The idea of criminal justice theory

  1. Duffee and Maguire introduce us to the idea of criminal justice theory, in contrast to criminological theory, as a way of understanding how the justice system and its various components operate. From your readings of their work, and the other readings for the course to date, what is the science of criminal justice? What are its central questions? In what ways do theories of criminal justice inform our understanding of the justice process? What are the limitations of theories of criminal justice? Choose either question 2 or question 3 (do not answer both) Question 2 Rational legalism and functional systems theories have at different points in history revolutionized aspects of the American criminal justice system. Compare and contrast the two theoretical frameworks. What are the key principles of each theory, and how do they differ? What assumptions do proponents of each perspective make about the criminal justice system and its actors? What are the implications of each perspective for efforts to “reform the criminal justice system.”

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