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CRM 1000 Introduction to Criminal Justice

Course Description

Introduces the criminal justice system and the various components. Includes crime trends, crime statistics, victimology, crime prevention, discretion and justice policy.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to

  • Discuss the various components for the criminal justice system and their functions
  • Define police discretion and the issues with recruiting, training, and retaining quality law enforcement personnel
  • Identify the courts and various levels of discretion with judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys and how they apply to intake, diversion, plea bargaining, and sentencing
  • Explain the aspects of corrections and community corrections
  • List the similarities and differences with probation and parole
  • Discuss the differences between jails and prisons and the similarities in inmate culture and life
  • Define recidivism and methods used to reduce it

Week 1

Lecture: Introduction
Lecture: Overview of Criminal Justice


  • Describe how the type of crime routinely presented by the media compares with crime routinely committed
  • Identify institutions of social control and explain what makes criminal justice an institution of social control
  • Summarize how the criminal justice system responds to crime
  • Point out the major differences between Packer’s crime control and due process models
  • Describe the costs of criminal justice in the United States and compare those costs among federal, state, and local governments
  • Explain how myths about crime and criminal justice affect the criminal justice system

Week 2

Lecture: Defining Crime


  • Distinguish between a social definition and a legal definition of crime, and summarize the problems with each
  • List the technical and ideal elements of a crime
  • Identify some of the legal defenses or legal excuses for criminal responsibility
  • Explain why crime and delinquency statistics are unreliable
  • Identify the two major sources of crime statistics in the United States
  • Describe the principal finding of the national crime victimization surveys
  • Summarize the general finding of self-report crime surveys
  • Identify the costs of crime
  • Describe the extent of fear of crime in the United States and the characteristics of people most likely to fear crime
  • List the characteristics of people who are the most likely and the least likely to be victims of crime

Week 3

Lecture: Foundations of Law Enforcement


  • Briefly describe the jurisdictional limitations of American law enforcement
  • Trace the English origins of American law enforcement
  • Discuss the early development of American law enforcement
  • Describe the major developments that have occurred in policing in America
  • Describe the structure of American law enforcement
  • Explain the relationship between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security
  • Discuss the development and growth of private security in the United States

Week 4

Lecture: Roles, Styles, and Functions of Law Enforcement


  • Identify characteristics of police work
  • Distinguish among James Q. Wilson’s three operational styles in policing
  • List the four major functions of police departments
  • List the drug enforcement strategies of local police agencies
  • Explain the main components of community policing
  • Identify the four steps in a community policing approach to problem solving
  • Define terrorism and identify different types of terrorism

Week 5

Lecture: Law Enforcement Recruiting and Retention


  • Identify the psychological qualities important to potential law enforcement officers
  • Explain the Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA) model and how it related to police recruiting and retention
  • Explain how Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) and Perceived Organization Support (POS) are important in law enforcement retention
  • Explain what a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) is and how it can help with law enforcement recruiting and retention

Week 6

Lecture: Issues and Ethics in Law Enforcement


  • Describe the general attitude of the public toward the police
  • Summarize the steps in an effective police officer selection process
  • Identify factors that affect the exercise of police discretion and methods of limiting discretion
  • Describe two general ways that law enforcement agencies can reduce stress on the job
  • Explain the circumstances under which police officers may be justified in using deadly force
  • List some of the ways to control and reduce police corruption

Week 7

Lecture: The Courts


  • Identify the type of court structure in the U.S. and describe its various components
  • Summarize the purposes of courts
  • Identify the most powerful actors in the administration of justice and explain what makes them so powerful
  • Summarize the types of attorneys available to a person charged with a crime
  • Describe the responsibilities of a judge
  • Describe the purposes of an initial appearance
  • Explain what bail is and describe the different methods of pretrial release
  • Define grand jury and explain its purposes
  • Describe the purposes of the arraignment and the plea options of defendants
  • Describe the interests served and not served by plea bargaining
  • List and define the stages in a criminal trial
  • Identify the general factors that influence a judge’s sentencing decisions
  • Describe how judges tailor sentences to fit the crime and the offender
  • Distinguish between indeterminate and determinate sentences
  • Explain the three basic types of determinate sentences
  • List five rationales or justifications for criminal punishment
  • Explain the purposes of presentence investigation reports
  • List the legal bases for appeal
  • Identify the type of crime for which death may be a punishment
  • Summarize the three major procedural reforms the U.S. Supreme Court approved for death penalty cases in the Gregg decision

Week 8

Lecture: Corrections


  • Summarize the purposes of confinement in Europe before it became a major way of punishing criminals
  • Describe how offenders were punished before the large-scale use of confinement
  • Explain why confinement began to be used as a major way of punishing offenders in Europe
  • Describe the recent trends in the use of incarceration in the United States
  • List some of the characteristics of the incarcerated population in the United States
  • Describe how incarceration facilities are structured, organized, and administered by the government in the United States
  • Name some of the common types of correctional facilities in the United States
  • Identify some of the procedures that institutions employ to maintain security and order
  • List the services and programs that are commonly available to inmates in prison
  • Distinguish between the deprivation and importation models of inmate society
  • Explain how today’s inmate society differs from those of the past
  • Identify some of the special features of life in women’s prisons
  • Describe the profile of correctional officers and explain some of the issues that they face
  • Identify prisoners’ rights and relate how they were achieved
  • List the two most common ways that inmates are released from prison and compare those two ways in frequency of use
  • Summarize what recidivism research reveals about the success of the prison in achieving deterrence and rehabilitation
  • Define community corrections and identify the goals and responsibilities of community corrections agencies and their staffs
  • Define probation and summarize the research findings on recidivism rates
  • Distinguish parole from probation
  • Explain the functions of a parole board
  • Describe how intermediate sanctions differ from traditional community corrections programs
  • Explain two major concerns about intensive-supervision probation (ISP) and parole
  • Explain what day reporting centers and structured fines are
  • Explain what home confinement and electronic monitoring are
  • Identify the goal of halfway houses and compare them with other community corrections programs
  • Summarize the purposes and outcomes of temporary-release programs

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2011