Why is there so little criminal justice theory? neglected macro- and micro-level links between organization and power

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109 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-135
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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