America’s criminal justice system is a composite of contributions from all three branches of government—the judicial, the legislative, and the executive. This is the criminal justice template in every jurisdiction, whether state or federal. When viewed organically, the complete system is composed of a multitude of fail-safe mechanisms intended to ensure that an individual who falls within its parameters is treated with fairness, justice, mercy, and a recognition that people and circumstances do change. The efficacy of these individual fail-safe mechanisms is undoubtedly subject to debate, but no doubt exists that these various avenues of relief and mitigation are essential components and bulwarks of the system.
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