Honors | Introduction to Criminal Justice
P100 | 1373 | Selke
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 justice process.
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.