Although the term is in common use, my experience as a local crime-fighter has taught me there is no such thing as a criminal justice system. The term “system” implies a coherent integration of activities which does not exist. Lawmakers, police, prosecutors, courts, prisons, and probation departments have overlapping interests, but are independent bodies. This is most commonly witnessed as a revolving jailhouse door, where an offender is arrested, charged, released, and then arrested for the same offense, often within days. If this were a system, it would be a failed system.
Frank Stephenson sees a similar problem with health care: