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State police have the authority to enforce statewide laws, including regulating traffic on highways. Local or county police, on the other hand, have a limited jurisdiction with authority only in the town or county in which they serve.

An armed and armored police officer is shown in a doorway with his gun.
Here, Afghan National Police Crisis Response Unit members train in Surobi, Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of isafmedia/flickr)

Courts

Once a crime has been committed and a violator has been identified by the police, the case goes to court. A court    is a system that has the authority to make decisions based on law. The U.S. judicial system is divided into federal courts and state courts. As the name implies, federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) deal with federal matters, including trade disputes, military justice, and government lawsuits. Judges who preside over federal courts are selected by the president with the consent of Congress.

State courts vary in their structure but generally include three levels: trial courts, appellate courts, and state supreme courts. In contrast to the large courtroom trials in TV shows, most noncriminal cases are decided by a judge without a jury present. Traffic court and small claims court are both types of trial courts that handle specific civil matters.

Criminal cases are heard by trial courts with general jurisdictions. Usually, a judge and jury are both present. It is the jury’s responsibility to determine guilt and the judge’s responsibility to determine the penalty, though in some states the jury may also decide the penalty. Unless a defendant is found “not guilty,” any member of the prosecution or defense (whichever is the losing side) can appeal the case to a higher court. In some states, the case then goes to a special appellate court; in others it goes to the highest state court, often known as the state supreme court.

Two different courthouse setups are shown here. Two different courthouse setups are shown here.
This county courthouse in Kansas (left) is a typical setting for a state trial court. Compare this to the courtroom of the Michigan Supreme Court (right). (Photo (a) courtesy of Ammodramus/Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy of Steve&Christine/Wikimedia Commons)

Corrections

The corrections system    , more commonly known as the prison system, is charged with supervising individuals who have been arrested, convicted, and sentenced for a criminal offense. At the end of 2010, approximately seven million U.S. men and women were behind bars (BJS 2011d).

The U.S. incarceration rate has grown considerably in the last hundred years. In 2008, more than 1 in 100 U.S. adults were in jail or prison, the highest benchmark in our nation’s history. And while the United States accounts for 5 percent of the global population, we have 25 percent of the world’s inmates, the largest number of prisoners in the world (Liptak 2008b).

Prison is different from jail. A jail provides temporary confinement, usually while an individual awaits trial or parole. Prisons are facilities built for individuals serving sentences of more than a year. Whereas jails are small and local, prisons are large and run by either the state or the federal government.

Questions & Answers

what factors prompted the development of sociology of education
Faith Reply
factors that prompted the development of sociology of education
Faith
sociology my febarit subject
Bp
factory working culture, nuclear family, industrialization etc
Zubair
Relevant of anthropology
Sani Reply
effect of fgm on health
Nana Reply
What is collective behavior
Riaz Reply
COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR Behaviour in crowds and mobs that occurs when the usual norms are suspended.
Mary
How does climate affect human behaviour
Amanda Reply
discuss the five factors that promotes national conciousness unity and integrity in nageria? .com
Abubakar Reply
Auguste comte definition
sanjay Reply
What is definition
sanjay
what is his definition
Jorge
what is the definition?
Ebube
importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour Reply
can someone explain social system theory
Evalyne Reply
the study society as a complex ,arrangement of element individual and their beliefs
ghaza
how climate change human behavior
Hope Reply
climate change human behaviour... it have the power to change human emotions.
MINU
lack of agriculture can cause financial problems
MINU
How does climate affect human behaviour
Amanda
disscus the roles challenges of sociology as social engineer with concrete examples
honour Reply
honour Austin met me in school, i got a material for your question or I can tell you what to do to get your assignment done....(uniuyo)
Icecool
define crime and explain its categories
Abdullahi Reply
definition of crime and explain its categories
Nathax
Criminology is the study of the law enforcement and criminal justice. Criminology covers these area: Frequency of crime Location of crimes Causes of crimes Types of crimes Social and individual consequences of crimes Social reactions to crimes Individual reactions to crimes Governmental reactions
Amman
what are roles and challenges of sociology as social engineers
Icecool Reply
Fo any of you have any idea about Ibn ek khuldun theory of Population . kindly share
Maria Reply
No idea
Dede
Maria ibn ek khuldun supposed to be the first founder of sociology but due to the country he is that's why is not recognized as well... he was born 1332 and died 1406, is an Egyptians... he defined sociology as the science of nature and discipline
IBRAHIM
what re the importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour
Auguste Comte The French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857)—often called the “father of sociology”—first used the term “sociology” in 1838 to refer to the scientific study of society. He believed that all societies develop and progress through the following stages: religious, metaphysical
Abdikadir
what are the impact of HIV and aids in the society plz help
Mvumeni
the father of sociology
Chiamaka Reply
The father of Sociology is called "August Comte " but the term "Sociology is coined by Ibn e khuldun " and he is the founder of social sciences .
Maria
but sociology word first introduced by August comte
Izhar

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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