Models of Criminal Justice


Modelsof Criminal Justice

Modelsof Criminal Justice

HerbertPacker proposed two models that shape the criminal justice system:the crime control model and the Due process model. The two models ofcriminal justice embody different value systems that compete as thebasis of the conducting the criminal justice procedure. The modelspropose different value systems, but they each cannot be usedexclusively because the criminal justice system also evolves andneeds various adjustments. It is vital to point out the values thatunderlie each model before analyzing the differences in theperspectives of each.First, the models assume that the process ofidentifying criminal conduct is independent from that of dealing withpeople who commit crimes (Packer, 1964). Secondly, they propose thatthe criminal process of different people charged with differentresponsibilities. The activities of actors in the criminal justicesystem must be within the reasonable prospect that a crime has beencommitted.Thirdly, both models postulate that an alleged criminal isnot an object to be manipulated, but an autonomous entity that canuse the law to compel actors in the criminal justice system to provetheir guilt. Finally, the government does not have absolute powersover the investigation and arrest of perpetrators of crime.

Differencesbetween the value systems of both models

TheCrime Control Model

TheCrime Control Model values the repression of crime as the mostimportant role of the criminal justice system(Kaplan, Skolnick,&ampFeeley, 1973). The model considers crime control as a conditionfor freedoms and if the justice system cannot control crime then itencourages societal chaos as a result of lack of freedoms forindividuals. While the Due Process Model values reliability, theCrime Control Model values the efficiency of the system. According tothe model, efficiency lies in the administrative expertise of actorsin the criminal justice system especially the police and prosecutors.The high level of expertise leads to a timely determination of cases. The Crime Control Model has a subtle presumption of guilt that makesactors to punish crime through an efficient justice system routed onhigh professional standards. Unlike the Due Process Model, the CrimeControl Model proposes that early investigations must be throughenough so that the next stages after the determination of guilt orinnocence are only a build-up of the initial stages.

TheDue Process Model

Unlikethe Crime Control Model that works like an assembly line, the DueProcess Model operates as an obstacle course where each stage of thecriminal justice system makes it harder for the accused to continuefurther into the process(Griffiths, 1970). The Due Process laysemphasis in the general structure of the law through institutionsthat enforce it. It is based on the idea that the actors in thecriminal justice system, including witnesses, the victim, and theaccused, are prone error. They are likely to make wrong judgments ofevents if the criminal event is filled with emotions. The model alsopoints out that psychological problems arising from induced orphysical coercion can lead to incorrect information from witnesses. Thus, the model values the importance of preventing and eliminatingerrors arising from issues such as coercion, psychological problems,and other causes of erroneous information. It proposes the use ofadjudicative fact checks to reduce the probability of error.Reliability is the guiding value of the Due Process Model.Adjudicative fact checks maximize reliability so that the informationused to enforce the law does punish the innocent and also does notleave the guilty free.


Griffiths,J. (1970). Ideology in Criminal Procedure or A Third&quot Model&quotof the Criminal Process. YaleLaw Journal,359-417.

Kaplan,J., Skolnick, J. H., &ampFeeley, M. (1973). Criminaljustice: Introductory cases and materials(p. 228). New York: Foundation Press.

Packer,H. L. (1964). Twomodels of the criminal process.University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 1-68.