Introduction To Criminal Justice – cja204 (3 credits)

This course is an introductory overview of the organization and jurisdictions of local, state, and federal law enforcement, judicial and corrections agencies, and processes involved in the criminal justice systems. It examines the historical aspects of the police, the courts, and the correctional system, as well as the philosophy. Additionally, career opportunities and qualifying requirements, terminology and constitutional limitations of the system will also be covered.

This undergraduate-level course is 5 weeks. This course is available to take individually or as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

The Criminal Justice System

  • Describe governmental structure and its relationship to criminal justice.
  • Describe the components of the criminal justice system and the criminal justice process.
  • Describe crime rates, arrest rates, recidivism rates, and clearance rates in the United States.
  • Examine the differences between major crime reporting programs in the United States.
  • Define crime and its relationship to law.
  • Describe the two most common models of how society determines which acts are criminal.
  • Identify choice theories of crime and their underlying assumptions.
  • Identify instruments for measuring crime.

Criminal Courts

  • Outline the dual court system in the United States.
  • Examine the differences among members of the courtroom work group.
  • Identify the steps involved in the pretrial criminal process.
  • List the six basic steps of an appeal.
  • Compare and contrast the five basic philosophical reasons for sentencing criminals.
  • Define the six forms of punishment.
  • Describe the historical development of U.S.courts.
  • Explain how a prosecutor screens potential cases.

The Police and Law Enforcement

  • Recognize the role of the police in contemporary society and be familiar with concepts such as community policing.
  • Describe the historical development of police agencies and their jurisdiction.
  • List five main types of law enforcement agencies and the various law enforcement agencies under the control of the new Department of Homeland Security.
  • Outline four major sources that may provide probable cause.
  • Examine the issues facing police departments in today's society.
  • List three primary purposes of police patrol.


  • Identify types of prisons.
  • Describe prison culture and subculture.
  • Summarize the distinction between jails and prisons, and indicate the importance of jails in the American correctional system.
  • Indicate some of the reasons for violent behavior in prisons.
  • Compare and contrast parole and probation and the conditions which accompany each.
  • Describe truth-in-sentencing laws and their goals.
  • Explain the justifications for community-based corrections programs.

Special Issues

  • Define delinquency and status offenses.
  • Compare and contrast the four major differences between juvenile courts and adult courts.
  • Identify the variables which correlate with juvenile crime rates.
  • Distinguish cyber crime from traditional crime.
  • Explain the activities and purposes of most hackers.

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