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The Machinery of Criminal Justice$
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Stephanos Bibas

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374681.001.0001

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The Long Drift from Morality Play to Machine

The Long Drift from Morality Play to Machine

(p.1) Chapter I The Long Drift from Morality Play to Machine
The Machinery of Criminal Justice

Stephanos Bibas

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the history of the shift from the popular ideal of criminal justice as a morality play to a speedy plea-bargaining machine, hidden and insulated from the public. Three major structural changes define this shift. First, while laymen used to investigate and control prosecution of crime, the professional criminal-justice bureaucracy has squeezed laymen out. Second, speedy, hidden plea bargaining has supplanted public trials and juries' common sense and moral judgment. Third, hidden imprisonment has displaced public punishment, keeping the public from seeing justice done.

Keywords:   criminal justice system, morality, legal history, laymen, criminal prosecution, plea bargaining, hidden imprisonment, public trials

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