Home > Free Essays > Law > Criminal Law > Historical Criminal Justice Theories
4 min
Cite this

Historical Criminal Justice Theories Essay

Critical analysis of the theories

It is possible to distinguish several criminal justice theories that are closely related to organizational management; for example, one can speak about the work of such people as Orlando Wilson, August Vollmer, Max Weber, and Mary Belle Harris. Their ideas can throw light on the way in which criminal justice system evolved with time passing. Moreover, the study of these theories can demonstrate some of the principles that govern the work of law-enforcement agencies. These are the main questions that should be examined more closely.

At first, it is possible to discuss the ideas advanced by August Vollmer. This theorist emphasized the importance of leadership. In his opinion, leadership was particularly important at the time a police officer had to oppose the decisions that contradicted legal rules or ethical principles. Moreover, this person focused on independent decision-making of police officers. Additionally, he focused on the organization of police work.

For example, he identified the procedures that should be involved in criminal investigations (Forst & Manning, 1999, p. 9). August Vollmer also recognized the importance of evaluation. In his opinion, the assessment has to be based on such indicators as clearance statistics and the number of arrests within a certain period (Forst & Manning, 1999, p. 9). Another peculiarity of his model was the increased emphasis on the staffing of police departments.

For example, he wanted to recruit people who were educated in college. It should be noted that this person attached much importance to the training of law-enforcement officers. In particular, he launched a criminal justice program that could help people better understand the peculiarities of police work.

Additionally, August Vollmer paid much attention to the allocation of financial resources and responsibilities. In his opinion, local departments should have an opportunity to introduce new practices. Finally, in his opinion, the employees of law-enforcement agencies had to report their activities consistently. These are the main details that can be distinguished.

Additionally, one can examine the theory developed by Orlando Wilson. He believed that leadership had been a key to fighting corruption in various police departments. This is why he focused on the independent initiatives of police officers. Orlando Wilson argued that the work of criminal justice could be made more effective, if the work of law-enforcement agencies had been organized properly.

In many cases, he stressed the need for improving record keeping in organizations (Brunsdale, 2010, p. 234). Moreover, in his view, the employees of law-enforcement agencies should not avoid taking decisions because this behavior usually impaired the work of criminal justice agencies. Apart from that, he focused on the assessment of performance. However, he paid attention to the study of quantitative indicators such as the rate of absenteeism or clearance statistics.

Apart from that, Orlando Wilson attached much importance to the educational background of police workers. For example, while recruiting candidates, he preferred candidates with a college degree. Orlando Wilson believed that police officers had to undergo standardized training (Brunsdale, 2010, p. 234). Moreover, they should continuously work on the development of their skills.

Additionally, he believed that it has been necessary for police departments to maintain records of their activities. In his opinion, a leader should allocate duties to their subordinates since this approach is critical for the efficiency of law-enforcement agencies. This requirement is necessary for conducting proper criminal investigations.

Moreover, it is important to discuss the ideas of Mary Belle Harris. This person is primarily known for her work in women’s prisons. To a great extent, she transformed the work of these institutions. In her daily practices, she laid stress on leadership which included such aspects as willingness to take steps that do not conform to the major trends, established in the community.

In particular, she was ready to take innovative decisions, even though such decisions could contradict the opinions of the majority (Banks, 2003, p. 149). For instance, she wanted female prisoners to be treated with respect (Banks, 2003, p. 149). In turn, she wanted to recruit the employees who could display empathy to inmates. This is one of the criteria according to which she evaluated their performance.

This is why she focused on such a process as staffing; in particular, she wanted to hire candidates who understood the goal of the criminal justice system. This is one of the aspects that can be distinguished. Furthermore, in her opinion, a person had to undergo specific training in order to work efficiently in women’s prisons (Banks, 2003, p. 149).

Moreover, Mary Belle Harris argued that every female inmate required individualized treatment. Therefore, leaders should efficiently allocate duties to their subordinates. Moreover, they should encourage workers to take independent decisions. Finally, she required employees to report the specific steps that they took in order to assist a prisoner. This requirement is critical for the accountability of the criminal justice system.

Finally, it is important to speak about the theory introduced by Max Weber who examined the functioning of bureaucracies and organizations. In his view, leadership in institutions should be based on the expertise and training of officials. Furthermore, these professionals should be able to identify procedures that facilitate the efficient work of institutions. In addition to that, a person should take decisions that are strictly related to his/her area of expertise.

Moreover, they need to evaluate the performance of workers according to objective criteria that can be understood by subordinates. Apart from that, the staffing processes should be based on the technical qualifications of a candidate. The organization should also provide opportunities for professional development. To some degree, this goal can be achieved with the help of training.

Although, Weber did not object to centralized decision-making, he also recognized the necessity for proper allocation of duties and responsibilities (Robbins & Judge, 2013). In some case, it is necessary to enable the managers of local departments to make an independent use of resources. In turn, every important step should be reported by the employees. These are the main aspects that should not be overlooked.

The name of the theorist Timeline
Max Weber 1864- 1920
Mary Belle Harris 1874–1957
August Vollmer 1876 -1955
Orlando Winfield Wilson 1900 – 1972


On the whole, this discussion indicates that various theorists have attempted to discover the methods of improving criminal justice system. Although, they emphasized the need for standardized training; yet, they also encouraged the independent initiatives of employees. Moreover, different researchers and practitioners paid attention to the development of procedures that could improve the efficiency of different procedures. Finally, they recognized the importance of proper reporting. These are the main details that can be singled out.

Reference List

Banks, C. (2003). Women in Prison: A Reference Handbook. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO.

Brunsdale, M. (2010). Icons of Mystery and Crime Detection: From Sleuths to Superheroes. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO.

Forst, B. & Manning, P. (1999). The Privatization of Policing: Two Views. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Robbins, S. P. & Judge, T. A. (2013). Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall.

This essay on Historical Criminal Justice Theories was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, March 24). Historical Criminal Justice Theories. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/historical-criminal-justice-theories/

Work Cited

"Historical Criminal Justice Theories." IvyPanda, 24 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/historical-criminal-justice-theories/.

1. IvyPanda. "Historical Criminal Justice Theories." March 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/historical-criminal-justice-theories/.


IvyPanda. "Historical Criminal Justice Theories." March 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/historical-criminal-justice-theories/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Historical Criminal Justice Theories." March 24, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/historical-criminal-justice-theories/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Historical Criminal Justice Theories'. 24 March.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!