Article Review: Criminal Justice System


This paper is a review of sections I and II of the article; Constructing a Framework for Criminal Justice Research: Learning from Parker’s Mistakes. The article critiques the book; The Limits of the Criminal Sanction by Parker. The article by MacDonald (2008) explains two major models found in the book by Parker. The two models are; The Crime Control Model and the Due Process Model. The article evaluates the similarities and differences that Parker gave in his book. MacDonald (2008) further critiques the models and weighs in his opinions towards the end of the article in parts III and IV. This paper will look at the works of MacDonald in his reference to the justice system fraternity and end by providing a comparison and a contrast between the two main models discussed by MacDonald (2008).

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The Two Models

As mentioned earlier, MacDonald has evaluated two models (The Crime Control Model and the Due Process Model) in his article. The Crime Control Model as originally explained by Packer is based on the premise of an assembly line. The model essentially takes the efficiency mentality where one would be presumed guilty in the criminal justice system by the proper authorities. The model provides that the accused must and should be moved through the court system. The accused/defendant would then be expected to defend themselves all through, right from the time they were committing the offense, to the time their case would have exhausted all the appeal processes. The model, due to insistence on reducing crime and diminishing concern for reliability, would lead to the suffering of individual rights.

On the other hand, the Due Process Model is premised on reliability, equality, and the prevention of the abuse of state power. The model allows the concept of presumption of innocence until proven guilty to be upheld. As such, the state is compelled to prove the defendant’s guilt. On this, MacDonald observes that the model can be likened to the obstacle course. The model provides that individual rights should be protected, including the right to representation. Packer (1968) highlighted that the Due Process Model primarily assumes that power is often subject to abuse. The state is often suspected of abusing such powers. This indicates that there exists a level of mistrust between the criminal system and the Due Process Model. The goal of the model is to enhance the protection of an individual from abuse by the state, which fundamentally is the custodian of power. The model holds individual rights as a priority to the efficiency of the criminal justice system. 

Comparing and Contrasting the Two Models

Both the models have stack differences and similarities. To begin with, Parker provided that both the models have four major similarities that allow them to co-exist. Both models have been found to give the due process a chance. Second, both the models stand against the intrusion of individual privacies. Third, both the models aim at tackling crime and punishing people who are acting contrary to the rules and regulations in a society, but differs on how to handle criminals. Lastly, both the models tend to separate the criminal act and the criminal as a person. In all these similarities, it has been demonstrated that the models have a respect and reference to constitutional frameworks and values. 

On differences between the two models, it is clear that the crime control model holds a person guilty until proven innocent by the criminal justice system. On the other hand, the Due Process Model holds that one is innocent until proven guilty by the court. Further, the Due Process Model holds that policing is effective in handling crime and it is a critical method of ensuring that justice in the society is maintained. On this view, the Crime Control Model holds that policing the community has the tendency to produce negative effects in the society and more actions are necessary to convict those who commit crimes to ensure that criminal activities are reduced to the minimum. As such, the community is more likely to have a high regard and trust in the criminal justice system due to its actions that clamp down on criminal activity. 


MacDonald (2008) claimed that the two models compete for relevance and priority in the justice system. The two models, as evaluated above, have their own premises. Coming strongly from both models, is the rights of individuals under the scrutiny of the criminal justice system. Further, both models focus on reducing criminal activities in the societies. Both models differ in their evaluation of the methodologies to be adopted to combat crime and what to do when it happens. As such, both the models have identified a different path that should be followed in stemming crime and handling it when it happens. One of the models (The Crime Control Model) is inclined towards reducing crime through suppression of criminal conduct while the other (The Due Process Model) is heavily bent towards securing each individual’s interaction with the criminal justice system.  


Macdonald, Stuart (2008). Constructing a Framework for Criminal Justice Research: Learning from Packer’s Mistakes. University of Pennsylvania Law Review. 113 (1) 1-68Packer, Herbert (1968). The Limits of the Criminal Sanction. Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press.

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