This article seeks an answer to the question of why there is relatively little, and no clearly predominant, criminal justice theory. The answer offered focuses on the apparent randomness of criminal justice operations. A structural-contextual theory of criminal justice is outlined, beginning with the orienting premise that the normal mode for North American, and perhaps most Western democratic systems of criminal justice, is a loosely coupled form of organization. However, atypical political environments often mandate departures from normal criminal justice operations. The thesis of the article is that neglected connections between the imposition of political power and organizational forms in the criminal justice system hold a key to understanding the operations of this system, in typical as well as atypical situations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology