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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 24-Apr-23

Introduction to Criminal Justice

Semester Dates: Last day to drop without a grade: 06-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-10-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


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Course Description

This course provides an overview of the American criminal justice system, tracing its history and development while assessing its strengths and weaknesses. The roles of the agencies that comprise the criminal justice system (representing law enforcement, courts, and corrections) are examined. Students explore career opportunities in the criminal justice system, including positions as a law enforcement officer, court personnel, attorney, paralegal, corrections, justice advocacy, and victim services.

Essential Objectives

1. Describe the historial development and major components of the American criminal justice system including law enforcement agencies, the courts, rehabilitation, and corrections, as well as victims' rights and services.
2. Identify the major U.S. Constitutional amendments and Supreme Court decisions applicable to the American criminal justice system.
3. Describe various psychological and sociological theories used to understand and explain criminal behavior.
4. Identify the major elements in the American penal system, including probation, parole, corrections, and restorative justice.
5. Describe the objectives and outcomes of various societal responses to criminal behavior including incarceration, restitution, social service intervention, and other alternatives to the criminal justice process.
6. Explain how societal definitions of criminal behavior and responses to that behavior have created disparities based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender expression, and sexuality in the criminal justice system.
7. Critically examine how data on crime, recidivism, crime prevention, and the use of force by law enforcement and corrections are collected, reported, and used in an ethical manner.
8. Evaluate at least one innovative criminal justice intervention practiced locally, nationally, or internationally.
9. Discuss the importance of cultural competence and trauma-informed practice in criminal justice professions and identify skills and strategies for supporting and collaborating with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
10. Identify and investigate the scope and diversity of career opportunities in the criminal justice field.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

Link to Textbooks/Resources Information for this course in eCampus.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Teaching Methods/Learning Activities

  • Active and Mandatory Discussion Boards- You cannot speak into an empty room, if you do not post and discuss with at least three classmates according to the rubric guidelines you will be considered to be absent. If you post any work late, you lose 10 points off your post, and you lose 15 off not communicating with your classmates.
  • Guest Interviews when available and applicable, there will be transcript interviews with professionals in the field that I have obtained.
  • Mini lectures weekly.
  • Reaction writing and writing assignments.
  • I do very little testing, when I do, it is because the material is important to be known and cemented for the next part of the course material. Your written work will test the application of your knowledge of the material weekly. You will have weekly case briefings, my law degree will aid in you learning the value of understanding case law, and how the court system is an important part of the Criminal Justice Triad.
  • Mental Health/Fitness Wellness Journal: This is all about little steps to wellness. You are graded on documentation of your wellness journey, not end results. If you think fitness of mind and body is not a requirement in Criminal Justice, then it is time for enlightenment. We will privately set some realistic goals, and you will Journal your progress. I too will set realistic goals. This will be based on current fitness/mental health suggestions by leading recruiters and mental health clinicians. This is to help you realistically grasp the work and self-care requirements for many criminal justice positions.
  • Final Paper and Online Presentation in lieu of an exam.

Evaluation Criteria

Grading Breakdown:

Participation: 15%

I believe it is a given that you will be part of the discussion, that is the only way I can establish attendance. The attendance policy is quite strict for the college. Three absences and you are considered to have missed too much to have retained the appropriate learning of the material. You will be marked as absent if you do not participate in discussion boards. If your discussion board posting is late, you are in essence, talking to an empty room. You will lose 15 points for not actually discussing with your classmates, you will also lose 10 points off your original posting if posted late.

Journal- 15%

I do not expect you to run a 10-minute mile or do 40 perfect sit-ups. I do expect we will journal a 15-week plan to improved wellness. This is a holistic wellness plan, not just physical. On a weekly basis, you will learn more about fitness, mental health assessments and self-treatments, as well as, healthy eating, and chart a course for improved wholeness. This assessment is all about improvement and recognition of the strength that comes from taking care of yourself. Your journal goals will be planned after the week one introduction to this process. They are private between you and me. I am known for never asking of you what I would not do myself, I will be participating right along with you, with my own journal and goals. Your wellness goal may be directed to being a lawyer, or a child welfare worker, or a dispatcher or even a medical examiner. Your life goals will also be a part of your personalized journal work. Where you see yourself working in your future will be considered for your individualized journey.

Assignments: 50%

I strive to make my assignments pertinent to your learning. This carries the most weight in all my classes. This is where I will look for application of references from the weekly lecture and materials. This is where you will learn more about you and how to critically think and apply the material to real life scenarios.

Final Paper: 20%

Your final paper will be a topic of tied to any field of study in criminal justice. This will be a chance for you to do research and produce a paper on a topic that is relevant to your educational journey and life goals. This paper will be 5-8 pages in length and APA formatted. This paper is in lieu of any written exam.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Current Issues in Criminal Justice: The Criminal Justice Process


To Learn: From Lectures, articles, movies and videos, as well as interviews with professionals from many areas in criminal justice.


To Write: Bias Paper

To Discuss: An ethical dilemma: Welcome Discussion and Photo Collage



Measuring and Explaining Crime/Types of Crime, Victims and Causal Links to Crime


To Learn: Lecture, articles, movies, videos and interviews (when applicable).


To Write: Uniform Crime Report on your assigned state, A synopsis of your state crime situation

Assignment: Journal Entry-Wellness Journal-VSP Physical Fitness Guidelines

To Discuss: Post your state findings from the UCR assignment on crime in your assigned state and reply to three classmates.



Criminal Law-Written sources of law and elements of crime. Justified use of force.


To Learn: Lecture, articles, movies, videos and interviews.


To Write: Justifications for committing crime

To Discuss: Tort Law Scenario-Who is to blame?

Assignment: To do Wellness Journal for Week 3- Breath Work and Relaxation Techniques

Assignment 2: Vigilante Justice Paper (Short)

Assignment 3: Case Studies



Law Enforcement Section: What exactly does a law enforcement officer do in modern society.


To Learn: Lecture, articles, movies, videos and interviews.


To Write: Your hometown crime rate, and where police should focus, if you were the Chief of Police for a day!

Assignment: Journal Entry-Eating Right?

To Discuss: Women and Minorities in Law Enforcement



Problems and Solutions in Modern Policing


To Learn from: Lecture, articles, movies, videos, and interviews.


To write: The Police Subculture: The good, the bad and the ugly.

Assignment: The Police Sub-Culture

Assignment #2: Brief Both Case Studies for Week 5

To Discuss: A new Twist, your attendance will be graded by your participation in discussion points from this week's lecture.



The Police and the Constitution of the United States


To Learn: Lecture, articles, movies, videos and interviews.


Assignment: Midterm Test on the Police

To Discuss: Police and the Constitution-See very specific guidelines this week.



The Court Section: Courts and the Quest for Justice


To Learn: Lecture, videos, movies, articles and interviews.


To Write: The obligations of a defense attorney; the job no one seems to want.

Assignment: #1: Your fitness Journal Entry-Setting Goals

#2: Paper: Defense Attorney or Prosecutor-Which would you choose and why?

To Discuss: Attorney/Client Privilege/Ethical What would you do?



Pretrial Procedures and the Criminal Trial


To Learn: lecture and a movie this week to watch.


To Write: Using the movie My Cousin Vinny-Outline the steps in a court trial.

Assignment: Your fitness journal-Anger Management

Assignment #2: My Cousin Vinny-The Steps in a Criminal Justice Case

To Discuss: Should plea bargaining remain as a viable way to dispense justice?



Punishment and Sentencing


To Learn: Lecture, videos, movies, articles and interviews.


To Write: Capital Punishment: Discussion and Homework are combined this week, all about the death penalty and punishment alternatives

To do: Fitness Journal-What Brings you Joy?



Welcome to Section Three of the Criminal Justice Triad: Corrections


To Learn: lecture, movies, articles, videos, and interviews.


Part Two Test

Discussion Board: Grill your professor on questions surrounding being a Federal Probation Officer.



Prisons and Jails


To Learn: Interview with a prison guard. Lecture and media sources.


To Discuss: Your perfect Prison Design ideas and your feelings on rehabilitation vs. incarceration.

Assignment: To begin the research for your prison design paper, and presentation



A Study and Research week for your Prison Papers and Presentations, Due at the end of the week.


Scholarly Resource Gathering Week


Assignment One: Your prison paper

Discussion: Your Prison Presentation-with pictures, design, collage.


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Missing & Late Work Policy

All late work will receive -10 points right off the top. That being said, Late work will only be accepted up to one week after the due date. If you should have an extraordinary issue that dictates an assignment being more than a week late, you must contact me right away. If I do not hear from you, I will place a zero if your work is more than a week late, and the zero cannot be altered.

In discussion boards, you will also lose -10 points for posting late, and you will lose -15 because posting late means that you are speaking to an empty room, and your classmates will not be going back and looking at your words. So late postings cost you -25 points on the discussion board. The other issue is the discussion board is how I measure attendance, so you will be considered absent for that week as well. You have three absences, it does not matter if it is for illness, vacation, or a rest week for your mental health. I do not need to know why you are out, it is your business. After three absences, we will be in contact with your advisor to see if you can successfully stay in the course. That is a CCV guideline for all classes. In my opinion, being late on discussion boards is the costliest to your grade and your attendance.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.