CRIM-101: Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System

Course Information

Course, prefix, number, & title: CRIM-101 Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System

Hours (Class, recitation, Laboratory, studio): 3 class hours, Offered as needed

Credits: 3

Pre-requisites (if any): (or Co-requisite:) Students must complete any developmental requirements in English (see Proficiency in Math and English) prior to taking this course or enroll in ENGL-101 and BE-102 at the same time as this course

Course Description in college catalog:

This course is an introductory survey of the American criminal justice system with a view to its social and institutional context and its structure and functioning. The course provides an overview of the foundations and components of the criminal justice system, including (substantive and procedural) criminal law, police, courts and corrections. The main emphasis will be placed on the criminal justice process and how the various institutions of criminal justice interact. Key issues will be addressed as they arise at different stages of the process, such as the conflict between crime control and due process, and conflicts related to, for example, gender, class and ethnicity. This course will satisfy the Social Sciences elective requirement for all QCC degree programs.

Academic programs for which this course serves as a requirement or an elective:

A.A. Liberal Arts and Sciences

A.S. Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematics and Science)

Dual/Joint AS/BA Degree Program in Criminal Justice

1. Students will meet the requirements for transfer to their junior year of study in criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

2. Students will demonstrate competency in the core areas of the criminal justice major.

3. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills in regard to issues in the field of criminal justice.

4. Students will use historical and social sciences perspectives to analyze and make judgments about issues in the field of criminal justice.

5. Students will differentiate and make informed decisions about issues in the field of criminal justice.

6. Students will communicate effectively about issues in the field of criminal justice as demonstrated by their reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

7. Students will integrate knowledge and skills in regard to issues in the field of criminal justice.

General Education Outcomes: Below is a listing of General Education Outcome(s) that this course supports.

  1. Use analytical reasoning to identify issues or problems and evaluate evidence in order to make informed decisions

  2. Use historical or social sciences perspectives to examine formation of ideas, human behavior, social institutions, or social processes

Course-specific student learning outcomes:

  1. Course readings and student assignments will require students to examine material from many different sources, and points of view, which contribute to their understanding of the American criminal justice system.
  2. Students will critically examine criminal justice research and crime trends. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the methods used to research crime and collect data.
  3. Students will debate current criminal justice policy. Students will present their arguments, in oral and written expression, in a clear and coherent manner.Students will utilize information collected from multiple sources and viewpoints in their presentation.
  4. This course addresses criminal justice with a view to its social and institutional context. Students will gain an understanding of how and why crimes are committed, and what this means for individual victims and for society. Students will gain an understanding of why and how offenders are punished, and the individual and social consequences of punishment.
  5. Students will examine the American criminal justice system with a special focus on issues of diversity embedded in the field of criminal justice. Class, gender, and ethnicity will be key issues of focus.
  6. Students will gain an understanding of why certain behaviors are punished, how the law distinguishes between lawful and unlawful behavior, and what legal safeguards have been established in democratic societies against unfair and unreasonable punishment.

Program-specific outcomes


Performance objectives:
1.  Students will develop analytical, ethical and critical reasoning skills through writing assignments and participation in class discussions. 
2.  Students will develop the ability to effectively locate information.
3.  Students will develop the ability to integrate and contrast information from different sources and to present this information in writing in a clear, coherent and systematic way.
Knowledge objectives:
1.  Students will gain an understanding of the American criminal justice system with a view to its social and institutional context, and its structure and functioning. This includes an understanding of the importance of issues of diversity embedded in the field of criminal justice.
2.  Students will gain an understanding of why societies punish certain behavior in the first place, how the law distinguishes between lawful and unlawful behavior, and what legal safeguards have been established in democratic societies against unfair and unreasonable punishment
3.  Students will gain an understanding of how and why crimes are committed, and what this means for individual victims and for society. 
4.  Students will gain an understanding of the sequence of events that leads to the determination of guilt or innocence of an individual alleged to have committed a crime. Students will also learn about the various criminal justice institutions, including police, courts and corrections, and how they interact at the various stages of the criminal justice process
5.  Students will gain an understanding of why and how offenders are punished, and what the individual and social consequences of punishment are.

Other program outcomes (if applicable).

  1. Make ethical judgments while recognizing multiple perspectives, as appropriate in the program of study

Methods by which student learning will be assessed and evaluated; describe the types of methods to be employed; note whether certain methods are required for all sections:

Methods used to evaluate student learning will be chosen from, but not limited to, exams, papers, projects, discussions, and presentations.

Academic Integrity policy (department or College):
Academic honesty is expected of all students. Any violation of academic integrity is taken extremely seriously. All assignments and projects must be the original work of the student or teammates. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any questions regarding academic integrity should be brought to the attention of the instructor. The following is the Queensborough Community College Policy on Academic Integrity: "It is the official policy of the College that all acts or attempted acts that are violations of Academic Integrity be reported to the Office of Student Affairs. At the faculty member's discretion and with the concurrence of the student or students involved, some cases though reported to the Office of Student Affairs may be resolved within the confines of the course and department. The instructor has the authority to adjust the offender's grade as deemed appropriate, including assigning an F to the assignment or exercise or, in more serious cases, an F to the student for the entire course." Read the University's policy on Academic Integrity opens in a new window(PDF).

Disabilities
Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based upon the impact of a disability should contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Science Building, Room S-132, 718-631-6257, to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. You can visit the Services for Students with Disabilities website.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC)Opens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art GalleryOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.