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Due Process Model and Crime Control Model

The main role of the United States criminal justice system is to maintain law and order within the country and offering people justice. The law making agencies within the country and throughout the world have been enacting laws to provide security and social justice to the citizens throughout the years. Though there are the laws aimed at ensuring justice, equity and respect for the rights of all the citizens, there has always been a debate on how to deal with people who have broken the law or those who are suspected to have broken the law. The manner of handling the criminals and suspects has led to the appearance of two models that deal with the situation differently. A law professor, Herbert Packer, created the two models: the due process model and the criminal control model. The two models are differentiated by the ways of handling the criminals and suspects before, during and after conviction.


According to Lippman (2011), the crime control model focuses more on how to put criminals away, protecting the innocent and rehabilitating the offenders. The due process, on the other hand, focuses more on protecting the rights of the suspects and rehabilitation. The due process focuses on protecting the rights of all citizens whether innocent or guilty of any crimes. It is concerned in ensuring that the Bill of Rights is respected and guaranteed for all the citizens. The crime control method, on the other hand, is concerned more in controlling crime. The law enforcement agencies treat criminals as though they are already guilty (Walsh & Hemmens, 2008). They put emphasis on preventing them from involving in more criminal activities. The crime control model advocates for arresting, prosecuting and convicting the lawbreakers.

The main aim of the due process model is protecting the rights of the individuals. It is based on the fourth and eighth amendments of the United States Constitution. The amendments seek to protect the rights of the citizens through protecting them from illegal seizure and search. The amendments also guarantee speedy public and fair trial, unusual punishment and self-incrimination to every citizen. These constitutional rights are the main bases for the due process model. The proponents of this model advocate for these rights to be observed, while dealing with all citizens including criminal and suspects (Purpura, 1997).

The crime control model is designed to control and deter crimes at all cost. The model is therefore less concerned with the rights of the suspects and criminals (Packer, 1968). The proponents of this model believe that individual rights must pave way for the sake of public safety. They advocate that the rights of a criminal or a suspect though guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be used to expose masses to the unsafe environment and situations (Walsh & Hemmens, 2008). Those using the model therefore argue that at times, the rights of an individual can be withdrawn if it puts the lives of other people at risk. For example, even though the law safeguards an individual against an unlawful seizure, the rights can be withdrawn if the individual is suspected in possessing something that could harm the masses.

According to Packer (1968), the crime control proposes to handle the cases in courts in an “assembly line” manner and therefore eliminating “ceremonies rituals that do not advance the case”. The model proposes streamlined court systems and procedure to prevent cluttering of the court systems with very many trials. The crime control model therefore promotes for an efficient and effective legal system. The due process, on the other hand, advocates for the criminals to be given the rights to exercise all their legal rights before they can be declared as criminals. This right includes the rights for appeals that at times causes cluttering of the court systems (Walsh & Hemmens, 2008).

The law enforcing agencies are the main proponents of the criminal control model. They use it to control crime and prevent more harm. For instance, though the law guarantees individuals rights against unlawful search, the law enforcers in the United States have conducted unlawful searches on criminals and suspects over the years. In some occasions, the law enforcers have forced the criminals to have a strip search. The issue of strip searches is quite controversial, since human rights activists argue that the searches are inhuman and unlawful (Packer, 1968). The proponents of the crime control model argue that such searches cannot be avoided since safety of the other inmates depends on what is carried to jail. The proponents of the due process model argue that criminals should be subjected to the full process before denying them their rights. The proponents of this model include the human rights activists and court systems. Though the two models have the differences mentioned, they both “embrace constitutional values” (Purpura, 1997).


The choice of the model adopted by the society should be based on the ideologies of a specific society. The control model is seen to favor a society that has a moral conservative base, while the due process model favors a society with a more liberal base. A conservative nation will likely adapt the crime control model, while a liberal nation will be prone to using the due process model (Walsh & Hemmens, 2008). Some countries may have similar ideologies but different conceptions on justice. For example, the United States and Canada are perceived to have similar ideologies and backgrounds but each has a different view and values concerning the common law. The choice of the model depends much on the choice and ideologies of any particular society. However, the two models are used together in order to avoid conflicts between the proponents of the two.

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