Criminal Justice 345

CRJU 345: Historical Perspectives on Criminal Justice

Prerequisite: CRJU 100  

Credit Hours: (3)

The course provides both an overview of the historical ideas about criminal justice in the western tradition and of the development of the criminal justice system in the United States in the context of social and political history.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

1) Justice in the Ancient World

  • The Judeo-Christian Tradition

2) Developments in the Western Tradition

  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • The Common Law
  • Social Contract Theories

3) Criminal Justice in Early America

  • The Colonial Experience
  • The New Nation and Criminal Justice Reform
  • The Enlightenment Influence
  • The American Revolution

4) Building a Criminal Justice System, 1815-1900

  • Disorder and Control
  • The development of Police, Prisons, and Juvenile Justice
  • The New Penology
  • Crime and Politics in the 19th Century

5) Reforming the System, 1900-the present

  • Progressivism and Criminal Justice
  • Crime Control Decades, 1919-1940
  • Conflicting Trends in Criminal Justice, 1940-1960
  • Crises of Crime and Justice, 1960-present


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will involve lectures, extensive writing by the students, small and large group discussions, the use of audio-visual materials, and the production of a short (4-5 page) research paper.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, students will be able to:


1) Understand how concepts and practices of justice have evolved in the western tradition and in the United States.
2) Place current issues and problems in criminal justice in their historical perspective.
3) Demonstrate an understanding of the roots of racial, class and gender issues as they relate to the criminal justice system.
4) Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of the rights of the criminally accused.
5) Demonstrate adequate written communication skills through intensive writing activities and a research paper.
6) Show evidence of qualitative research skills through the production of a satisfactory short paper.


Assessment Measures

Students' work will be evaluated on several bases, including but not limited to essay exams, in- class writing, research papers, and presentations.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Date Action Approved by
July 2005, Reviewed by Dr. Isaac Van Patten, Department Chair