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SCVAA > Academics > Topics > Criminal Justice 101

Criminal Justice System Continuum

 Federal and State Jurisdiction

An understanding of the role and functions of the various court systems in the United States provides victim service providers with a solid foundation for understanding the dynamics of the law. The U.S. judicial system can be confusing and frustrating to victims when they are first exposed to it. Knowing some of the rationale for its present day composition may help victims understand the foundations of our judicial system and the manner in which laws operate and interact.  Likewise, knowledge of the justice system in South Carolina is also important for victim service providers.

Learning objectives include:

  • The principle of federalism and how it affected the structure of our court system.
  • How the dual system of state and federal courts functions.
  • the characteristics of American court systems.
  • How the juvenile court system functions.

Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system involves many different agencies and individuals. Each of these has specific roles and responsibilities within the system. The victims' role within the system must be understood in this context. In large part, legislatively established "rights" provide victims with the means to make the system more accountable to them.

Learning objectives include:

  • The basic roles and responsibilities of professionals along the criminal justice system continuum.
  • The interactions among these individuals and agencies and how these can assist victims.
  • The basic tenets of victims' rights laws.