Skip Navigation
Distance Learning
Home > Academics > eLearning > Course Formats > Online > CRIM Online Courses > CRIM 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (Online)

CRIM 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (Online)

Instructor:        Tracie Wheeler, J.D.
Phone:              410-489-5254         
Office Hours: 
    (By Appointment Only)

Online Course Description

Criminal Justice 101 is survey of the history, philosophy and social development of police, courts and corrections in a democratic society.  Identification and operations of local, state and federal agencies will be covered with criminal justice career orientation.

This course will require additional outside assignments and readings not included in the text, and will require students to visit a court room criminal trial, interview a criminal justice professional, and conduct at least one library research project at Howard Community College. Each individual assignment will be provided with separate instructions. Check the due dates for each assignment frequently.  

The Text is: George F. Cole and Christopher E Smith, Criminal Justice in America (5th Ed.)
The Maryland Criminal Justice System, Super Supplement, by Patrick J. O’Guinn Sr., JD, MPA

Major Topics

I. Criminal Justice system in America

     A. Public policy issues

     B. Methodology/Statistics - UCR, NCS, Self-report surveys

     C. Crime control versus due process

II. Defining and Understanding Criminal Behavior

     A. Sources of criminal law - consensus versus conflict

     B. Crime Causation theories

     C. Types of Crimes

III. Criminal Law - Substantive and Procedural

     A. Types of Laws

     B. Criminal Defenses

     C. Principles elements of Substantive Criminal Law - example - rape

     D. Procedural Criminal law - 14th, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments

     E. Search and Seizure, Exclusionary Rule, Warrantless searches

IV. Administration of Criminal Justice

     A. Goals of Criminal Justice

     B. Agencies of Criminal Justice - local, state and federal

     C. Overview Criminal Justice Process - pretrial, court, post-trial process

V. Police

     A. History, policy, functions

     B. Police operations, issues, and trends

VI. Sentencing

     A. goals

     B. Corrections/Incarceration

     C. Community Corrections - Probation, Intermediate Sanctions, Parole

Overall Course Objectives

Upon successfully completing this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Define crime and understand its elements according to legal definition.
  2. Examine crime statistics through the use of UCR, NCS and self-report surveys and specifically   analyze the crime statistics of Maryland and Howard County.
  3. Identify methods of research and the limitations of each method.
  4. Examine crime control versus due process both theoretically and as it relates to public policy.
  5. Describe the major crime causation theories and the public policy responses to each of these.
  6. Distinguish between substantive and procedural criminal law and elements of each.
  7. Identify the criminal defenses and their relation to mens rea.
  8. Identify the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments and major court cases related to each.
  9. Analyze "search and seizure", exclusionary ruling, and warrantless searches.
  10. Describe the administration of justice through stages of investigation, arrest, booking, initial appearance, preliminary hearing, indictment, arraignment trial, and sentencing.
  11. Examine the history and functions of police.
  12. Examine and evaluate policing issues and trends.
  13. Describe the roles played by prosecuting and defense attorneys.
  14. Examine the court proceedings, the trial process, and the post-trial procedures.
  15. Examine and evaluate standardized and alternative sentences including fines, probation,incarceration, death, community service, electronic monitoring, etc.
  16. Analyze the criminal justice system as it relates to politics, the media, and the community in general.
  17. Identify employment opportunities and requirements in the criminal justice field.


This course does not have an on-campus orientation.

Course Requirements

Grading/Exams: Grading procedures will be determined by the individual faculty member but will include the following:

Final grades will be calculated on the basis of exams, papers, and class participation.

Writing: Specific writing assignments will be determined by the individual faculty Member, but will include at least 1000 words of formal writing.

All assignments will have specific points assigned to them when handed out or assigned.

Other Course Information

Meets College definition for: Cultural Diversity

This course is a Social Science elective and an Arts and Science elective.

Review the "Characteristics of Successful Online Students" and the "Minimum Hardware and Software Requirements" to be sure that you should be enrolling in this course. 

Student Profile - Maribel