Conflict/Crime Control Model vs The Consensus/Due Process Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Conflict/Crime Control Model vs. The Consensus/Due Process Model

Over the years, theorists have developed several theories to describe crime as a social phenomenon. Two of today's most popular theories are the conflict/crime control model and the consensus/due process model. Both theories attempt to explain the origins of crime, but they approach crime from two very different perspectives. The conflict/crime control model is focused on crime control and aims to enforce the law and maintain social order. In contrast, the consensus / due process model is worried about protecting individual rights. One of the difficulties with the American criminal justice system is that it has tried to accomplish both goals, despite the fact that many people not only feel that the goals of the two approaches are incompatible, but also that they are differently motivated. Furthermore, it is important to understand that no one is suggesting that either model captures the reality or even an ideal criminal justice system. Instead, "the two models merely afford a convenient way to talk about the operation of a process whose day-to-day functioning involves a constant series of minute adjustments between the competing demands of two value systems and who normative future likewise involves a series of resolutions of the tensions between competing claims" (Packer, 1968).

Law enforcement plays similar, but different, roles under each of these policies. In both policies, law enforcement is responsible for protecting the public and for apprehending criminals. Those in law enforcement are expected to enforce laws against those who break them, regardless of the theoretical approach taken. Furthermore, both policies believe that there are limits to what law enforcement can do in the process of investigating criminal behavior. There is a "general assumption that a degree of scrutiny and control must be exercised with respect to the activities of law enforcement officers, that the security and privacy of the individual may not be invaded at will" (Packer, 1968). In other words, neither policy advocates a police state. However, in the conflict/crime control model, law enforcement plays a much more adversarial role than it does in the due process model. In the conflict/crime control model, law enforcement's primary role is to bring criminal conduct under tight control and reduce criminal activity. " Proponents endorse an all out assault upon criminal activity…Such a strategy may include targeting high crime areas, increased patrols and traffic stops, profiling, undercover sting operations, wiretapping, surveillance, and aggressive raids and searches designed to break the back of criminal activity. Proponents argue that certain individual rights must be sacrificed for the common good" (Perron, Unk.). In the Due Process Model, the ideal role of law enforcement is to discover the truth, though the Due Process Model also emphasizes the low probability of discovering truth. However, at the law enforcement stage, the main differences in the two models may be the considered the zealousness of those engaged in apprehending criminals.

In the Crime Control Model, the job of the prosecutor is to convict the person who has been charged with a crime. This goal focuses on high numbers of solved and cleared crimes, including conviction rates. However, the efficiency that is the focus of the crime control model necessarily leads to some wrongful convictions, which is a risk that many are willing to take. The Due Process Model argues that the criminal justice system has to be concerned with the fundamental freedoms and individual rights of individual citizens. "The due process model demands a careful and informed consideration of the facts of each individual case. According to this model, law enforcement agents must recognize the rights of suspects during arrest, questioning, and handling. In addition, constitutional guarantees must be considered by judges and prosecutors during trials. The primary mission of the due process model is to protect innocent people from wrongful conviction" (Perron, Unk.).

What is very interesting is to see the different ways that the corrections process is viewed in each of these policies. Under the Crime Control Model, corrections is meant to punish and to prevent a criminal from re-offending. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the death penalty is frequently supported by those advocating a crime control approach. In contrast, the Due Process model examines other aspects of the corrections process, such as retribution and also rehabilitation. Because the Due Process approach considers each individual accused of a crime, it should come as no…

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