When the McDonaldization approach is used on criminal justice we see some positive notions. Sure we want the justice system to be efficient for obvious reasons. If it wasn’t efficient then how would we keep society from becoming chaotic? The criminal justice system needs to be calculable, based on the notion that what we do can be measured and experimented on, and thus resulting in an effort to improve or maintain normal functions. It’s important for criminal justice to be predictable, because in my opinion that’s a segway into deterrence. If you can predict that if you get caught you will go to jail, then there’s a less likely chance you will offend. Lastly, control is important because we want to do just that, control society, but by doing so, keeping it safe.
However many negatives can come out of these components, the most glaring being that because of the McDonaldization effect criminal justice is so focused on these four components it will rest at nothing to achieve the most out of each even if it means that justice itself takes a back seat. Regarding calculability, take for example the prison situation. Our outlook on the get tough on crime advocates throwing everybody in jail. This obviously leads to overcrowding and let’s be honest, there are some crimes that shouldn’t require jail time, but are receiving it. Take the example of selective observation for police work in the predictability component. Police predict that all cars that have rims and blast loud music are going to commit or are involved in crime. This may be true, but some other crime may be overlooked. The control component can be seen as faulty when you look at prisons being built. McDonald’s tricks people into paying larger amounts for larger portions of fries, i.e. supersize. Same is true with super-max prisons. A good portion of these offenders end up back in society but tax payers still pay the outrageous cost to institutionalize them in the fancy new multi-million dollar prisons.
Is McDonaldization really efficient? It does bring some positive aspects to the criminal justice system, but at the same time certain components of justice are overlooked. We have to find a happy medium of the most efficient way to carry out justice.