Criminal Justice 610

CRJU 610: Historical Perspectives on Criminal Justice

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing

Credit Hours: (3)

Traces the development of ideas about and institutions within the criminal justice system, focusing especially on the United States and its roots in the western tradition. Students will study some of the major works in the criminal justice field.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

I. Introduction

            a. Why study the history of criminal justice?

II. Roots of the American system

            a. Crime and justice in the ancient world
            b. The Judeo-Christian tradition
            c. Development of the common law
            d. Enlightenment ideas of crime and justice

III. Criminal Justice in the colonial period

            a. Shape and nature of the law
            b. Religion and criminal justice

IV. The Nineteenth Century

            a. Crime and disorder: the impact of urbanization and industrialization
            b. Law enforcement: new strategies and problems
            c. Courts and the legal culture of the nineteenth century
            d. Corrections: the penitentiary, the asylum, the reformatory
            e. Juvenile Justice: emergence of the system

V. Criminal Justice in the twentieth century

            a. Development of a national system
            b. Evolution of law enforcement
            c. The modern criminal trial: how it has changed
            d. New directions in corrections?
            e. Unresolved issues: race and gender


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be carried on largely in a discussion format. Students will participate actively by preparing reports, leading discussions, doing critiques, and book reviews.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the graduate student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of the American criminal justice system.
2. Demonstrate familiarity with some of the "classical" works in the history of criminal justice.
3. Produce an appropriate research project dealing with a criminal justice from an historical perspective.
4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate orally by participating in class discussion and doing several class presentations.


Assessment Measures

Students will write several essays or critiques related to "classical" works in criminal justice. Each will do a 15-20 page research paper, present the paper in class, and do critiques of other students' papers.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

March 1999