Jul 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Course Catalog 
2022-2023 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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SOC 1080 - Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

Credits: 3
Hours/Week: Lecture None Lab None
Course Description: This course provides an overview of the criminal justice system in US society, including the philosophy, history, organization, and function of the police, courts, and corrections. Sociological perspectives are applied to an analysis of crime and victimization, ethics, and the concept of justice. Topics include foundations of crime; justice and law; federal, tribal and state elements; victimization; victim rights; crime statistics and the extent of crime; police issues; juvenile justice system; juvenile delinquency; court systems; corrections, community corrections; professional career opportunities; and future trends. This course meets the requirements for Elective A: Organizations and Institutions for the MN State Sociology Transfer Pathway AA.
MnTC Goals
5 History/Social/Behavioral Science, 9 Ethical/Civic Responsibility

Prerequisite(s): Course placement into college-level English and Reading OR completion of ENGL 0950  with a grade of C or higher OR completion of RDNG 0940  with a grade of C or higher and qualifying English Placement Exam OR completion of RDNG 0950  with a grade of C or higher and ENGL 0090  with a grade of C or higher OR completion of ESOL 0051  with a grade of C or higher and ESOL 0052  with a grade of C or higher.
Corequisite(s): None
Recommendation: None

Major Content

  1. Causes of crime
  2. Defining and measuring crime
  3. Criminal law
  4. Law enforcement and policing
  5. Constitutional issues
  6. Courts
  7. Pretrial procedures and the criminal trial
  8. Punishment and sentencing
  9. Probation and community corrections
  10. Prisons and jails
  11. Juvenile justice
  12. Current issues
  13. System overview: crime and punishment
  14. Terrorism
  15. Laws and rights
  16. Courts and trials
  17. Legal terms

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Explain how crime is defined and measured, including ethical issues of measurement.
  2. Elucidate pretrial procedure and the criminal trial.
  3. Describe procedures and ethical considerations in punishment and sentencing.
  4. Articulate challenges to effective policing, including their ethical implications.
  5. Describe criminal law procedure.
  6. Relate the role of courts in the quest for justice and ethical considerations.
  7. Articulate the goals and practices of probation and community corrections.
  8. Describe the workings of the juvenile justice system.
  9. Discuss significant issues affecting prisons and jails.
  10. Describe the structure of the criminal justice system, including the interrelationship between police, courts, and corrections
  11. Discuss the inter-relationship between core beliefs, integrity, and ethical reasoning. (1.2.1.)
  12. Define the term discretion and discuss when and why peace officers use their best judgment in the administration of justice and when discretion is not allowed. (1.4.2.)
  13. Describe characteristics of professional behavior and the Minnesota Standards of Conduct for licensing Minnesota peace officers. (1.7.1.)
  14. Describe the repercussions for a finding of a violation of the State’s peace officer standards of conduct. (1.7.2.)
  15. Discuss the historic need for rules to control human conduct, enforce societal directives, and empower authoritative enforcement of those rules. (2.1.1.)
  16. Incorporate an understanding of the history of criminal justice and the contemporary system of criminal justice in the U.S. into a perspective about current peace officer duties, responsibilities, and actions. (2.1.2.)
  17. Describe the history behind the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. (2.1.3.)
  18. Explain the need for a balance between public safety and personal rights in a free society. (2.1.4.)
  19. Identify and discuss the significance of historic and contemporary events, customs, and social mores that have influenced the current system of justice in the U.S. (2.1.5.)
  20. Describe the history and impact of including women and diverse community representation in law enforcement. (2.1.6.)
  21. Explain the roles of law enforcement, the courts and corrections. (2.1.7.)
  22. Explain the functions and jurisdictions of law enforcement agencies, including federal, state, county, municipal, tribal, and international. (2.1.8.)
  23. Explain the broad functions of the correctional system, including imprisonment, parole, and probation. (2.1.9.)
  24. Identify the meaning of criminal justice system terms, e.g., custody, arraignment, circumstantial evidence, double jeopardy, entrapment, exigent circumstances, conviction, bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, assault, probation, qualified domestic violence related offense (Minn. Stat. 609.02), forfeiture, “good faith” exception, exclusionary rule, indictment, inevitable discovery, probable cause, Miranda warning, reasonable suspicion, warrant, probation, and parole. (2.1.10.)
  25. Describe the function and responsibility of each of the key participants involved in a typical courtroom hearing or trial, including judges, jury members, prosecuting and defense attorneys, and witnesses. (2.1.11.)
  26. Describe the sources of laws in the U.S., including federal law, state law, case law, and administrative regulatory law, as well as the process by which laws, statutes, and ordinances are enacted. (2.2.1.)
  27. Explain provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that impact or restrict law enforcement, including the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (2.2.2.)
  28. Explain how the Separation of Powers Doctrine works. (2.2.3.)
  29. Distinguish between criminal law and criminal procedure and explain the difference between substantive and procedural law. (2.2.4.)
  30. Summarize the forms of individual protection related to search and seizure granted by the US Constitution. (2.2.5.)
  31. Explain the meaning of the “good faith” doctrine, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, and the “inevitable discovery” doctrine as they pertain to Fourth Amendment rights. (2.2.6.)
  32. State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest. (2.2.7.)
  33. Explain how constitutional rights in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments affect police interrogations. (2.2.8.)
  34. Summarize the rights of individuals being interrogated under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the importance of adhering to procedures that protect those rights, including
    1. the prohibition against forced or coerced self-incrimination
    2. the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and correlating Minnesota Statute (Minn. Stat. 481.10). (2.2.9.)
  35. Describe proceedings before a trial, including the roles of the law enforcement, defense attorneys, and prosecutors. (2.2.14.)
  36. Summarize the rights and processes related to a fair and speedy trial and the right to a jury trial. (2.2.15.)
  37. Explain the general provisions for sentencing in the Minnesota Criminal Code and the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. (2.2.16.)
  38. Describe crime classifications misdemeanor through felony. (2.2.17.)
  39. Discuss enhancements that may be applied to repeat offenders, patterned offenders, and career offenders. (2.2.18.)
  40. Explain the following terms:  concurrent and consecutive sentences, imposition and execution of sentence, determinate and indeterminate sentencing. (2.2.19.)
  41. List the five constitutional amendments involving equality and rights. (2.2.20.)
  42. Identify the criminal and civil consequences an officer may face by violating a citizen’s constitutional right. (2.2.23.)
  43. Compare and contrast characteristics of the civil and criminal justice systems. (2.2.24.)
  44. Explain what constitutes an arrest and the differences between a contact, a detention and an arrest. (2.4.1.)
  45. State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest. (2.4.2.)
  46. Discuss protocols and terms associated with arrest, including “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause.” (2.4.3.)
  47. Describe the stop and frisk standard as found in “Terry v. Ohio” and subsequent cases. (2.4.4.)
  48. Describe the basic organization, purpose, definitions, and principles of the Minnesota Criminal Code. (2.5.1.)
  49. Explain the Supreme Court decision “Miranda v. Arizona” and the four components of the Miranda warning. (2.6.1.)
  50. Explain the history of and philosophy behind an independent juvenile justice system. (2.7.1.)
  51. Define status offense, give examples of status offenses that can only be committed by a juvenile, and discuss the limits of peace officer authority in relationship to status offenses. (2.7.2.)
  52. Discuss the term reasonable as it related to use of force. (2.8.3.)
  53. Discuss liabilities associated with the application of force by peace officers. (2.8.10.)
  54. Explain the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (2.19.1.)
  55. Discuss the difference between responsive and intelligence-led policing. (2.24.1.)
  56. Discuss types of terrorism, weapons of terrorism, counterterrorism, basic interdiction strategies, terrorism target awareness, and the role of law enforcement related to terrorism. (2.25.4.)

57.  Sociological Perspective:

  1. articulate the processes by which social forces affect individuals through organizations or institutions, and vice versa.
  2. apply founding theoretical traditions and concepts in sociology to specific organizations or institutions.

58.  Social Structure:

  1. explain how social structure affects human action and social life at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
  2. articulate the processes through which groups, formal organizations, and social networks influence human thought and action.
  3. explain how hierarchy, power and authority operate across specific organizations or institutions.

59. Socialization:

  1. explain the relationship between the self and society.
  2. articulate how the self is socially constructed, maintained and transformed at multiple levels through specific organizations or institutions.

Competency 1 (1-6)
05. 01. Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.

05. 03. Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.

05. 04. Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
Competency 2 (7-10)
09. 02. Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.

09. 03. Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.

09. 04. Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.

Courses and Registration

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