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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

DOI (Published version): 10.1525/nclr.2008.11.2.257

Abstract

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...

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Published in: New Criminal Law Review
Published: 2008
Online Access: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nclr.2008.11.2.257
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa12297
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Abstract: 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
Keywords: Criminal justice policy, Packer, crime control, due process
College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law
Issue: 2
Start Page: 257
End Page: 311