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Characteristics and Aims of the Criminal Justice System

According to a studies done by a researcher Herbert packer from Stanford University, there are two prime models that represent two systems that compete for the right values that ought to be considered within a criminal justice system. These are the due process model and the crime control model both of which help to reduce the tension caused by conflict and disharmony that exists in the modern criminal justice system (Clarke, 1993).

Crime control model

This according to the research is a recommended model because it asserts that, criminal justice system should mainly focus on repressing crime in order to promote order which is a required condition, for any given society to be regarded as free. According to this model, criminal justice system should capitalize on vindicating the rights of the victims instead of concentrating on how to protect the rights of the defendants. It encourages expansion of the police powers in order to make it less difficult for the police in their investigation, arresting of criminals, searching for stolen and illegal goods as well as seizure. Research has shown that, there are legal technicalities that limit the police from exercising their duties and should therefore be removed in the criminal justice system. Criminal justice systems should adapt processes that resemble a conveyor belt in order to ensure that, cases are resolved swiftly to reach their disposition the earliest possible. The model suggest that, if an arrest has been made by police and criminal charges have been filed by prosecutor, the person accused ought to be presumed guilty because both the prosecutor and the police are highly reliable in their fact-finding. The model also proceeds to suggest that, discovering truth should be the main aim in criminal justice system in order to enhance the establishment of factual guilt of the person accused (Davies, 2005).

Due process model

(Kessler, 1981) suggested that, the model provides a counter proposal to crime control model because it argues that, the major role of the criminal justice system is to deliver due process under the law so as to ensure provision of fundamental fairness for all those who are prosecuted. According to this model, criminal justice system needs to capitalize on the defendant’s rights rather than the rights of the victim. This is so because according to the bill of rights, protection of the rights of the defendants is what is expressively provided. There should be a limitation for the powers of police to reduce instances where police oppress the suspected or proved criminal beyond standards offered by the law. The model observes that, constitutional rights are not supposed to be taken just as mere technicalities. Instead, the authorities in the criminal justice system ought to be accountable to procedures and rules as well as ensuring proper guidelines are followed. This brings fairness in the system to ensure that, the process of criminal justice is always consistent. According to this model, the processes in the criminal justice system should resemble an obstacle course made of several impediments to provide procedural safeguards. These are meant to protect those who are innocent from convicting those who are factually guilty. This model demands the government to solely rely on facts in holding an individual guilty. This means that, an individual should only be considered guilty if the government has followed all the legal procedures in the process of fact-finding.

Evaluation of the above two models

According to (Marshall, 1996 p. 87), “A value judgment is required t be made in order for one to be able to declare any of this model as preferred to the other. This is because; according to the crime control model, conservative values are reflected in contrast to the liberal values that are being reflected by the due process model”. In choosing the right model that should be used at a specific time to shape processes for the criminal justice system, a close analysis requires to be made regarding the political climate in the country.

Aims of the criminal justice systems

According to the above two models, criminal justice system should purpose to provide justice for all. The guilty should be convicted and given the right punishment that may help them improve their behaviors in order not to offend again and at the same time protect all those who are innocent. It is the responsibility of the justice system to detect crime and forward it to the justice where court orders are carried out. These include collecting fines, supervision of community along with custodial punishment according to the standards of the law (Young, 1999).

Among the goals of the criminal justice system are to enhance effectiveness and improve efficiency of the system in arriving at justice for all offences. Justice systems should also promote confidence among members of the public regarding fairness of the system. The level of satisfaction of the victim should always be high when relating with police and the same should apply for the witnesses regarding their satisfaction with the justice system. The system should ensure that, good ethnicity data is consistently collected and properly analyzed for effective race disproportion to be effectively addressed in the system. The system should also focus on enhancing recovery progress for the criminal asset and the target is to recover $250 million worth of assets that were gotten through crime by 2010 (Marshall, 1996 p. 87).

Teamwork in combating crime and delivering of justice

According to the strategic plan by the criminal justice for 2008-2011, the focus is on the agencies of justice systems in Wales and England to work closely in delivering justice system. This should be through effectively bringing serious offences to justice and also ensure high confidence among the members of public. The importance of highly regarding the needs of the convicts is being addressed through promoting simple but efficient processes (Young, 1999).

Analysis of the models of criminal justice through research and studies indicate that, in the United Kingdom, there is no criminal system that can be termed as true because very few criminal justice systems share a lot of information. This leads to conflict in the criminal justice systems because at one time, police may be working hard to concentrate criminals into prison against the wish of the prison officials. The officials would be against overcrowding in the prison because of the limited facilities. They therefore prefer releasing some criminals and putting them into other programs that are community based. The findings of this research therefore advocate for the use of the models for the criminal justice system, as they greatly help to understand the aims and characteristics of the criminal justice systems in the United Kingdom. This is to ensure justice is exercised for both the victim and the defendant as well as helping the criminal through rehabilitation not to offend again (Clarke, 1993).


  1. Clarke B. (1993): Conflict termination: A rational model: Elsevier pp. 67-69
  2. Davies M. (2005): Criminal justice: an introduction to the criminal justice system in England and Wales: Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd pp. 54-58
  3. Kessler R. (1981): Linear panel analysis: Models of quantitative change: Academic Press pp. 43-46
  4. Marshall T. (1996): The evolution of restorative justice in Britain: Springer pp. 87-89
  5. Young J. (1999): Parricides Characteristics of offenders and victims, legal factors, and treatment issues: Elsevier pp. 23-25

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