How does each step determine the future steps in criminal justice?
This is a good question, as you are getting at the heart of the issue, that is, past decisions have a profound effect on the current situation and the future. Let me give you a few examples of how this might work.
If you have a weak police force, then you will have problems with crime in society. If you have police force that is not cultural sensitive, then you might have racial tensions. Similarly, if you have inefficient laws, then you will have problems in the area of convictions and the like. As you can see, the past dictates much in the present.
Likewise, if you have poor theories and practices when it comes to prison sentences (and what you with prisoners), then you will have great problems in society in time. The ramifications are great.
In short, all decisions have implications.