A Comparison of the Criminal Justice Systems of Malaysia and the United States

Suria Idris, Southeast Missouri State University
Carol Veneziano, Southeast Missouri State University
Louis Veneziano, Southeast Missouri State University

ABSTRACT
Although countries may differ in terms of their social, economic, and political institutions, it has been argued that their criminal justice systems are similarly structured. Regardless of the distinguishing and unique features of a given country's culture, its criminal justice system is designed to accomplish the same goals: (1) protect society from criminal perpetrators; (2) punish those who have violated its criminal laws; (3) attempt to achieve the goals of general deterrence, specific deterrence, incapacitation, restitution, and retribution; and (4) provide offenders with opportunities to turn themselves into productive, law-abiding citizens. This study was conducted to determine whether the criminal justice system in Malaysia conformed to this idea concerning these so-called universal goals and practices. Malaysia is a developing country with a diverse population. In its bid for modernization, Malaysia has moved toward a market economy, an unfortunate byproduct of which has been increased criminal activity. The results indicated that despite numerous cultural differences between Malaysia and the United States, the criminal justice systems of both countries were remarkably similar, providing support for the contention that ciminal justice systems largely reflect universal goals and practices.

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Updated 05/20/2006