Analysis of Packer’s Crime Control Model in Contrast to Due Process

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About this sample


Words: 2218 |

Pages: 5|

12 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 2218|Pages: 5|12 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

In 1964, Herbert Packer introduced his models of criminal justice; Due Process and Crime Control. The focus is going to be Crime Control and how Packer created this model to describe the exceeding expectations of the criminal justice system.

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The crime control model focuses on public order and ensuring that society is safe by having an efficient system to supress and control crime. The model is known for the fast process in which an individual is apprehended and convicted, this must be done in a quick and timely fashion as speed and finality is highlighted as one of the key points.

In terms of the fast process, this model is an advocate to ensure that punishment for offenders is severe, and holds a need to be done as quickly as possible, and in terms of guilt, the crime control model would say that a person is guilty until proven innocent. Packer describes this model as prioritising the convictions of individuals who have committed a crime and to not wait for the courts to decide. This would allow for the public to see that the criminal justice system as being effective at reducing crime because of these arrests and convictions being done in a timely manner.

The need for proving the idea that the criminal justice system is effective is due to the crime control approach believing that policing is having a negative effect on society and that a lot more should be done to convict all individuals that have committed a crime to reduce criminal activity.

The crime control model would mainly be used when promoting policies in order to aloe the system to be tougher, further expand the powers of the police, changing the sentencing of practices, creating the “three strike” rule for example.

The main beliefs of the model are that police powers should be expanded to make it easier to investigate crimes arrest suspects, search individuals and seize evidence. Legal technicalities that would limit the effectiveness of the police should be eliminated, any statement made by a suspect or defendant should be admissible except those that are considered involuntary and false due to coercion. This would help ensure that any evidence presented in the court is legally admissible and would prevent arresting someone that is not guilty.

The advantages that come with the crime control model is that police would be apprehending and sentencing the guilty members of society, who are responsible for committing a crime, there are also long term advantages in the idea that it aims to directly control disorder and delinquency, minimise the harm caused on society, incarceration of defenders, corrections and deterrence along with reassuring the public that the criminal justice system is effective and to be trusted.

Roach (1999) and Duff (1998) both concluded that if the crime control model is used correctly, how it was intended to be used, that there would be cases where the prosecuting attorney would withdraw the charges or the criminals would plead guilty.

Klein (2006) investigated the crime control model and how it has a reliable screening process for the suspects and many criminals are charged because of the crime control model will spend time in prison due to the system having its reliable screening process. Although there is room for improvement within the areas of plead deals, Klein supports the model and the basis behind it. “The criminal process, in this model, is seen as a screening process in which each successive state- prearrest investigation, arrest, post arrest investigation, preparation for trial, trial or entry of plea, conviction, disposition-involves a series of routinized operations whose success is gauged primarily by their tendency to pass the case along to a successful conclusion”.

There have been crime control statutes, the new laws that were put into place by the U.S. Congress enhanced the sentences for certain types of crime, for example money laundering, carjacking, drug trafficking, violent crimes etc were now faced with federal criminal penalties. These laws are focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation. The more severe the crime, the harsher the sentence you get was the main idea of this and it worked. An individual would not be able to cheat the system, they would be punished no matter how little the crime. “He [Packer] assumes that punishment is necessary to control crime whereas it may achieve little in the way of general deterrence and may make things worse by stigmatizing offenders and producing defiance”.

Due to the fast-paced nature of apprehending and sentencing individuals, the police are in full control and there is the presumption of guilt, rather than the presumption of innocence. The model prioritises factual guilt over legal guilt and from the viewpoint of crime control, allowing a guilty individual to go free would be the ultimate failing of the criminal process.

Weak cases are disregarded as soon as possible rather than being dragged out for longer periods of time, the idea of wasting time when it comes to the crime control model reflects badly on the criminal justice system, this is why the process is quick, if there is not enough evidence when the case is brought into the courts, the case will be closed. This is both an advantage and a limitation of the model. If a case is closed too quickly, the affected parties would be highly discouraged, they would believe that the criminal justice system does not ‘care’ enough to take the time to follow through the case and try as much as possible to apprehend the guilty party. However, it is also a benefit, closing the cases that do not show any information saves money, time and resources that would be put to better use in a case that shows promise in finding a guilty individual which the entire model is focused on, apprehending and convicting the guilty.

Choongh (1998) released information regarding the limitations of Packer’s crime control and due process models. Crime control being based on efficiency and finality, can cause harm as well as being beneficial. The quicker the investigation is, there is more chance of it being incomplete, rushed and potentially sloppy.

Other theorists such as Michael King (1981), argue that there are several more models that would make the criminal justice system more effective. After analysing the criminal system, King (1981) has published a theory that consists of six models in correspondence to Packer’s theory, however, it has been further elaborated and concluded that Packer’s (1968) models are too simplistic. These models brought forward by King consist of; the crime control model; due process model; bureaucratic model; medical model; power model; status passage model. Although King agrees with Packers work, he believes that these models are essential for the criminal justice system to be effective. The medical model for example, is focused on rehabilitation and the idea that some criminals need treatment for their actions, they need evaluation, correct treatment and care in order to reduce them from committing further criminal acts.

This is essential in being able to identify and reduce crime by tackling the issues around why an individual commits a crime and how they should be punished depending of their mentality.

With the example from King (1981), it shows that Packer’s theory may lack a significant amount of depth, be too narrow minded, and could lack credibility if King’s models were put into place. Kings extension of Packer’s models have highlighted the issues in Packer’s work and the criminal justice system models should be taken into greater consideration, however, King’s models have faced criticism as if it was put in place, it may cause further pressure on the criminal justice system in order to implement the new rules and procedures.

Another disadvantage of the crime control model would be the amount of authority it gives to police, if some officers are biased in their thoughts, they would he harsher towards different ‘criminals.” The liberal proponents of the due process model believe that the crime control model pursues the ideology of a police state, as it is far too harsh, this is where there is no division of power and the police control the country, this avoids the lengthy democratic process. Individuals do not have the ability to defend themselves in court due to the harsh nature of the crime control process. Police arrest them on the fact that they believe they are guilty and proceed to continue with the criminal justice process.

There are several people that support the idea of no defence being available for individuals that have been convicted. Supporters believe that no plea bargains are a good thing, the “permit defendants to avoid conviction for crimes that they commit”, they send the wrong message, they result in convictions that are much more lenient and give criminals the mind set that the courts are manipulated easily. LaWall (2001) states that plea deals give off the idea that “the entire credibility of the criminal justice system is corrupted”. It produces the mentality that there is a lack of effective crime control, trial judges are perceived as too willing to release prisoners by offering them the option of a plea deal that is below the statutory maximum of their sentence.

“Chronic overcrowding of juvenile justice facilities is one problem often mentioned, but it is unclear how merely shuffling the overcrowding problems of juvenile facilities to already overcrowded adult courts and adult prisons will alleviate the problem” (Neubauer & Fradella, 2010. p. 519). This same group of supporters also believe that juveniles should take full responsibility for their actions as well, the crime control model has mainly dealt with adult convictions. The believe that if a common problem is overcrowding in juvenile justice facilities, then there should be more transfers to adult court, the transfer would help alleviate the problem, these individuals believe that “crime is the product of moral breakdown and it should not matter what the age is.”

The death penalty is also supported under this model of criminal justice, this is believed to be a long-term advantage and works alongside apprehending the guilty and giving out mandatory sentencing. It would “scare people out of committing murder as they know what the result would be, making it a deterrent. “The crime control model of criminal justice believes that the death penalty should be retained because it is morally acceptable to take the life of a person who has already taken another person’s life”.

However, Scmalleger (1999), argues that crime control through due process would combine the two models whilst also recognising and avoiding its weaknesses and the potential dangers to society. His idea of crime control appears to be the best strategy in order to deal with crime, Scmalleger’s idea of the combination of the two models provides a approach that is moderate in terms of protecting the individual freedoms that had been fought for in America and protecting society from harm sue to a criminal element.

Henham (1998) gave readers information about a rights-based approach, he felt that the crime control and due process models were not adequate during sentencing regarding the criminals’ rights. The crime control model represses criminal activity to maintain low crime rates and a rights-based approach would suggest propositions that have moral validity rather than empirical as the model itself does not provide an adequate choice to criminals with mental health involved, but would also address several other models of criminal justice that do not address mental health.

This is supported by Schrieber, Renneberg, and Macracker (2009) and Tucker, Hasselt, and Russell (2008), each of these authors wrote about how the professionals have inadequate training on how to deal with mentally ill patients, criminals or not. Rehabilitation is very important for the criminals who have any sort of mental disorder, which the crime control model does not support.

In order to understand crime control completely, it must be viewed together with due process as well as separately. However, in terms of law enforcement, enforcement agencies generally prefer the crime control model. This preference is because once a suspect is arrested, they are automatically treated like they have been found guilty, whereas, the due process model would protect the individuals rights which would address illegal searches and the right to not incriminate themselves with the right to stay silent until they are talking to their own attorney.

The crime control model seems to have been described as the best model to be used to maintain and restore order in society, by keeping arrest numbers up and delinquency numbers down. There must be room for quick decisions in some cases, although it would be ideal to not make extreme decisions in haste, some law enforcements agencies would rather a quick decision be made and find later that they were made wrong.

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Overall, the crime control model has many strengths as well as the limitations to how it affects the criminal justice system as well as society. It is based on protecting the people, it is described by Packer as requiring “primary attention be paid to the efficiency with which the criminal process operates.” Crime control is the aim of the criminal justice system the police investigations, the speedy prosecutions and the extreme consequences that will be faced by criminals is the key. This is an advantage over that of due process seeing as “the main goal of the due process model us to reduce mistakes that can place an innocent person in prison, the process is very slow”. 

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Analysis Of Packer’s Crime Control Model In Contrast To Due Process. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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