Criminal Justice Today

Criminal Justice Today

Chapter 1: Criminal Justice Today



Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students should:

1. Describe the two most common models that show how society determines which acts are criminal.

2. Define crime.

3. Outline the three levels of law enforcement.

4. List the essential elements of the corrections system.

5. Explain the difference between the formal and informal criminal justice processes.

6. Define ethics and describe the role that they play in discretionary decision making.

7. Contrast the crime control and due process models.

8. List the major issues in criminal justice today.

Lesson Plan

Correlated to PowerPoints

I. What is Crime?

Learning Objective 1: Describe the two most common models that show how society determines which acts are criminal.

Learning Objective 2: Define crime.

A. Determining Criminal Behavior.

1. Consensus Model

a. Assumes that as people gather together to form a society, its members naturally come to a basic agreement regarding shared norms and values

b. Assumes, to a certain extent, that a diverse group of people can have similar morals

2. Conflict Model

c. Assumes that different segments of society, separated by social class, income, age, and race, inevitably have different value systems and shared norms, and are engaged in a constant struggle with one another for control of society

d. What is deemed criminal activity is determined by whichever group happens to be holding power at any given time

B. An Integrated Definition of Crime

1. Considering both the consensus and conflict model constructs a definition

of crime in that it is any action or activity that includes the following:

a. Is punishable under criminal law, as determined by the majority of society, or in some cases, a powerful minority

b. Is considered an offense against society as a whole and is prosecuted by public officials

c. Is punishable by statutorily defined sanctions that bring about a loss of freedom

2. Differences Between Crime and Deviance

d. Deviance is behavior that is considered to go against the norms established by society

e. Deviance is a subjective concept

f. Deviant acts become crimes only when a majority is willing to accept that those acts should be punished

g. Not all crimes are considered particularly deviant

h. Criminal law reflects acts that a society agrees are so unacceptable that steps must be taken to prevent them from occurring

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