Identifying Criminal Justice Stakeholders

Instructor: Todd Clifton

Todd Clifton has a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice, has a M.S. degree in Management & Leadership, has a diploma in private investigation, and has helped former criminals reenter free society.

In order to work as a team to solve life impacting scenarios, it is important to identify criminal justice stakeholders. These stakeholders are the key to keeping our communities safe.

A police officer chases an armed robbery suspect down the street. The suspect turns and fires on the police officer. A skirmish follows. Thankfully, the officer calls, and help from other officers arrives. The suspect is apprehended, and a trial follows. The suspect is convicted and serves time in prison. What would happen if the suspect was apprehended and then was not convicted and sent to prison? What would happen if the officer called in help from other officers, and they were not available? Truly the criminal justice system depends on all stakeholders involved in the system.

Criminal Justice Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the criminal justice system are those affected by the criminal justice system. This can include internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders can be considered the criminal justice system itself while external stakeholders are those the criminal justice system serves and in some way affects. Identifying these stakeholders brings valuable insight into the criminal justice system.

Internal Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders include police officers, judges, probation officers, parole officers, correctional officers, lawyers, court personnel, and other individuals. Those who are responsible for enforcing the law and the interpretation of the law are part of the criminal justice system internally. Also, those who are suspected of crimes and convicted could also be considered internal stakeholders of the criminal justice system. All these stakeholders are connected with each other and affect each other. To properly prevent crime, apprehend offenders, and treat offenders, these stakeholders must each do their job.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders include elected officials, the media, groups who serve victims of crime, businesses, families, schools, and society in general. When someone is the victim of a crime they are obviously impacted. The media is also impacted when reporting on a crime. Those who receive the media's reporting of a crime are impacted as well. In one way or another everyone is affected by the criminal justice system. From the laws that are passed to the treatment of offenders, society is affected.


It's important to identify the particular stakeholder that a person is in the criminal justice system. For example, a defense lawyer impacts all the other stakeholders through defending those who are being charged with crimes. How the person being charged with a crime is defended will determine whether that person's freedom will be taken away, if society will be further threatened by the release of the person being charged, how defense lawyers are thought of by the public, and how the judge will oversee the case. Identifying stakeholders of the criminal justice system involves more than just the job title a person has. It involves the effect on other stakeholders that particular job title may bring with it. The effects on other stakeholders determine how they will in turn affect other stakeholders. It is an interconnected system.

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