Without a doubt, the events of 9/11 and its ramifications have had a deep impact on the collective consciousness of the United States and its criminal justice system, with areas like homeland security going through the most apparent changes since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Homeland security took on an increasingly more prevalent role for both the U.S. government and the country’s general awareness. $10.6 billion from the Fiscal Year 2002 Emergency Budget Supplemental was poured into the effort to create a more stable and safe America. In what was the largest criminal investigation in history, more than 4,000 FBI special agents and 3,000 support staff members were deployed to the international investigation of the terrorist attacks. Examples of counterterrorism could be found through departments such as Aviation Security, Cybersecurity, Chemical Security, and an overall increase of Law Enforcement.
The increased safety measures in America’s post-9/11 criminal justice system have been most evident through the increase in surveillance and preventative measures in its homeland security proceedings. More companies began implementing better hiring practices and more extensive background checks, along with bomb and/or terrorism procedures. Many security companies now send their employees to bomb train class by the FBI and Homeland Security, where they are also trained with armed assault practice to deal with a terrorist in a controlled building. Further increased security methods can be found in the prevalence of bomb sniffing dogs and high tech bomb detecting devices.
The U.S. Government began its detention of several hundred individuals – Arabic and Muslim noncitizens, specifically – who fit the profile of the suspected terrorist hijackers. A majority of these detainees were imprisoned without charges and without following any previously defined standard.
The Guantanamo Bay detainment facility in Cuba was formed in 2002 and acted as one of the primary locations that these detainees were held. Shortly after its inception, the camp’s prisoner numbers surged when the U.S. Government’s Justice Department advised that the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp fall outside of the U.S. legal jurisdiction; prisoners captured in Afghanistan began to be moved there that same year.
Over the next seven years, several rounds of legislation would further diminish the rights of the detainees. President Barack Obama signed an order in January of 2009 to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the facility would be shut down within the year. By January 2010, only 193 prisoners remained, and are to be transferred to the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois.
Our Department of Homeland Security is an intricate system comprised of several criminal justice professionals who play a pivotal part in securing our country and preserving our freedoms in a post-9/11 environment.