The Long Running Conflict Between the Crime Control Model and the Due Process Model Goes Postal

H. James McGaha, Cleveland Capital University

Historically two major contrasting paradigms, The Crime Control Model, and The Due Process Model, have competed for dominance in America's arena of social control, i.e. crime and delinquency. With some notable exceptions Crime Control ruled until emergence of the Warren Revolution at mid-20th century. By 1980 the succeeding Burger Court was busily shifting from the Due Process Model to Crime Control as part of what has been termed the "Get-Tough Movement" with its robust emphasis on harsh penalties, especially lengthy prison terms for an increasing number of offenses, and a mushrooming use of the Death Penalty after 1976. Over the most recent decade and a half and particularly since the 1994 legislative, executive and judicial acts have propelled the Crime Control to historical highs, arguably even beyond the Constitutional frame of the Bill of Rights, Due Process, and the concept of a government of limited powers. This has been especially true in the area of societal response to crime, delinquency, and the emerging arena of terrorism. Recent developments suggest crime control has moved to a level of reactionary proportion which threatens the entire frame of America's Constitutional - individual civil and constitutional rights and Due Process structure.

The Crime Control and Due Process emphasis are compared across time in U.S. social control fo crime and delinquency. Areas of significant impact on individual, crime and delinquency and terroris, and society are examined. Policy implications for social control in democratic society with limited government and Constitutional and civil rights for individuals are considered in illumination of recent trends.

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Updated 05/20/2006