Alright, now that we have covered how your government is set up, and what it’s role is in society. And the philosophy and theories for its role in corrections, we will take a look today at some of the more physical aspects. What sort of agency or agencies does it use to carry out and enforce its rules on society? What does your government in action look like?
How does an encounter with a law enforcement officer normally go?
Let’s start out by following an average encounter with law enforcement. In our story the protagonist was arrested by the local constable for reckless driving and endangerment to society for driving their cart through town at a terrifying 7 MPH!!! So how did this encounter go down? Was the constable peaceful and reasonable in hauling our offender off to a local jail to await their appearance before a judge? Did he administer some “street justice” of his own during the arrest? If our protagonist happened to have had a bag of silver coins on them at the time would the constable have been “unable” to locate them? Obviously, there will be some variation to this encounter depending on the particular constable’s disposition and personality, but on average, what would a character in story expect to happen in an encounter with law enforcement personal?
What about an investigation?
So now that the protagonist has been arrested, how is his guilt or innocence going to be determined? Maybe the entire case rests on the arresting officers testimony? Or is the offenders testimony considered as well? If so can it be forced or is it always optional? Are witnesses allowed to testify? If so, how much weight is given to them? Is the weight of their testimony determined by their gender? Race? Age? Does your society have any special means of investigating? Forensics? DNA testing? Magic? Time travel? A plethora of cameras recording everything?
After the arrest and investigation, comes the trial
So, our unlucky protagonist is now sitting in a jail cell awaiting their trial. But what sort of trial will it be? Is it a trial of his peers? Where X number of regular citizens just like him hear the evidence for and against him before coming to a decision on his guilt or innocence? Or is it a single judge that will be trying him? If so, is this judge appointed by the king? Or elected to their position by the villagers who don’t want to be bothered to hear every case themselves? Perhaps it could be a trial by combat? Or by fire? Is the offender allowed to have anyone present their case or speak on their behalf? If so, is their lawyer court appointed? Or do they need to hire them on their own?
Another aspect of your government in action that we should look at is how many different agencies does your government control? Do they have one central law enforcement agency where your leader appoints the top law enforcement officer who is then responsible for every other officer throughout your kingdom? Or do you have multiple agencies that all have different roles, such as the ministry of magic, the ministry of white collar crimes, and the ministry of violent crimes? Perhaps they are divided be regions instead of type of crime? Or perhaps you have a society of many mixed races and you have your elven delegation, dwarven division, orcish agency, fairy bureau, and the Assorted Monsters and Other Natural Kreatures Enforcment (A.M.O.N.K.E.)?
Or maybe your society’s law enforcement is much more distributed at the local village level. In this case perhaps the local magistrate, mayor or village elders have decided to hire a sheriff to help deal with any legal issues that arise in their own shire/county/village/town etc.
Alternate scenarios for seeing your government in action
Maybe your government doesn’t have a specific law enforcement agency. In this case what happens? Do they have the military garrisoned in every city and keeping the peace? Do they hire guilds to enforce the laws in their own cities or areas of influence? Are private mercenaries hired by individuals to exact justice if a wrong done has been done against them? Are there champions, paragons, exemplars, titans, guardians, judges, or etc. that operate like Judge Dredd? They are the judge, jury, executioner all rolled into one and answer to no one except themselves. Maybe your society has advanced to the point that they have technology similar to that in Minority Report, where people are arrested before they have even committed a crime, because it has been determined that they will inevitable end up committing one.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this in depth look at building a government and all of its various parts into your world over the past couple of weeks. Let me know in the comments below if there are any other areas of world building that you would like me to explore with you!