Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It regulates social conduct and proscribes whatever is threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people. It includes the punishment of people who violate these laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation than on punishment.
Criminal law is distinctive for the uniquely serious potential consequences or sanctions for failure to abide by its rules. Every crime is composed of criminal elements. A person may be incarcerated in prison or jail in a variety of conditions. Confinement may be solitary. Incarceration may vary from a day to life. Government supervision may be imposed, and convicts may be required to conform to particularized guidelines.
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