Honors | Introduction to Criminal Justice
P100 | 1425 | Selke, W.
The honors section is designed to provide an overview of the field within
a seminar setting. Through the use of lectures, films, guest speakers and
group discussions, we will explore the many interesting challenges that
confront our system of criminal justice. In the beginning, our energy will
be devoted to understanding the diverse theories of criminology that
attempt to explain why people commit criminal acts. It will also be
important for us to review the basic concept of criminal as it defines the
underlying framework for the operation of the justice system. Our major
emphasis will be on the three primary components of the criminal justice
system: law enforcement, the courts and corrections. Descriptions of the
various agencies will be presented and the practices of police officers,
prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, prison wardens and probation
officers will be examined. Current issues such as police brutality, the
insanity defense, plea-bargaining, capital punishment and prison riots
will be analyzed. One of the most important goals for the course is to
understand how discretion is used and sometimes abused throughout the
Reading will consist of approximately 40 to 50 pages per week, with at
least three homework assignments during the first half of the semester.
There will be three exams. Each exam will be made up of multiple-choice
items and essay questions. Students will also be required to write a
research paper on one of the topical areas discussed in class.