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Benchmarking discretionary practices in the criminal justice system

Updated on November 12, 2013

Benchmarking practices of discretion

Differences play a part in the development of any practices for success, taking into consideration the outcome that is expected to occur. The purpose of benchmarking is to mark the best practices that exist, ensuring that the best outcome is always reached.

The purpose of benchmarking practices with discretion in the criminal justice system is to ensure that all officials in the criminal justice system maintain the professionalism needed without negatively affecting the results with the attitudes or individual beliefs that compromise the integrity of what the law intends for structure and organization in the community.

To maintain the Law of the nation, the criminal justice system faces the issues of setting criteria for the enforcement of the law with the discretionary practices that could compromise the system’s reputation of justice being served. Professionals in the criminal justice system intended to maintain the right of each suspect through every step taken without compromising the practices intended to build the relationship between the community and law enforcement, maintaining the integrity of both judicial practices and community sanctions.

The main goal with benchmarking the best practices with discretion is to identify what works and what is questionable. With discretion in law enforcement, this is difficult with human variables, considering not all situations with an individual will fit into a defined category or individual situation. What benchmarking practices can do for discretionary judgment is minimize, structure, and provide an intended guide to making the best decision that supports the law’s intended goals with justice prevailing. This includes the training and education of each professional in the criminal justice system.

Benchmarking practices without compromising the law

The purpose of benchmarking practices with education and training is to ensure that police maintain the professionalism needed without negatively affecting any decisions with attitude or individual beliefs added to the decisions made. The intention of the process benchmarking is identifying the best processes and administration that can improve the performance of the services, yielding a better outcome for the community.

The objective of selecting the best processes with the interaction of the citizens and the police is the fostering positive relationships and ensuring processes involving the discretion of the officer reflects the objectives of the program and the decisions of law enforcement reflect the law. Each community faces problems custom to the people, lifestyle, and the engagement of activities that cause crime’s existence or the reduction of crime.

Benchmarking consists of identifying specific procedures that affect the police by promoting biased judgements without sensitive training and finding what the community needs from law enforcement. A structured and systematic process is critical to a program and a successful outcome. Without setting standards for a program, the potential for failure of the program from education or training of the staff affects the outcome.

The purpose of improving a process involves the adoption of structures or methods that improve by using the education of police officers and controlling the discretionary practices. Decisions affect the proficiency of the law. Successful outcomes depend on the decision-making abilities of the individuals and the organization to maintain the effectiveness of the vision, responsiveness, and innovation necessary to maintain good interactions with the citizens.

Police Officers use their knowledge and skills to decide the best outcome in every situation. The development of benchmarking effective practices lies in the decisions made by criminal justice officials. The ability to enforce the practices on the discretion of the police by setting guidelines for reaching the best decisions. Defining the best practices through benchmarking would improve the enforcement of the laws and the criminal justice system.


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    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      As an ex policeman I remember my law teacher at college saying a policeman must make a decision in seconds that a court will take a long time to decide on. Sounds asif benchmarking and training will be helpful.


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