Online Class: Criminology Basics

Criminology Basics is a great match if you are on the lookout for educated insight into crime control, the criminal mindset, police related controversies, due process, life inside our prison systems and rehabilitating criminals.

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Course Description

The Anatomy of American Justice: Navigating the Criminal Justice System

Justice, order, and punishment: three pillars upon which every society relies to ensure its safety, fairness, and prosperity. In the United States, our justice system strives to embody these principles. However, its vastness, complexities, and constant evolution often make it a challenging landscape to understand. Our course demystifies the American Criminal Justice System, delving deep into its mechanisms, ideologies, challenges, and triumphs.

Recent studies from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that nearly 2.3 million people were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails in 2020. With such staggering numbers, understanding the intricacies of the justice system becomes pivotal, not just for those considering a career in criminal law, business law, or behavioral sciences, but for every citizen.

Course Introduction: The Living Organism of Justice

The American criminal justice system can be likened to a colossal living organism. Like any organism, it has a defined purpose and numerous independently functioning parts that operate harmoniously for the greater good. It's dynamic, with the ability to adapt, grow, and even falter under certain circumstances.

To understand this system, imagine not being able to point to a single entity and identifying it as the "criminal justice system." Instead, it's more abstract—a vast network of interconnected agencies, professionals, laws, and processes that together maintain societal order. Think of it as the roots of a tree spreading out, intertwined and vast, each root representing a distinct aspect of the system.

Decoding its Purpose

At its core, the primary objective of the criminal justice system is the maintenance of order. This is achieved through a multi-faceted approach:

  • The Constitution: It serves as the backbone, outlining the rights and protections of citizens.
  • Lawmakers: Their role is to legislate, ensuring that laws are current, just, and cater to the changing dynamics of society.
  • The Police: On the ground, they employ various strategies, from community policing to investigative techniques, to ensure law enforcement.
  • The Courts: They serve as arbiters of justice, determining guilt and deciding on suitable penalties.

Yet, achieving a utopia where the criminal justice system is no longer required remains elusive. Shows like "Star Trek" envision a future free from crime, but is that a realistic goal? We delve deeper into this discussion in our sessions.

Intended Outcomes

While the overarching aim is order, the system's true success lies in fostering a society where citizens lead content, peaceful lives, respecting boundaries while enjoying personal freedoms. Achieving this delicate balance is a herculean task, given the adage, "You can't please everyone."

Course Structure

  1. Lesson 1: The Criminal Justice System

    Dive into the intricacies and broad spectrum of the system, understanding its constituents and operations.

  2. Lesson 2: The Criminal and the Crime

    Explore the psyche of a criminal, the underlying factors of criminal activities, and the sociological perspectives of crime.

  3. Lesson 3: The Police (Part 1. To Serve and Protect)

    Delve into the noble duty of the police, their dedication, training, and challenges faced in their commitment to serve.

  4. Lesson 4: The Police (Part 2. Their Powers, Procedures, and Problems)

    A closer look at the authoritative powers vested in the police, the procedures they follow, and the inherent challenges and criticisms they navigate.

  5. Lesson 5: The Courts (Part 1. The Players)

    Understand the courtroom dynamics, roles of various players like the judge, jury, prosecutor, and defense attorney, and their concerted efforts in delivering justice.

  6. Lesson 6: The Courts. (Part 2. Justice is Served)

    Witness the culmination of legal processes, trials, judgments, and their aftermath, ensuring that justice is not just served, but seen to be served.

Pop Culture & Justice

Throughout this course, references from movies, books, and TV shows will illuminate real-world parallels, offering insights and challenging misconceptions. From understanding the rights presented in the iconic "Miranda statement" to discerning fact from fiction in courtroom dramas, we'll unravel how media shapes our perception.

An Impartial Journey

This course refrains from taking a political or biased stance. Our journey is dedicated to understanding the system, warts and all, ensuring an unbiased, comprehensive view. Whether you're considering a career in the realm of law, seeking personal enlightenment, or desiring to be an informed citizen, this course promises a deep, enriching dive into the heart of American justice. Join us, as we navigate the labyrinth of the U.S. criminal justice system, demystifying its operations, understanding its players, and appreciating its continual pursuit of justice.

Course Motivation

Criminology Basics…

Are you fascinated by the criminal mind?

Are you captivated by the processes, procedures and – most importantly – the results of forensic evidence and detective work?

Are you a big fan of “true crime” bestsellers and blockbusters?

Are you contemplating breaking into a career in the field of criminology?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you can’t afford to miss out on the knowledge to be gained from this online course.

It’s an exciting world – full of clues, criminals, and sometimes frustrating legal and ethical constraints, added to the heady satisfaction of knowing that at the end of the day, justice has prevailed.

It’s also a world that demands dedication and a sharp mind. It can be challenging – even downright tough - but it’s not once constrained to cops, the justice system or criminal justice.

Criminology Basics offers continuously open enrollment and offers you the chance to dive in and explore the inner workings of the police, courts, and the corrections system.

In the space of six lessons – everyone one of which is understandable and easy to digest – you’ll have gained a balanced, impartial “birds-eye-view” of both the legal issues and public policies that decide how (and if) the criminal justice system works.

There’s no need to site around, waiting for the semester to open. Enrollment is open 24/7 so don’t put it off any longer…

Criminology Basics is a great match if you’re on the lookout for educated insight into crime control, the criminal mindset, police related controversies, due process, life inside our prison systems and rehabilitating criminals – just to name a few.

It serves as an essential foundation for those considering careers in the fields of criminal law, business law, or behavioral science. However, it’s equally ideal for any criminology enthusiast hoping to gain a comprehensive understanding of how and why the criminal system works.

All course materials are provided by the instructor, so the only thing you need to bring with you is a high school reading ability.

Criminology Basics is broken down into six individual lessons – all working
together to achieve nine essential course goals. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have everything you need in order to:

·        Define the purpose and objectives of the criminal justice system

·        Identify the system’s supporting concepts

·        Understand crime in relations to it’s two major aspects – legal and behavioral

·        Instantly identify the structure of the police system

·        Truly understand the nature of police work

·        Comprehend police powers, citizen’s rights and their relationship to our nation’s constitution

·        Grasp the structure of America’s criminal courts and the roles of the players who are involved

·        Better understand the trial process, and

·        Achieve an accurate representation and understanding of our nation’s prison system.

The course comes complete with all of the materials and resources that you’ll need in order to excel. There’s no need to purchase any additional books, supplies or memberships.

Every one of the six lessons is followed by one or two assignments. These aren’t the typical multiple choice variety either – they’ll actually encourage you to form your own opinions and judgments regarding numerous issues. In order to successfully complete the course, you’ll need to maintain an average grade of 70% or better.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(2,086 votes)

Lesson 1. The Criminal Justice System

In this lesson we will examine the purpose and the intended result of the criminal justice system, the concepts that support this system, and why so many law enforcement professionals are necessary to keep this system functioning. 38 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: Introductions
  • Complete: Assignment 1: Do we need a criminal system?
  • Complete Assignment: Laws
  • Assessment: Lesson 1- The Criminal Justice System

Lesson 2: The Criminal and the Crime

In this lesson we will examine the legal and behavioral aspects of crime: such as why things are not legal, who are the criminals, the types of crimes committed, what goes on in a criminals mind, the statistics and the extent of crime. Additional lesson topics: Criminal Types; Cyber Crime 90 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Does Crime really pay?
  • Complete Assignment: White Collar Crime
  • Assessment: Lesson 2- The Criminal and the Crime

Lesson 3: The Police (Part 1. To Serve and Protect)

In this lesson we will examine the nature of police work, who are the police, what do the police do, what resources they use, the development and structure of police systems in the United States, and what are the limitations of the police structure? Additional lesson topics: US Police Systems; The first Police Department in America; Entrapment vs Sting 57 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3: Is there an alternative to forcing good behavior?
  • Complete Assignment: The First Police Department in America
  • Assessment: Lesson 3- The Police (part 1)

Lesson 4: The Police (Part 2. Their Powers, Procedures, and Problems)

In this lesson we will examine police powers, citizen rights and the constitution, topics will include what powers the police have, what rights do the citizens have, and what are some of the police problems that tend to always exist. Additional lesson topics: Bootleggers and the Police 42 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Why Do Some Police Break the Law?
  • Complete Assignment: Bootleggers and the Police
  • Assessment: Lesson 4- The Police (part 2)

Lesson 5: The Courts (Part 1. The Players)

In this lesson we will examine the structure of American Criminal Courts and the players involved, the prosecutors, defense attorneys, the judge, and other performers at the bar of justice. Additional lesson topics: United States Justice System 57 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Do you think our justice system is too complex?
  • Complete Assignment: The American Justice System
  • Complete Assignment: The Supreme Court
  • Assessment: Lesson 5- The Courts (part 1)

Lesson 6: The Courts. (Part 2. Justice is Served)

In this lesson we will examine the process of a trial, from the first appearance to the sentence, appealing, and judgment of death. We will also examine the American Prison experience: topics will include the inmates experience, the 5 levels of prison, life i Additional lesson topics: Death Sentence; Life in Prison 224 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Your Opinion Matters: Course Rating; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Retributive or Rehabilitative?
  • Complete: Final Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: Is the Death Penalty effective in deterring crime?
  • Assessment: Final Exam
  • Assessment: Lesson 6- The Courts (Part 2)
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize the criminal justice system.
  • Summarize the role of police in society.
  • Summarize the power, procedures, and problems of police in society.
  • Describe the court systems and court procedures in society.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Criminology Basics
Course Number: 9770641
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (2,086 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: November 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.3 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I think this course was very useful and gives a broad but deeper understanding of all the components/parties that come together to create the justice system." -- Rebecca B.
  • "I liked this course a lot because it helped me learn more about the law much more than I already knew." -- Terrence H.
  • "I really enjoyed this course and the instructor was very helpful and really made me think about my assignments." -- Joy J.
  • "I thought the course was insightful and well laid out and very easy to follow along with." -- Jessica lynn H.
  • "I really learned alot in this course and enjoyed working with the instrutor." -- Jennifer K.
  • "The whole course was very helpful." -- Jennifer K.