Send More Info
Apply Now
Classroom Login
Call Now
Call Now 855-300-1469

CRM 3901 Comparative Criminal

Course Description

Examines justice systems from various geographic regions. Explores the impact of diverse policies and practices on culture, and human and civil rights. Broadens knowledge of the impact of the justice system on society.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Discuss the purpose of studying the justice systems of other nations and regions
  • Define key terms in comparative criminal justice
  • Distinguish norms and values particular to the criminal justice environment of the United States and discuss how they impact transnational and international justice issues
  • Evaluate case studies to identify international criminal justice issues
  • Distinguish between legal systems and legal traditions
  • Identify and distinguish today’s four legal traditions and the primary source of law in each
  • Classify the various types of police structures
  • Evaluate the problem of police corruption in different countries
  • Identify the various international law enforcement agencies and cooperatives
  • Recognize the similarities and differences of the court systems of various nations
  • Discuss capital punishment in terms of its use in the United States and other nations
  • Identify and discuss the four types of criminal sanctions
  • Discuss the concept of juvenile crime and punishment and how different cultures and systems approach the topic
  • Research, evaluate, and present a case study on an international criminal justice issue

Week 1

Lecture: Welcome and Introduction
Lecture: Transnational Crime


  • Distinguish international criminal justice from comparative criminal justice
  • Explain the difference between international and transnational crime
  • Analyze the international value of comparing systems and issues of criminal justice
  • Discuss globalization and its effects on crime and criminal justice
  • Explore how countries have adopted methods from others to change how they practice criminal justice
  • Identify professed values and underlying values
  • Compare political culture and politicized justice
  • Discuss why we should measure and compare crime statistics in other countries
  • Explain how crime statistics may be misinterpreted
  • Explore some reasons for the high rate of violent crime in the United States
  • Hypothesize the reasons for Japan and Saudi Arabia’s relatively low rates of crime
  • Describe the three major forms of crime statistics in the United States
  • Identify the primary sources of international crime statistics
  • Analyze the three major limitations of international crime statistics

Week 2

Lecture: Comparing Systems in Six Nations


  • Describe the history of the four major legal traditions
  • Examine distinguishing characteristics of each legal family of law
  • Discuss the development and sources of ancient legal systems
  • Understand the various types of laws
  • Analyze the impact of early civil law codes on developing and changing nations
  • Define the differences between civil law and socialist law
  • Explain the merits of Islamic law
  • Evaluate a nation’s justice system in terms of a hybrid tradition
  • Explain the development and content of criminal law in each model nation
  • Discuss the particular historical developments that may have had a major effect on the formation of criminal law and criminal justice administration in the model countries
  • Analyze contributing factors to the crime rates in each model country
  • Identify the distinct approach to criminal justice each model nation exemplifies
  • Understand the basic structures of the criminal justice systems in each model country
  • Compare the unique crime problems in each of the model countries

Week 3

Lecture: Comparative Criminal Procedure


  • Define the two functions of modern police forces – deviance control and civil order control
  • Describe the organization of police administration in each of the model nations
  • Understand how historical developments have influenced modern policing in the model countries
  • Examine potential abuses of power in the model nations’ police organizations
  • Explain why the Japanese system of policing might contribute to that country’s low crime rates
  • Discuss the components of effective community policing programs
  • Identify organizations formed as a result of international police cooperation
  • Explore the major differences in criminal procedure between the various families of law
  • Compare variations in criminal procedure among countries in the same family of law
  • Contrast criminal procedures in the model countries with the principles stated in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
  • Discuss why some rules of procedure would not be practiced in certain countries
  • Analyze the differences between adversarial systems and inquisitorial systems
  • Provide examples of how the adversarial and inquisitorial systems are converging
  • Identify the stages of the criminal process in the model countries

Week 4

Lecture: Lawyers, Judges, and the Legal Profession


  • Understand the roles of the four categories of legal professionals in developed societies
  • Compare the varying characteristics of legal education and training in the model nations
  • Describe the career paths of legal professionals in the model countries
  • Analyze the effects of history and culture on the status of legal professional in the model countries
  • Explore the differences in bureaucratically and politically oriented organizations
  • Distinguish between systems adhering to the hierarchical ideal and the coordinate ideal
  • Discuss key issues relating to specialization and stratification in the legal profession

Week 5

Lecture: Sentencing Practices


  • Distinguish between judicial independence and judicial impartiality
  • Identify the hierarchy and roles of the various courts of the model nations
  • Compare similarities and differences that occur in court structure and procedure in the model nations
  • Discuss the extent lay people are used in the court systems of the model nations
  • Explain the appeals process available in each of the model nations
  • Understand how international courts acquire their legal legitimacy
  • Analyze reasons for support and opposition to a permanent International Criminal Court
  • Discuss the purposes of criminal sanctions
  • Identify the purposes of criminal sanctions that are predominant in each of the model countries
  • Describe some of the less legitimate purposes of penal sanctions found in many societies
  • Explore the various types and benefits of non-custodial sanctions
  • Understand the weaknesses in international prison data
  • Discuss methods to improve the comparability of prison data
  • Explain the general trend in the use of the death penalty on the international level
  • Explore why the United States and Japan continue to use the death penalty when most industrialized nations have outlawed it
  • Analyze current public opinion with respect to crime, criminals, and punitive measures

Week 6

Lecture: Comparative Correctional Systems


  • Explain the purpose of corrections in each of the model countries
  • Describe the unique correctional practices in each of the model countries
  • Analyze the effects of prison crowding
  • Explore suggested solutions to prison crowding
  • Compare the arrangements in each model country to combat violations of prisoners’ rights
  • Evaluate racism as it applies to various countries and their correctional systems

Week 7

Lecture: Organized Crime and Terrorism


  • Define terrorism and the goals of terrorism
  • Identify terrorist groups currently active in the world
  • Describe terrorist activity occurring in each model nation
  • Explain the efforts made by each model nation to deal with terrorism
  • Explore approaches to dealing with terrorists and terrorism on an international level
  • Discuss areas of future threats of terrorism
  • Identify the characteristics of an organized crime group
  • Discuss the scope of organized crime and drug trafficking throughout the world
  • Explain the effect of political and technological developments of recent years on organized crime
  • Recognize the major organized crime syndicates and the activities of each
  • Describe the steps of money laundering
  • Understand the implications of the drug trade on foreign policy
  • Compare the effectiveness of the various responses to organized crime and drug trafficking

Week 8

Lecture: Comparative Juvenile Systems and Challenges
of the Future in Comparative Justice


  • Identify the international standards for juvenile justice
  • Discuss how young people are determined to be juveniles in various countries
  • Name and describe the key characteristics of the juvenile justice models practiced in various countries being studied
  • Debate the concept of holding parents accountable for misbehaving children
  • Explain the international emphasis on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment for juvenile offenders
  • Explain the dynamics of convergence, cultural persistence, and political and policy-making processes
  • Identify foreseeable crime issues in the model nations
  • Explore the scope of cybercrime as a global threat
  • Analyze the magnitude and consequences of corruption
  • Discuss the various forms of international smuggling

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. March 2012