Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in Criminal Justice, 1950-1990

Hardcover | December 1, 1990

bySamuel Walker

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It is a truism that the administration of criminal justice consists of a series of discretionary decisions by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials. Taming the System is a history of the forty-year effort to control the discretion. It examines the discretion problem from theinitial "discovery" of the phenomenon by the American Bar Foundation in the 1950s through to the most recent evaluation research on reform measures. Of enormous value to scholars, reformers, and criminal justice professionals, this book approaches the discretion problem through a detailedexamination of four decision points: policing, bail setting, plea bargaining, and sentencing. In a field which largely produces short-ranged "evaluation research," this study, in taking a wider approach, distinguishes between the role of administrative bodies (the police) and evaluates thelonger-term trends and the successful reforms in criminal justice history.

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From Our Editors

It is a truism that the administration of criminal justice consists of a series of discretionary decisions by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials. Analyzing the origins, nature, and impact of various efforts to control discretion, Taming the System is the first comprehensive history of the reform attempts in the past forty...

From the Publisher

It is a truism that the administration of criminal justice consists of a series of discretionary decisions by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials. Taming the System is a history of the forty-year effort to control the discretion. It examines the discretion problem from theinitial "discovery" of the phenomenon by the Ameri...

Samuel Walker is at University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 5.83 × 8.54 × 0.87 inPublished:December 1, 1990Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195078209

ISBN - 13:9780195078206

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From Our Editors

It is a truism that the administration of criminal justice consists of a series of discretionary decisions by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials. Analyzing the origins, nature, and impact of various efforts to control discretion, Taming the System is the first comprehensive history of the reform attempts in the past forty years. Of enormous value to scholars, reformers, and criminal justice professionals, Walker's book approaches the discretion problem through a detailed examination of four decision points: policing, bail setting, plea bargaining, and sentencing. In a field which largely produces short-ranged "evaluation research", this study, in taking a wider historical approach, distinguishes between the roles of administrative bodies (the police) and evaluates the longer-term trends and the successful reforms in criminal justice history. Serving as an "interim report" on what does and does not work in the system, Taming the System concludes that not only has the effort to control discretion been a unifying theme in criminal justice history, but t

Editorial Reviews

"With such titles as Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice (1980) and In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990), Samuel Walker secured his status as a major voice in criminal justice history. Taming the System buttresses his reputation by demonstratingonce again his considerable strengths: mastery of the topic, clear and effective prose, well-crafted arguments, [and] sound conclusions."--The Journal of American History