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Crime Control Model (Definition: What It Is And How It Works)

What is Crime Control Model?

What is the main purpose of crime control theory?

How is it different from the due process model?

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal theory knowledge!

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What Is The Crime Control Model

The “crime control model” is a criminal justice theory where it is argued that the government can help reduce crime by increasing police powers and prosecutor powers.

In other words, under the crime control model of criminal justice, the government should increase police powers, police surveillance, and ability to intervene to prevent crime.

Similarly, once a person is apprehended, the prosecutors should have more power and abilities to prosecute criminals and those who violate the law.

It was in 1964 that Herbert Packer, a Stanford Law School professor, came up with the crime control and due process legal theories in the criminal justice system.

A legal system emphasizing crime control through increased government power and intervention may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Standardized approach in dealing with defendants
  • Expeditious processing and handling of criminal cases though the criminal court system
  • Standard and uniform punishment for the crime committed 
  • Government policies focus arrest and punishment 
  • The objective is to deter and repress criminal conduct 

You can consider that a person getting arrested in a legal system with high government power is implicitly guilty until proven innocent.

The crime control model can be contrasted with the due process model where the main focus is on individual rights and liberties and where the government policies focus on educating against criminal conduct and rehabilitating criminals.

Crime Control Model Definition

According to the U.S. Department of Justice in its article “Crime Control – A Theoretical View (From Essays on the Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice”, the crime control model is defined as follows:

The crime-control model emphasizes the standardized, expeditious processing of defendants through the court system and the uniform punishment of offenders according to the severity of their crimes. 

Crime Control Model vs Due Process Model 

In criminal justice theory, the foundation of a crime control model to increase the power of law enforcement and the government or state’s prosecutorial powers as a means to reduce crime in society.

On the other hand, the “due process model” is a criminal justice theory where it is argued that the government can reduce crime in society by limiting governmental powers and ensuring that the individual rights and freedoms are respected.

You can look at the difference between the crime control model vs due process from another angle:

  • The model of crime control focuses on government and its powers
  • The model of due process focuses on the individual and individual liberties

Let’s look at the characteristics of the crime control model and due process model to better see the nuances and differences.

The Crime Control Model has the following characteristics:

  • Repression of crime as the society needs order
  • Focus on vindiating victims’ rights as opposed to protecting defendants’ rights
  • Increased policy powers to facilitate investigation, arrest, search, seizure, and conviction 
  • Law enforcement should have to deal with less legal technicalities 
  • Criminal cases should be processed quickly and in a standard fashion like an assembly-line conveyor belt 
  • The accused is implicitly found guilty if arrested and charged 
  • A criminal’s guilt is based on the factual evidence that crime was committed 

Due Process Model has the following characteristics:

  • Criminals and offenders should be given due process in criminal cases 
  • Criminals should be handled with fundamental fairness under the law 
  • Focus should be on the defendants’ rights as opposed the victims’ rights 
  • Police and prosecution powers should be limited to avoid the oppression of the people 
  • Constitutional rights must be observed at all times 
  • There must be procedural safeguards within the criminal justice system to avoid convicting or punishing the innocent 
  • Crime must not be punishes strictly on factual evidence 

Crime Control Model Examples

Let’s look at some examples of how the crime control model works in practice.

Let’s take an example of a crime that has been committed openly.

For instance, imagine that a bank robber enters a bank, robs the bank, and kills a few people.

This offender was unmasked and was caught on camera committing the crime.

Under the theory of crime control, when police arrest the offender, they can expect the offender to be quickly found guilty and sent to jail.

The laws would not focus on ensuring that the police thoroughly investigate the matter, obtain evidence in a lawful manner, or ensure that proper investigations are performed.

In this case, the person was caught on camera, the identity of the person was clear, and the right thing to do is to send the person to jail quickly.

Any criminal rules of procedure, rules preventing the admissibility of evidence, or giving the person a fair trial would actually be seen as obstruction to the state’s ability to repress and deter crime and criminal conduct.

On the other hand, in the context of a due process model, even though the crime was caught on tape, the police will still need to ensure that evidence is lawfully obtained, the individual is given the right to have a fair trial where the focus of the judge is to evaluate all of the facts rather than the expeditious processing of the matter.

The Crime Control Model Takeaways 

So, what is crime control model?

What is the definition of this criminal justice theory?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Define Crime Control Model

  • The “crime control model” was developed by the Stanford Law School professor Herbert Packer in 1964
  • Under this theory, considered a conservative approach in dealing with crime in society, the government’s main objective is to protect society from criminals by regulating individual conduct and the criminal justice system
  • The objective is on a standardized and expeditious processing of criminals through the courts for the imposition of the required punishments 
  • Police, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors have more power in handling crime and dealing with criminals 
  • Under the due process model, considered a liberal approach in dealing with crime, the laws and criminal justice system focuses on individual rights to ensure a person is punished only when it is truly deserved 
Bill of Rights 
Community treatment center
Crime against person 
Crime against property 
Criminal justice
Criminal rules of procedure
Diagnostic parole 
Due process model 
Halfway houses
Parole clinics 
US Constitution 
Work release program
Criminal court
Criminal lawyer
Grand jury
Innocent until proven guilty 
Jail vs prison 
Jury duty 
Legal defender 
Misdemeanor vs felony
Probation vs parole

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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