The Criminal Justice system has come a long way from the early days. The Criminal Justice system in the United States date back to colonial days when the citizens were subject to the laws and rules of the British. Many times the laws and subsequent punishment were not always fair and just.

However, at the end of the 17th Century, William Penn began to promote reform in the Criminal Justice system and helped to see these changes implemented. After the American Revolution, the U.S. Constitution was created which guaranteed freedoms and rights that were never in place in colonial days. This was the starting point to setting guidelines for crimes, punishment and procedures that need to be followed to protect the rights of the innocent.

To learn more about the development of the Criminal Justice system in the United States, we have assembled a number of resources:

Criminal Justice History



  • Courts – information and answers on the courts role in the Criminal Justice system.
  • Criminal Offenses – guidelines for punishment for typical criminal offenses.
  • Crime and Punishment – collection of links in the topic of crimes and subsequent punishment.
  • National Museum – link to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment which contains information from history.
  • Capital Punishment – discusses the role of capital punishment as a crime deterrent in the course of history.

Legal System

Police History

  • Police History – brief look at the history and developments in police departments.
  • Police in America – article outlining the history of policing in America.
  • Police – wiki page dedicated to information about police and their growth in the United States.