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    Course Overview

    Because the study of criminal justice processes is interdisciplinary, so too are the combined materials on this site. The general thematic areas are organized in a way that fits the general concept of the “system” of criminal justice as a series of inputs and outputs, as illustrated by the course modules.

    This site includes a variety of materials presented in parts to specifically address themes and learning outcomes typically addressed in an introductory exploration of criminal justice. Each theme is explored over two weeks. The Special Topics may be explored in lieu of a final exam.

    Course Themes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    • Define and operationalize concepts specific to the criminal justice system in the United States
    • Define research practices specific to the criminal justice in the United States
    • Identify and describe historical, structural and cultural issues related to the processes of justice in the United States
    • Identify and apply theories related to the policy and practice of criminal justice;
    • Identify ethical issues arising from criminal justice processes
    • Summarize the goals, organizations and procedures of the criminal justice system
    • Analyze the interrelationship of the primary components of the Criminal Justice System.


    1. Complete the Background Knowledge Probe*
    2. Read 1.1. Crime and the Criminal Justice System*
    3. Review the Introduction Lecture and Key Terms**

    Full Text Open Sources 

    Annenberg Classroom – The Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania

    **Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System: Adam McKee – Includes lectures, Key terms and re-direct flashcard, word game site.

    Criminal Law by University of Minnesota textbook – Includes Key takeaways, exercises and references.

    Introduction to Sociology2e: Open Stax textbook – Includes section quizzes, short answer, further references and glossary.

    *Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System: Open Oregon Educational Resources – Includes problem examples, exercises and further references and glossary.

    Prison Policy Initiative -non-profit, non-partisan organization that produces  research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.