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System Of Criminal Justice

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 557
  • Category: Justice

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The criminal justice system has been seen to embody two distinct and almost conflicting goals. The first is to maintain law and order and the second being to protect the citizens from the elements that may deny their freedom. The former goal inspired by Herbert Parker who developed the crime control model that takes a hard-line stance against any person alleged to exhibit criminal behavior. It promotes a forceful and swift arrest, trial and sentencing of suspected criminals.

Crime control model has been a subject of controversy with majority of organized civil groups and individuals viewing it in a negative light. This is because it assumes that a suspected criminal is guilty until proven otherwise it therefore allows the police to act as the jury. The model focuses on practices and cultures that promote crime control and keeping order-this at times at the expense of fairness and justice.

One process on the other hand places emphasis on protecting the rights of the suspected criminals. This model allows room for error and acknowledges the fact that the police can error in their course of investigation. The model insists on procedures that in the end only the guilty are convicted.

The fact that proponents of either model are usually powers to reckon with produces a contradictory tension. The whole issue has strong political connotation with the conservation position touting for the crime control model while the liberal taking a negative position against it. The police and the courts also take opposing sides on this issue with the former leaning on the crime control model and the latter on the due process model. These are of course benefits and limitations attached to both models.

Proponents of the crime control model put across a strong case arguing that crime must be routed out through all necessary means and force. War on crime is fierce and its objectives must be achieved i.e. to eliminate criminal activities in the society. This requires “necessary sacrifices” be made to ensure achievement of these goals. Use of certain methods such as undercover operations, unobtrusive surveillance and intelligence collection as well as raids and forceful searches, is justified by proponents of this model.

The outcome of enforcement of this model has been remarked in most instances and its effectiveness has been seen in the past through reduced crime and safe neighborhoods. The proponents of the due process model on the other hand assent that the harm that might result from a slight mistake can have grave repercussions on an innocent person. They argue that this outweighs the benefits that may be gained from the crime control model.

It is worth noting that most of these people are generally good citizens who are ethical and moral. They don’t usually advocate for criminals to be treated leniently but that innocent people should never be put through undeserved suffering.

It is the opinion of the author that both these models have an important role to place in the justice system.

Crime control has benefits to common good that cannot be ignored. However the due process proponents must also exist in order to check any excesses that may result from zealously pursuing the crime control model.


Franc Schmalleger (1999) Criminal Justice today. Prentice Hall. 5th Ed.

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