Crime is defined as

Crime is defined as

Lecture Notes

In Chapter 1, students are introduced to the concept of crime. Crime is defined as an act that violates criminal law and is punishable by criminal sanctions. In modern times, crime is considered an offense against society, and alleged criminals are prosecuted by the state rather than by victims. Society determines how behaviors are criminalized in several differing ways. The consensus model asserts that citizens share a perception of morality and will outlaw those behaviors that violate it. The conflict model argues that citizens do not share similar moral values, and that the dominant group in society will impose its morality through law. Encourage students to discuss the process of criminalizing behavior. What crimes have emerged in their lifetimes? Which model do they think best describes how those behaviors were criminalized? Have them consider a number of criminal offenses, ranging from stalking (criminalized in 1990) to the victimless crime of illegally downloading music and software (criminalized in the last decade).

Also in Chapter 1, students are introduced to the purpose and goals of the criminal justice system. Students are given the specific goals of our criminal justice system: 1) protecting society from potential crimes of dangerous offenders, 2) determining when an offense has been committed and the appropriate punishment, 3) the rehabilitation of offenders, and 4) supporting crime victims. These specific goals are viewed in the overall goal of maintaining justice.

Additionally, students are introduced to the criminal justice system and its various components. Students learn about the concept of federalism, the three levels of law enforcement, the dual court system, and the correctional system. This is a good time to introduce students to the criminal justice system operating in your state. How are all three branches of the criminal justice system represented locally? Get to know your students by discussing what branch of the criminal justice system they are most fascinated by. If your class is primarily interested in law enforcement as a career field, you might use this information to shape your lesson plans for the semester, likewise if they are interested in the courts or corrections.

Students also learn about the positive and negative trends of the criminal justice system as a whole in today’s world. Students are presented with the tools utilized by law enforcement agencies that have had positive and negative effects on crime rates. For example, the concepts of “proactive policing” and “hot spot policing” strategies are discussed. The role of technology in the criminal justice system is also presented, introducing students to technological advancements such as biometrics, including MORIS, facial recognition technology, hand geometry, and, of course, fingerprint technology. Later, at the end of the chapter, students are also presented with the technological advancements of the internet and social media. For example, the Casey Anthony trial is discussed, pointing out that the tool of Twitter was successfully utilized by the 9th Judicial District Court of Florida to provide the public with important trial information. The negative aspects of the criminal justice system today are also pointed out. Specifically, the challenges of gang violence, gun violence, and the illegal drug trade are identified as three of the major challenges facing law enforcement today. This would be a good time to have students identify how the changes in law enforcement strategies and technologies have affected the major crime challenges in their specific geographic locale.

Chapter 1 familiarizes students with the values and ethics of the criminal justice system. Our system of justice is often described as having two processes: one formal and one informal. The formal criminal justice process involves prescribed procedures such as booking, setting bail, and the like. For every step in the formal process, though, someone has discretion, and such discretion leads to an informal process. For example, even when prosecutors believe that a suspect is guilty, they have the discretion not to prosecute. The use of discretion is guided by two conflicting models of the criminal justice system, the due process model and the crime control model. The due process model focuses on protecting individual rights of the criminal suspect as they move through the justice process. The crime control model disagrees, arguing that the primary function of the process is to protect society from offenders by punishing criminal behavior whenever it is detected. Ask students which vision for the process seems most ideal to them. Should justice be individualized, or should discretion be largely limited to ensure that offenders are treated as uniformly as possible? Which objective is most important, in students’ opinion, protecting individual rights or controlling crime? Push them to think through their answer as if they were being investigated for suspicion of a crime. Would their view change if they were the criminal suspect rather than a potential victim?

Finally, Chapter 1 discusses the role of the criminal justice system in the fight against terrorism. Students are introduced to the Department of Homeland Security and its major tool in the fight against terrorism, the Patriot Act. Students are given the “pros and cons” of some of the specific provisions of the Patriot Act that must be accounted for in Congress’ attempt to balance personal freedoms with personal safety.

Key Terms

Biometrics – methods to identify a person based on his or her unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints or facial configuration. (p.19)

Capital crime a criminal act that makes the offender eligible to receive the death penalty. (p.25)

Civil liberties the basic rights and freedoms for American citizens guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights. (p. 22)

Conflict model – a criminal justice model in which the content of criminal law is determined by the groups that hold economic, political, and social power in a community. (p. 6)

Consensus model – a criminal justice model in which the majority of citizens share the same values and beliefs. Criminal acts are acts that conflict with these values and beliefs and that are deemed harmful to society. (p. 5)

Crime – an act that violates criminal law and is punishable by criminal sanctions. (p. 5)

Crime control model – a criminal justice model that places primary emphasis on the right

of society to be protected from crime and violent criminals. (p. 17)

Criminal justice system – the interlocking network of law enforcement agencies, courts, and corrections institutions designed to enforce criminal laws and protect society from criminal behavior. (p.8)

Deviance – behavior that is considered to go against the norms established by society. (p. 7)

Discretion – the ability of individuals in the criminal justice system to make operational decisions based on personal judgment instead of formal rules or official information. (p. 15)

Domestic terrorism – acts of terrorism that take place on U.S. soil without direct foreign involvement (p. 22)

Drug – any substance that modifies biological, psychological, or social behavior; in particular, an illegal substance with those properties. (p.20)

Due process model – a criminal justice model that places primacy on the right of the individual to be protected from the power of the government. (p. 17)

Ethics – a system of moral principles that govern a person’s perception of right and wrong. (p.16)

Federalism a form of government in which a written constitution provides for a division of powers between a central government and several regional governments. (p. 9)

Formal criminal justice process – the model of the criminal justice process in which participants follow formal rules to create a smoothly functioning disposition of cases from arrest to punishment. (p.13)

Gun control efforts by a government to regulate or control the sale of guns. (p. 20)

Homeland security – a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and reduce the country’s vulnerability to terrorism. (p.20)

Informal criminal justice process – a model of the criminal justice system that recognizes the informal authority exercised by individuals at each step of the criminal justice process. (p.15)

Justice the quality of fairness that must exist in the processes designed to determine whether individuals are guilty of criminal wrongdoing. (p. 8)

Morals principles of right and wrong behavior, as practiced by individuals or by society. (p.6)

Psychoactive drug – a drug that affects the brain, causing changes in emotions, perceptions, and behavior. (p.20)

Recidivism – the act of committing a new crime after a person has already been punished for a previous crime by being convicted and sent to jail or prison. (p.25)

Street gang – a group of people, usually three or more, who share a common identity and engage in illegal activities. (p. 20)

Terrorism – the use or threat of violence to achieve political objectives. (p. 21)

Victim – any person who suffers physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of a criminal act. (p. 23)

Place Your Order Here!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *