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Models of Criminal Justice System

This essay discusses the issues pertaining to the Criminal Justice System.

Models of the criminal justice system give us a better understanding of the criminal justice system or, at the very least, that is their attempt.   There are two early major models, namely the crime control model and the due process model.   Since that time there have been additional attempts at further breaking down those models.   The original models saw the criminal justice system as either concerned with the public at large (crime control model) or concerned with the accused (due process model).    Although both of these models are seen as polar opposite, they are both rooted in Constitutional law (Marion and Oliver, 38-40). 

Herbert Packer, a professor of law at Stanford University in the 1960’s, introduced the first two models of the criminal process (Ibid, 38-39).    These models were introduced in an article and later a book, The Limits of the Criminal Sanction.  Packer’s goal was to, “give operational content to a complex of values underlying the criminal law”.  (Packer) Packer wanted to avoid oversimplifying the criminal process and to give understanding to the how the competing systems should be evaluated.   Although his models were competing models, there was also much commonality (Marion and Oliver, 39).  The system is always at play in the model. Regardless of the focus, an accused needs to be ushered through the criminal justice system.

Packer’s two models were crime control model and due process model.   Simply stated, the crime control model focuses on repression of criminal conduct and due process model focuses on formal law and individual protection.   The crime control model focuses on the guilt of the criminal and the process and the speed of it.   Whereas the due process model focuses more on assuring all constitutional rights of an accused.   These are definitely polar opposite ends of visualizing an accused criminal.    The crime control model sees an accused as inherently guilty because he is accused.  Whereas the due process model sees the accused as innocent until proven otherwise   (Ibid, 39-40).
The crime control model resembles an assembly line (Ibid, 39).   The goal is to get the accused in, charged, punished and moved along.   The crime control model assumes guilt by association of accusation.    There is no concern with the issue of accuseds’ rights, moreso the focus is on the punishment.   Speed and swiftness is paramount.   The goal is to dole out punishment and carry it out.    The crime control model can be compared, politically speaking, to the conservative way of thinking (Ibid, 42-43).   

The due process model is thoroughly focused on constitutional rights.   It believes every effort must be made to see that the accused is treated fairly unless and until guilt can be proven.   Additionally, an accused should be assumed innocent immediately and it must be unequivically proven that someone is guilty (Ibid, 39-40). 

Malcom Feeley, a professor of criinal justice and law, broke down Packer’s models even further. 
This was introduced in a 1973 article entlted, “Two Models of the Criminal Justice System: An Organizational Approach”.   Feeley felt that a more theoretical framework was needed to explain the organization.   He created two additional models, based on Packer’s initial models.    The first is the rational-goal model and the second is the functional-system model (Ibid, 40-41).

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