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Crime Control Versus Due Process Essay

1661 words - 7 pages

The American judicial system's need for an effective strategy to combat crime has been a continuously debated issue. While employing the adversarial models of crime control and due process, America struggles to find balance on a pendulum between individual rights and social order. In this window of opportunity, crime control and due process are examined and reflected into the eyes of society.The primary goals of the American Criminal Justice system are simply to enforce the law and maintain social order, while protecting the people from injustice. Created by Herbert Packer in the 1960s, the crime control model places emphasis and priority upon the aggressive arrest, prosecution, and conviction of criminals. The due process model focuses on the rights of the accused (Roberson, 2003,p13).Twentieth century America experienced an explosion of individual rights beginning with the sixties' civil rights era and continuing even today. Due process advocates argue that the purpose of any civilized society is to secure rights and freedoms for each of its citizens-including the criminally accused (Schmallenger, 2003, p.18). The nature of individual rights is to ensure each individual receives protection as stated by the Bill of Rights. As the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights must be enforced. Without these rights, Americans might be reduced to governmental automatons, and forced back into the dark ages of segregation. Persons, not yet convicted of crimes, should retain their rights. After all, we are an "innocent until proven guilty" society.The criminal rights perspective holds that it is probably necessary to allow some guilty people to go free in order not to convict the innocent (Schmallenger, 2003, p.18). This writer disagrees with this statement. The justice system, while not perfect, holds the difficult, if not somewhat impossible, task of separating the guilty from the innocent. Unfortunately, real criminals sometime escape prosecution, while innocent victims are imprisoned. Society is infatuated with crime, its victims, and criminals.Due process advocates believe that it is most important to value individual rights within the criminal justice system. They believe that under no circumstances should the criminal justice system violate an individual's civil rights (Schmallenger, 2003, p.18). Supporting the rights of convicted felons to the full measure of the free, is inconceivable. Criminals should loose many of their frivolous freedoms allowed behind cell walls. Conjugal visits, television, and computers should be rewarded for good behavior, not for being human.Individual rights advocates also contend that the basis of American values and culture are found in our individual rights (Pursuit of Happiness, 2002). In other words, if we begin to erode our rights in favor of collective rights, we will undermine the structure of America. In fact, this group contends that the cultural values of a country are reflected by the manner in which we...

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