Criminal Justice Minor
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Department of Criminal Justice
Overview for Criminal Justice Minor
The criminal justice minor provides a foundation in the formal process of social control through the criminal justice system, how behavior is defined as criminal, how crime is measured, and how society responds to crime.
Notes about this minor:
- This minor is closed to students majoring in criminal justice.
- Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
The plan code for Criminal Justice Minor is CRIM-MN.
“I am so lucky to have the greatest mentors and peers.”
— Venita D’Angelo, criminal justice BS '23, Center for Public Safety Initiatives Research Assistant
Curriculum for Criminal Justice Minor
Introduction to Criminal Justice
This course provides an introduction to criminal justice. One of the primary goals of this course is to provide a general understanding of how the criminal justice system responds to crime in society. The main component parts of the criminal justice system (i.e., police, courts, and corrections) will be examined with a particular emphasis on developing an understanding of the behavior and interactions among the main actors in the criminal justice system. To accomplish this goal, we will examine how criminal cases are processed in the criminal justice system. We will also consider how external forces, such as political decisions, public opinion, and the media influence criminal justice decision-making. Students will also formulate, argue, and evaluate ethical perspectives regarding criminal justice systems, individual-level decisions, and recognize relationships with other ethical problems in society. Finally, throughout the course we will emphasize how the societal response to crime has evolved over time. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
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Technology in Criminal Justice
Develops understanding of theories, management processes, organizational capabilities and social implications of criminal justice technologies. Many categories of technology are considered, ranging from communications and records management, to special assault and protection tactics. Students consider the role of industry, government, and user groups in the historical development and legal/ethical use of specific technologies. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Introduction to the basic organizations of the correctional system, their functions and performance. Prisons and jails, as well as probation and parole agencies, are discussed with the context of historical and contemporary philosophy. Attention also is focused on decision-making functions, the role of various personnel within the correctional system and the population of offenders within it. Strategies for rehabilitation and their effectiveness are surveyed. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course examines the concepts, theories and environmental influences of juvenile offenders, the impact of the judicial system, control and corrections on juvenile justice. The course also examines the role of forces in the system including police, courts, community resources, and treatment. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Law Enforcement in Society
This course examines the social and historical origins of the various police systems; police culture, role and career; police in the legal system; social and legal restraints on police practices; police discretion in practice; police and community; police organization and community control mechanisms. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
This course provides students with an understanding of the recognized functions of courts in the American criminal justice system. Jurisdiction, policies and procedures of courts in the administration of criminal justice, including trial and appellate courts, will be discussed. Courts will be examined at the local, state and federal levels. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Crime and Violence
This course focuses on the outbreak and prevalence of violent crime in the United States as one of the most important social realities of the past 100 years. In addition to a historical review, we will also scrutinize contemporary problems associated with violence. These problems include street violence, terrorism, riots, vigilantism, and how the criminal justice system has attempted to control these problems. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Minority Groups and the Criminal Justice System
This course will investigate the roles played by racial minorities- African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans-- at each level of the criminal justice system in the United States of America and globally. The experience of African Americans will be emphasized since this group has been the subject of more extensive research by criminologists and criminal justice practitioners. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Crime, Justice and Ethics
This course provides an introduction to ethical theories, consideration of justice as operationalized in contemporary criminal justice and emerging issues that accompany technological advancements such as video surveillance. Students will explore how ethical frameworks are embedded, implicitly and explicitly, in fundamental questions that are resolved by police, judges, and prosecutors. Conceptions of justice and criminal justice will be considered as they relate to criminological and criminal justice theories such as Procedural Justice/Legitimacy theories, Restorative Justice, as well as rationales for punishment. Implications for evaluation of technological changes in criminal justice will also be considered from the perspectives of ethical choices. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Theories of Crime and Criminality
A comprehensive survey of historical and contemporary theories of the causes of crime. Included are theories that derive from biological, psychological, sociological, geographic, economic, and political perspectives. Development of criminological theory reviewed; fundamental distinctions between classical and positivist theories and between theories of crime and criminality discussed. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Major Issues in Criminal Justice
Focuses on contemporary issues and topics not otherwise distinctly incorporated in established criminal justice courses. Concentrates on student discussion and interaction surrounding required readings on topics such as crime prevention and issues in the prosecution/court system. Recent examples include cyberlaw, prisoner re-entry restorative justice, wrongful convictions, crime mapping, crime analysis, non-traditional courts, legal controversies in the law, substance abuse, and legal research. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
May 8, 2023
Student's photo project addresses gun violence issues and solutions
Vincent Alban, a fourth-year photojournalism student, coupled human connection and visual storytelling to craft an emotional capstone project about families and community organizations celebrating fallen loved ones and advocating for change.
January 19, 2022
Study abroad program to Ireland explores comparative criminal justice systems
Students have the opportunity to learn about comparative law and justice systems from an international perspective while spending two weeks in Waterford, Ireland as part of a summer 2022 study abroad program.