efficiency and effectiveness of work delivery.

Siegel states that not only have computers and the internet been used by the criminals and scam artists to fleece the vulnerable and unsuspecting public, but the criminal justice agencies are turning the tables by using the same technology and its modern form to increase their own effectiveness (2008). Information technology has been found to play a very important and vital role in law enforcement. According to Siegel, back in 1998, the federal government recognized the importance of information, identification, and communication technologies and this led to the establishment of an agency to deal with criminal cases in an IT perspective. It is very clear that as technology evolves fast, criminals are also increasingly taking many opportunities to enhance their potential by using new products available over the internet and they have increased their ability to commit criminal acts and subsequently conceal evidence. Even though many people use the internet, quite a number use it for very illegal purposes and these could include activities such as: hacking, electronic fraud, distribution of indecent images or materials, drug trafficking, cyber terrorism and even organize attacks to major critical information infrastructure networks of various organizations. According to Ramm, high-tech criminal activities are very sophisticated and involve different types of fraud and currently some have duded it ‘white collar crime’ and is typically committed by very brilliant professionals working in high-powered positions (2008).

Hi-Tech Crime and Criminal Activities

Today the terminology used to identify the high-tech crimes is hands-off crime where fraudulent activities are done and the perpetrators of the same are not in danger or fear of immediate arrest. The cyber-criminals do not see a victim’s distress or experience the shame that is commonly associated with crimes committed in public. Even though new IT techniques provide the opportunity to increase the level of efficiency within the criminal agencies, there has to be a price with certain of critics in belief that these methods could compromise the privacy and liberty of the citizens. Privacy concerns often focus on the new techniques of surveillance which are used in technological advanced criminal justice operations (Siegel, 2008). Analysis of crime serves certain purposes that include: support for resources deployment, assisting investigations and apprehending the culprits, preventing crime and also meeting the administrative needs. There has been need for an effective tool to assist in the performance or achievement of the above purposes. According to Pattavina, law enforcement agencies have been doing the criminal analysis for a long time with policing focusing on random methods of crime analysis. With the advancement in IT, the law enforcers have increased the domain of crime analysis tremendously and a number of systems that have been introduced have been very helpful (2005). Some of the criminal cases termed as high-tech have generally had poor response due to lack of understanding between the victim and the police since the first respondents are not able to immediately provide the police with evidence and does not understand what the investigator requires. Secondly, discrepancy in goals, as victims who probably might have a commercial interest need to re-state the computer systems quickly while police look at it from a social context hence tension and delay of recovery process. Thirdly the gap is present due to lack of understanding in crime taxonomy as private organizations do not care about content of the penal code but the consequences an attack may have caused to their systems. A number of the very sophisticated crimes are cyber crimes that can be categorized into: crimes against confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and systems; computer related traditional crimes; content-related offences; offences related to infringement of copyright and related rights; and infringement of privacy. A very vertical use of hi-tech criminal act is a case where the computer is the target of a criminal activity as the very final goal. For instance spamming, hacking and crime ware are just a few examples where the presence of the machine is fundamental for the occurrence of the crime.

Technology used in Fighting Hi-Tech Crime

The following are some of the technologies that the criminal justice will use or encounter in order to fight crime. Drug testing technology: It is said that drug testing is currently a commonplace in the US. Sectors such as the airports, police departments, schools and even federal employees are required to undergo drug test as conditions of employments and also to help fight crime. In the criminal justice case where drug have been used before and one would want to determine which drugs have been previously used, a wide range of issues that reach into some unearthed areas of law, and policy are having these system deployed (Travis, 2008). There are various cases of the use of internet in launching very technical criminal activities such as production and dissemination of child abusive images or material; the use of stolen credit cards; phishing and ID theft; distributed denial of Service attacks; software piracy; spread of crime-wares; cyber-laundering; cyber-terrorism. According to Ramm, large distance and cross-border nature of crime has meant that despite effective measures in place that many countries have adopted, there are still about 77% increases in fraud committed by criminals using stolen credit card details. These criminal do not need the physical credit card but only access to the number and other pertinent details which many people provide during online purchasing and even booking of certain items or facilities. Ramm, states that whether it is just a simple theft of credit cards, identity theft or manipulation of money markets, high-tech criminal acts is a real world problem (2008).


Literacy is a very vital factor and aspect required to enforce law and order with respect to the criminal cases. It is very important t o understand e-commerce in the case of online fraud or crime by all forensic experts in order to carry out investigation and obtain trails to a suspected offender. In other cases such as physical criminal offences that would portray an aspect of hi-tech approach, fingerprinting can be used to obtain the identity of the offender and upon apprehension; the offender can still be monitored within a given range by use of electronic monitoring devices. Travis states that the use of computerized crime maps to understand the patterns of criminal cases in a particular area can help investigators to quickly scan databases to learn about the most intimate details of people suspected to be engaging in h-tech crimes. These new capabilities also pose challenges to the entire criminal justice system that include how the balance of privacy concerns and the need to conduct criminal investigations can be sorted (2008).


In conclusion, training is a very vital component of criminal justice and law enforcement personnel to ensure that they are exposed to the technological advances of crime and can be capable with the tools provided in IT to determine cases, investigate, collect evidence, store the evidence, analyses the same and can without compromise present the reports as to the findings of the cases. However, there are dark sides of IT in the sense that social and cost implications come with the training and implementation of the systems. Information technology can lead to gross violation of certain individual rights t privacy. This can be seen from the use of wiretapping technology for the detection and investigation of crime. Hence technology must not be viewed as a change driver but rather a tool for transforming the criminal justice in plausible ways that will enhance both the capability to control crime and the need to secure justice in the approaches and accepted standards that are consistent with the democratic values. The national justice systems are and must continue to look for opportunities that ensure testing of new ideas with most rigorous scientific methods as well as communities of research projects to test the interventions that will enable appropriate deployment of security systems and implement judicial rulings.

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