Document Type



This Article outlines an administrative model of criminal justice that provides a conceptual framework and empirical justification for transforming our criminal legal system from a backward-looking, adjudicative model grounded in principles of retribution toward a forward-looking model grounded in consequentialist principles of justice aimed at crime prevention and recidivism reduction. The Article reviews the historical roots and justifications for our current system, along with recent advances in the behavioral, social, and biological sciences that inform why and how the system fuels injustice. The concept of social ecology is introduced as an organizing framework for: (1) understanding why individuals do or do not obey the law, (2) identifying and evaluating what works in preventing crime and reducing recidivism, and (3) informing how the criminal law can be transformed into an integrated system of administrative justice that spans juvenile and adult criminal legal systems. Finally, the Article provides a preliminary outline of the paradoxical promise of plea bargaining as a potential cornerstone of comprehensive systemic transformation.