Honesty versus Justice and Due Process versus Crime Control

             Honesty versus Justice and Due Process versus Crime Control

                                                  Pretangia  Mims


This paper focuses on the differences between honesty and justice as well as due process and crime control.  Honesty or morality involves speaking the truth as well as having others trust in you. Justice, due process, and crime control all share the same goal of deterring crime, but some of their methods may not be seen as honest. Justice is made of different components.  They include: disruptive, corrective, and commutative justice.    Crime control and due process differ in the fact that it places limitations on laws and legal proceedings.

                        Honesty vs. Justice and Due Process vs. Crime Control

            The words honesty and justice are commonly used in our every day lives. We speak about it to our children, to our parents, and constantly hear about it on the news. Honesty is word that describes many things, and amongst those things it describes an individual’s or an organization’s character. The word Honesty, by its virtue, describes an individual or an entity that doesn’t lie, cheat, steal, or abuse to get ahead for personal or professional gain. When someone is honest, it is understood that they have high morals and ethics, and they will stand for righteousness. Justice is another word that we hear thrown around in our daily lives. My definition of justice is righteousness, morally correct, just, and fair. Justice is the entity that we depend on as a country and a community, to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, legal and illegal. We depend on justice to keep us safe from evil and allow us to live our lives in harmony and peace, without chaos.  Crime control and due process are two different ideal types of criminal justice. One could say they are extremes on a continuum. The role of crime control is to get the criminal off the street and to protect the innocent.  Due process on the other hand, was put into place to protect the accused.

            Honesty and justice have always gone hand in hand.  Honesty consists of

speaking the truth and creating trust in minds of others as well as the standards of rightness and goodness by which we judge human behavior, such as fairness, non-malevolence, tolerance, and truthfulness (Pollock).  Another word that could be used to describe honesty would be morality.  Justice is suppose to embody all of the above, but it seems to me that our justice has deviated from that.  Justice is described as the demand for order or wanting everything in its proper place or relation and is composed of three different concepts: fairness, equality, impartiality, and appropriate rewards and punishments.   Justice should not be confused with “good.” Some actions may be considered good but not necessarily just (Pollock 2007).  Since just embodies morality and honesty, is honesty just?  Aristotle believed that justice exists in the law and that the law is “the unwritten custom of all or the majority of men which draws a distinction between what is honorable and what is base” (Pollock 2007).  Justice today is separated into three components: distributive, corrective, and commutative justice.  Distributive justice deals with  allocation of the goods and burdens of society to its respective members.  It is the component of justice concerned with the allocation of the goods and burdens of society due process.  Corrective justice is concerned with dispensing punishment.  The two components of corrective justice are substantive justice (involves the concept of just deserts, or how one determines a fair punishment for a particular offense) and procedural justice (concerns the steps we must take before administering punishment).  Commutative justice is associated with transactions and interchanges where one person feels unfairly treated resulting a process of determining a fair resolution.  While justice and honesty both claim to stand for fairness and impartiality, some of the methods used to attain justice are not always fair and just.

            Crime control and due process are two different ideal types of criminal justice. One could say they are extremes on a continuum. The role of crime control is to get the criminal off the street and to protect the innocent. The due process model of criminal justice is more complicated due to the fact that one must keep going through legal obstacles to ensure in the end you convict the right person.

In due process if the police obtain evidence and violate the law or a persons charter of rights and freedoms the judge will exclude the evidence from the hearing, even if it would help or prove that the person is guilty. The common goal of both models of criminal justice is to convict the guilty and set the innocent free. Crime control and due process share four common values which are:

            1. crime should only be defined by law

            2. crime should lead to some form of legal intervention

            3. criminal justice system power should be legally limited

            4.  criminal justice system should be adversarial

While both due process and crime control share a lot of similarities and share the same goal of protecting the innocent while punishing the guilty and keeping the streets free of crime while protecting citizens, due process sometimes interferes with the ability to control crime.  This is due to the fact that due process places limitations on laws and legal proceedings, which in return, makes it difficult for the judge or jury to produce a fair and just decision in a timely manner.

Justice, due process, and crime control all have the same goal in mind, which is to deter crime, lower crime rates, punish the guilty, and protect the innocent.  Though some methods used to achieve these goals my not be honest in the traditional sense, they embody morality, and fairness.  Justice, due process, honesty, and crime control are vital components within our society.  Each serve a purpose within our criminal justice system.  The provide social order within our society and living without one is sure to result in chaos.


Joycelyn M. Pollock (2007)

Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice, Fifth Edition

Chapter 4: The Origins and Concept of Justice. Wadsworth Publishing