Hey All, for todays post I am going to give you a copy of my reflection paper that is due this week. For those who do not know, I am a Criminal Justice major at Liberty University. I don’t know how I keep getting A’s in this class– hahaha I write my papers like I BLOG!!
Here we are in week 7 of our criminal justice class and I am asked to discuss what I have learned and to be honest I do not know where to begin; as I have soaked up a lot of knowledge. I guess the first place I’d like to start is with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So many times I have heard people quote their ‘rights’ and I never knew if those were really my rights or not. Now I have a pretty good understanding of what my individual rights actually are. As far as law enforcement, the courts and the correctional system go, I have learned that the most important things, in my opinion, are the use of discretion, the reading of the Miranda, and keeping in the guidelines of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. My original perception of these three systems were that they did not work. I was under the impression that law enforcement was brutal, the courts were where people fell through cracks and corrections was loaded with crooked CO’s. These pictures were painted in my mind with little knowledge based on personal experience but rather due to the media blowing stories out of proportion and tv shows/movies that portrayed bad cops, lawyers and CO’s. To have asked me if my perceptions before this class were based on truth, I’d have to answer that they were at the time; after all perception is a false reality that your mind allows you to understand as your personal truth. That being said I have to say that my perceptions have changed tremendously where law enforcement, the courts and the corrections systems lie, as well as my viewpoints of the victim and the “criminal.”
Before this class I was pretty hardcore with everything either being black or white. For example, if you take a life then you should lose yours; that’s how I use to think. I won’t lie, before this class I was like, “Why are my tax dollars keeping pedophiles and rapist alive in prison? – kill them!” Over the past 7 weeks I have not only gained a deeper understanding for how the criminal justice system works for the victims but also for the accused. With that came compassion and the gray area that I’ve never been able to see before. Yesterday my cousin posted a photo on Facebook. The photo was of a man in an orange jumpsuit behind iron bars that was captioned with a slur about how we (Americans) should perform animal testing on Pedophiles. Wow. I was so offended. At first I wanted to tell her how ignorant her post made her look then I remembered that, that’s how I once saw it too; you know, before understanding that mistakes can and do happen and people are wrongly accused and convicted. The Bible has some pretty intense acts of bad decisions based on perception alone. Look at how Pilate had to let Barabbas, a known murder go simply because he was pressured by the people to do so- KNOWING it was the wrong decision to make. Jesus himself was wrongly accused of crimes He did not commit, “And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king,” (Luke 23:2, ESV) and sentenced to be beaten within an inch of His life then nailed to a cross with a mocking sign above his head. Absolutely ZERO discretion back in those days, God’s plan or not!!
So to end this paper I will say that it’s more than important to base our personal beliefs on truth rather than letting our minds fog up our brains. When crimes are committed every aspect of the criminal justice system has to be on point. When accusations are made, when mistakes are made, when the Constitution isn’t upheld; people lose more than their identity, people lose their lives. Not cool.