How Justice Theories Have Changed Over Time Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1263 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Written: October 27, 2017

If the “common good” of the traditional utilitarian philosophy were really in place as a principle of justice theory, the system would be oriented towards addressing some of these problems and it would also be streamlined. Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Today’s modern criminal justice system is not standardized and there are many agencies that are similar but that have their rules and regulations as well as processes and methods for addressing and/or controlling crime in their jurisdictions. Some agencies operate in an extra-judicial capacity, which essentially places them outside federal and state laws (examples include CIA black sites, where interrogations are conducted without third-party recourse or oversight and where subjects may be tortured or detained indefinitely). Other agencies have clear regulations and methods that are published for the public so that people are aware of how the law will be upheld and how criminals will be prosecuted under the law. In the age of terrorism, however, the concept of justice has been adapted to meet the needs of agencies in the criminal justice system (from the NSA to the FBI to local law enforcement) as well as the public, which often has a different interpretation of justice than that conceived by agencies (for example, the ACLU and other activist groups protest against governmental intrusion and violation of privacy rights guaranteed by the Constitution).

Term Paper on How Justice Theories Have Changed Over Time Assignment

Thus, while a theory of justice according to Rawls would assert that single societies must define their own sense of justice because of their own unique environments, in the U.S., there are many societies that are intertwined like in a Venn diagram, overlapping one another and yet not wholly part of one another—so that one group’s sense of justice correlates with another’s but only to a certain extent. Even the criminal justice system has its own groups and “societies” within it so that there is no real or unified vision or shared sense of justice that all cling to. For instance, a state like California is far more likely to have a more liberal conception of justice than is a state like Texas. Yet, both will participate in a federal system of criminal justice, where the individual states’ ideals and beliefs may not be very well represented by the system. Thus, the question may be asked: who benefits from the federal system of justice? The people who are meant to be served and protected, or the system’s leaders and main actors who stand to effect a system that serves their own interests?

Today’s justice concept also differs from the concept of security in the sense that justice is not solely directed or aimed at ensuring or guaranteeing security for citizens, whereas an agency like the DHS is oriented towards protecting the homeland and making it secure. However, there is considerable overlap and a blurring of the lines between justice and security in the age of terrorism—which is why some groups (such as the ACLU) protest against the violation of justice and rights by agencies determined to protect those same people. The argument goes that in order to be safe, some rights must be given up. This aggravates the concept of justice because it contradicts the main ideas of freedom and equality while asserting a “common good” principle in their place.

In conclusion, the concept of justice has changed much over the centuries. Today, the main principles that support it remain rooted in liberty and equality—however, circumstances on a global scale have altered how these concepts are interpreted and changed the way agencies and the public view justice and the manner in which it is served.


Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

How Justice Theories Have Changed Over Time.  (2017, October 27).  Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

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"How Justice Theories Have Changed Over Time."  27 October 2017.  Web.  18 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"How Justice Theories Have Changed Over Time."  October 27, 2017.  Accessed September 18, 2020.