Arizona State University
According to Lynch (2001), the crime control model of criminal court roles often sounds pleasing to the public. The thought of controlling crime using that exact terminology seems to pull at the heartstrings of many American families hoping to keep their loved ones safe. This model focuses on incorporating high rates of incarceration among offenders (Lynch, 2001). The idea is, if offenders are incarcerated at higher rates, it will deter them from committing crimes in the first place (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017). The idea is, if crime is not properly controlled, the citizens will feel that their individual rights have been violated (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017). Another important focus of the crime control model is efficiency (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017). It is considered vastly important that the courts issue rulings quickly, concisely, and conclusively. In this system, “informal fact finding … not only is the best way to determine whether a denfendant is in fact guilty but also is sufficiently foolproof to prevent the innocent from being falsely accused,” (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p. 20). This model is also known for ignoring the inequalities people face and individual circumstances for each case, as it “demands attention to consequences rather than the causes of crime” (Lynch, 2001, p. 110).
The other model of criminal justice focuses primarily on “protecting the rights of the individual,” (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p. 21). This is known as the due process model. Proponents of this model believe criminals should be punished, but fear giving too much power to law enforcement (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017). Many believe that the due process model will allow for more criminals to slip through the cracks (Roach, 1999). However, that is simply not the case (Roach, 1999). It is also important to recognize that the due process model emphasizes that informal fact finding can lead to more errors in the criminal justice system (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017). The main difference between the two models is the importance of the rights of the individual versus the importance of security.
The crime control method is mostly used in reference to Nixon and Raegan presidencies, as it affected the public greatly during these times (Lynch, 2001). Through Nixon’s push for crime control, Raegan-era citizens began questioning the welfare system entirely, calling for a more strict regime that emphasized individual responsibility (Lynch, 2001). For example, the crack cocaine “epidemic” was largely fought against with the crime control model; in other words, without recognition of the root causes for the behavior or the effects thereafter. (Lynch, 2001).
Regardless of preconceived notions, data tracking the incarceration rates over the time periods of the due process model showed that incarceration rates increased (Roach, 1999). However, many argue that the due process model gives too many rights to serious potential offenders, such as those that commit sexual crimes against children (Roach, 1999). I feel that both of these models have directly contributed to my life. I have seen documentaries in which the courts that have used their power to imprison people that have later been found innocent, such as the case in Making a Murderer, but I have also seen cases in which the need for formal fact finding has hindered the case. Which model do you find more appropriate?
Neubauer & Fradella (2017, p. 20) describe the models established by Herbert Packer, crime control and due process, as opposing ideological ways to view how the criminal justice system should handle those accused of a crime. The crime control model represents a more conservative set of values while the due process model sees the subject from a more liberal point of view (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p.20-21). It is an interesting juxtaposition as the liberal stance argues for more freedoms and liberties, normally a conservative ideal, while conservatives take up the closely-held liberal position of granting government more authority.
The crime control model suggests that in order to keep the public safe, those accused of committing a crime have done so because they have made the rational choice based on inadequate morals and need to be kept away from society until their case has reached a conclusion (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p.20). This model requires swift work on the part of the court system and that the court’s inability to act expeditiously puts a strain on law enforcement ability to operate effectively (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p.21). An example of the crime control model would be someone being arrested for stealing from a grocery store and not having enough money to pay the bail set by the court being sent to a county jail until they came before a judge while law enforcement makes the against the accused. If found guilty, in order to prevent this from happening again, the crime control model calls for punishment to deter future offenses.
In that same example, liberals would cite in the due process model that this individual committed the crime as a matter of societal influence, whether it be need (unemployed or impoverished), environmental (raised around criminal activity) or biological (does not grasp the concept of right versus wrong), and that the accused has the right to their freedom until they’re found guilty (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p.21). Neubauer & Fradella (2017, p.21) claim the due process model calls for the court system to be thorough instead of swift, making sure the conclusion is just. This model also highlights that at its core the criminal justice system is disadvantageous to those who cannot afford an adequate defense which leads to these individuals agreeing to plea deals in order to expedite the proceedings (Neubauer & Fradella, 2017, p.21). In contrast with the criminal control model, those in favor of the due process model believe that sentences handed down should go beyond prison time with the court utilizing rehabilitation or community service sentences when it is appropriate.
Both of these models are quite broad in their description and are perhaps a bit too generalized by suggesting those for crime control cannot be in favor of rehabilitation or those who subscribe to the due process model don’t believe there is any flaw in the actors morality. It is examples such as this that furthers the divide in an area of society that requires the gap be bridged.