This survey level course introduces students to the purpose, structure, and function of the criminal justice system, which represents the government’s official response to crime. Students will learn about the role of the various aspects of the criminal justice system (i.e., law enforcement, courts, and corrections) in responding to and controlling crime. A significant focus of the class will be on critical analysis of criminal justice policy and programs, such as mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, New York City’s stop and frisk campaign, sex offender residency restrictions, mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence, day reporting centers for probationers and parolees, and victimless prosecution of domestic violence cases. The course will also force students to consider the challenges facing the criminal justice system, including an aging prison population, the impact of incarceration on families and communities, the pressure to efficiently process high caseloads, and protecting personal liberties while keeping citizens safe.
This course counts in the Core Curriculum as a social science in either Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning or Person and Society.