There have been debates for many years on how the American justice system operates. The core of these controversies has always been political in nature. Despite all these, the aim of the criminal justice system has always been to enforce the law while maintaining social order and to protect people from injustice. The two goals of the justice system have been summed into two models, the Crime Control Model and the Due Process Model, which will be discussed in this paper.
How the Judicial System Works
The Due Process Model versus Crime Control Model
The due process model works on the principle that arrested persons are innocent until proven guilty. The model advocates for the protection of people’s rights. The crime control model for enforcing the law on the other hand, base its argument on the fact that arrested persons are guilty until proven innocent (Perron, n.d).
Criminal Control Model
From the word go, the criminal control model appears negative. Its greatest undoing is the fact that it treats all suspects as guilty even before being proved so. In other words, this model supports the actions carried out by the police and prosecutors. It moves alleged criminals through all stages of the criminal justice system with the assumption that they are already guilty. There are limited appeals and plea-bargaining when one is subjected to this model because it demands high finality. Many people on the other hand, see the due process model as a way that is full of obstacles. It seeks to repress crime and also to avoid the assumption that the police are always correct in their investigations (Code of Criminal, n.d.).
The Due Process
The due process is more realistic in that it allows for some margin of error. It does not make automatic assumptions that alleged criminals are guilty until their cases are proven in a court. There is also very low finality meaning that defendants can appeal their cases. It avoids the possibility of prosecuting innocent individuals by demanding the prevention and elimination of possible mistakes. The due process also ensures that those in power do not use the judicial system to put innocent persons in prison (Code of Criminal, n.d.).
Which is better?
This is the main difference between these two models. Crime control model bases its argument on factual guilt which can be manipulated to suit an individual, but due process is based on legal guilt. Due process also makes sure that the defendant gets equal treatment because wrong convictions can be done because of errors, a view that the crime control model contradicts. This is because under the crime control model, an individual’s rights can be violated (Code of Criminal, n.d.).
When comparing these two models, I think the more realistic and unbiased model is the due process model. The Due process model puts the country and its people first. It reflects what Americans fought for and what the Declaration of Independence calls for. It is stated in the declaration of independence that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson & Fink, 2002, Para. 1).
The Crime Control Model acts like a dictator whose word is always final. There is no doubt that its proponents had good intentions at first, but in the long run, the model does not work out as intended. We have just seen that within this model, there is not innocent person until proven so; it puts the police and prosecutors in the right at all times. Justice in this model hangs on the impending violations of civil rights and the hard fought freedoms that Americans cherish.
Code of Criminal. (n.d.). Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Criminal Procedure (725 Ilcs 5/). Web.
Jefferson, T & Fink, S. (2002). The Declaration of Independence. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.
Perron, B. (n.d). The Crime Controls and Due Process Models. Defensive Investigator. Web.