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Crime Control

In: Social Issues

Submitted By RasheedBhai
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Herbert Packer, one of the leading scholar in criminal law and a law professor at Stanford University, introduced his two models, the crime control model and the due process model, of criminal process in 1964 to understand the administration of criminal justice. Packer’s conceptualization of these models of criminal process has been regarded as one of the most important contributions in the administration of criminal law. It has been argued that the academic fascination of these models has not only influenced the thinking on the idea of criminal justice system but also yielded an amazing thread of scholarship involving a variety of academic disciplines, linking various topics, offering interesting insights on many criminal justice institutions and phenomena, and spanning more than four decades. These models represent and highlight the very conflict / contradiction between the two competing value systems that generally operate within the process of criminal justice. In this regard, Packer notes that these “two models of the criminal process let us perceive the normative antinomy at the heart of criminal law that represent an attempt to abstract two separate values systems that compete for priority in the operation of the criminal process .“(Packer, 1964) In order to attempt the above questions, I think it is important first to define briefly the concepts of Crime Control Model, Due Process Model, Adversarial system and Inquisitorial system.
Crime Control Model
According to this model the most important function of a criminal process is the ‘repression of criminal conduct’ and maintaining the law and order in the society. (Parker, 1964) It is argued that in a society where the laws go unenforced and the criminals go free, social freedom of the individuals of such society with regard to the security of their persons and property is highly diminished. Thus, in order to protect the social freedom of the members of such society, the criminal process must be efficient in screening suspects, determining guilt and convicting high proportion of offenders guilty of crimes. The Crime Control model sees the efficient, expeditious and reliable screening and disposition of persons suspected of crime as the central value to be served by the criminal process. However, it has been further argued that in order to achieve such efficient and speedy disposal of high proportion of cases within limited resources, it is important that huge emphasis be paid on the informal extra-judicial phases of a criminal process like the police interrogation and investigation. In this respect, it has been argued that the fact finding can be done more quickly through interrogation in a police station than through the formal process of examination and cross-examination in a court. Hence, the criminal process must not be hindered by the ‘ceremonious rituals’ involved in the judicial processes that halts the progress of the case. (Packer, 1964) Thus, the crime control model places great emphasis on the early stages of the criminal process i.e. police investigation and prosecutorial discretion in charging, as “gatekeepers” of the courts. Moreover, the crime control model, requiring efficiency in criminal process, also supports increasing police and prosecutorial power, freedom, and authority necessary to find out the truth. Furthermore, another essential element of the crime control model is that a criminal trial must proceed with the presumption of guilt. The proponents of this model argue that since the ‘probable innocence’ or the ‘probable guilt’ of the suspects has already been determined in the earlier administrative fact finding process, hence, the prescreened cases should be processed on the “fast track,” through guilty pleas and plea bargains. Thus, it has been argued that it is the presumption of guilt which makes it possible for the system to deal efficiently with large numbers. (Packer, 1964)…...

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