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Constructing a Framework for Criminal Justice Research: Learning from Packer's Mistakes / Stuart Macdonald
New Criminal Law Review, Volume: 11, Issue: 2, Pages: 257 - 311
Swansea University Author: Stuart Macdonald
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DOI (Published version): 10.1525/nclr.2008.11.2.257
This article examines the framework which Herbert Packer devised for analyzing the criminal justice process. Warning against an indiscriminate use of the word "model"—something which Packer introduced, which critics of his work have perpetuated, and which today is commonplace in criminal j...
|Published in:||New Criminal Law Review|
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This article examines the framework which Herbert Packer devised for analyzing the criminal justice process. Warning against an indiscriminate use of the word "model"—something which Packer introduced, which critics of his work have perpetuated, and which today is commonplace in criminal justice research—it distinguishes three distinct tools which researchers might employ—strong ideal types, weak ideal types and non-ideal types—and underscores the importance of drawing a sharp distinction between empirical work and evaluative work. Exposing other fundamental flaws in Packer's framework, the article also abstracts two other general lessons for criminal justice research: (1) arguing that a one-dimensional framework like Packer's is insufficient, it advances the normative claim that a multidimensional framework is needed; and (2) it shows that Packer's simplistic approach to the analysis of values is ultimately inadequate. So as well as constructing a number of tools which may be used by criminal justice researchers, and offering examples of how they might be employed, the article establishes the general contours of a framework for criminal justice research
Criminal justice policy, Packer, crime control, due process
Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law