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Intro to Criminal Justice

A popular undergraduate course that one may take at the university level is “Intro to Criminal Justice.” Students may find that Intro to Criminal Justice will explore the historical development, current state, and future of the criminal justice system. The differences between civil, criminal, and social justice are presented along with the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the American criminal justice system.

The modern criminal justice system is explored in detail, including the following:Intro to Criminal Justice

  • Definition of law
  • What constitutes a crime
  • How society may respond to that act
  • Policing strategie
  • The correctional system

The American criminal justice system is comprised of three major institutions, all of which are explored and defined:

  1. Police
  2. Corrections
  3. Courts

Intro to Criminal Justice will also explore the theoretical foundations that comprise both research in criminology, but also the practical workings of the criminal justice system.

There are a number of different texts that may be presented in an Intro to Criminal Justice class, such as Gaines and Miller’s Criminal Justice in Action or Criminal Justice: Realities and Challenges by Ruth Masters. Information will be presented in different ways both in text and lecture, but the major core concepts, types of crime, causes of crimes, policing operations, and the court system will provide a basic overview of the American criminal justice system.

Idea on How to Outline a Criminal Justice Research Project

  1. Choose an issue in crime/criminology from one of the following areas:
    1. Woman Charged with Serious Violent Crimes
    2. Fraternities and Rape on Campus
    3. Russian Mafia
  2. Based on the issue in crime which you have chosen you will be provided with an article from a sociological or criminological journal on your topic.
  3. Relate your article to one of the following criminological theories that were covered in class and in your text:
    1. Feminist theories
    2. Classical and Rational Choice theories
    3. Biological theories
    4. Psychological theories
  4. Discuss the following topics as they relate to your article and the criminological theory that you have chosen:
    1. Basic Idea and Major Theorists
    2. View of Humans, Human Nature, and Human Behaviour
    3. View of Society and the Social Order
    4. The Role of Law, the Definition of Crime, and the Image of the Criminal
    5. Causal Logic
    6. Criminal Justice System Implications, including Criminal Justice Policy and Correctional Ideology and Techniques of Crime Control
  5. Conclude by providing an evaluation/criticism of the article that you have chosen.  The criticism can come from a different criminological theory than the one that you have chosen, which looks at your issue of crime in a different light.  For example, biological and psychological theories of crime are criticized by feminist theories for not taking into account the role of patriarchy in leading men to commit crimes against women.
  6. Your essay will require some description but the focus should be analytical. In other words, you are required to apply sociological theory to your issue in crime and offer critical evaluations of theory and research on the various crime issues. An analytical paper is one in which you attempt to make connections, explain, evaluate, illustrate, compare, contrast, criticize, and apply theory to the issues discussed.

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