Criminal Justice 100

CRJU 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Credit Hours: (3)


Survey of the American criminal justice system and processes, crime, criminal law, law enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, corrections, juvenile justice, and performance evaluations.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course is an introduction to the components and structure of the American system of criminal justice. There are three basic parts to the criminal justice system--law enforcement, courts, and corrections--each will be explored in some depth. The course also explores some background issues, such as the impact that crime has upon society and constitutional issues in criminal law. The course intends to familiarize the student with basic terms and issues in the discipline of criminal justice.  The course also covers the basic principles of academic research including proper citation requirements, avoiding plagiarism and selecting appropriate sources of research.

• Introduction and Overview

    1. What is crime?

    2. What is criminal justice?

    3. Ways of measuring crime.

    4. Causes of crime.

    5. Criminal law: its historical development; its application; and, the Constitution.

    6. The formal v. informal criminal justice process.

• Law Enforcement

    1. Historical development of the police.

    2. Types of law enforcement agencies.

    3. The process of investigation and arrest.

    4. Constitutional issues.

    5. Issues in police administration.

• Courts

    1. Historical development of the courts and criminal procedure.

    2. Types of courts and respective jurisdictions.

    3. Actors in the court process.

    4. The pretrial process.

    5. The formal process of adjudication and sentencing.


    1. The philosophy of punishment.

    2. Historical development of corrections.

    3. Types of corrections.

    4. Capital punishment.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

An informal approach which emphasizes knowledge acquisition, class interaction, and illustration with current issues will be used.


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course

The student will be able to:

a. identify the basic components of the system

b. understand how those components work together to form the criminal justice process

c. identify critical constitutional issues in the operation of the system

d. understand the nature of crime statistics, their origin and use

e. develop an understanding of the function of a criminal justice system in a democratic society

f. become citizens who are critically aware of the power and necessity of a criminal justice process.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include in-class exams, a final examination, pop quizzes, homework assignments, classroom participation and class preparation.


Other Course Information

The instructor may use audio-visual materials to illustrate certain topics.


Review and Approval

September 2001 Reviewed by Dr. Isaac Van Patten, Department Chair

Revised: June 1, 2012