Essay The Federal Government And Criminal Justice

1252 Words Oct 18th, 2016 6 Pages
The federal government’s role in criminal justice practice and policy has evolved from one of promoting rehabilitation and indeterminate sentencing to one of mass incarceration and determinate sentencing. As governing through crime became a legitimate pathway for the federal government the role of the Department of Justice has expanded. The attorney general’s role expanded as well due to Homer Cummings, Roosevelt’s attorney general, who was present when the New Deal was in crisis going through judicial review (Simon, 2007). The crisis “helped place law at the center of executive authority and drove the function of the attorney general from being a bridge between the president and the Supreme Court to one of being the president’s chief strategist in getting policies validated by the Supreme Court” (Simon, 2007, p.45).
The growth of the attorney general’s position and roles demonstrates how much the federal government was growing and taking on a more prominent role in creating policy. When taking on the Supreme Court, Roosevelt focused criminal matters within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He did this to reinforce the federal government’s legitimacy against the Supreme Court. During this same time the federal government’s role in crime grew as it took on the Prohibition offenses (Simon, 2007). Prohibition crime was often prosecuted at the state level, but it gave rise to federal interest in “big crime”(Simon, 2007, p.…

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