This section will broadly introduce crime, criminal justice, and criminology. This section is designed to be a broad overview of what the subsequent chapters will cover in detail. It also demonstrates how the United States creates laws, policies enacted to enforce laws, and the role of the media. After reading this section, students will be able to:
- Understand the differences between deviance, rule violations, and criminality
- Explain the differences between the interactionist, consensus, and conflict views in the creation of laws
- Identify the three components of the criminal justice system
- Discuss the differences between crime control and the due process model, and application examples to each
- Describe the wedding cake model theory and application examples to each tier
- Briefly explain the role of the media and how media may spread myths in society
- Briefly understand the unique role of victims in the criminal justice process
Background Knowledge Probe: The goal here is to assess current knowledge about the criminal justice system at the start of the course. Each of these topics is covered throughout the course, and they will often be a controversial topic and topics for debate.
You will indicate whether you know each statement to be True or False, but there is no right or wrong answer since it is just to assess your background knowledge.
1. Blacks commit more crimes than any other racial group.
2. The United States has the lowest recidivism rates in the world (return to prison).
3. The death penalty is cheaper than life imprisonment.
4. Politicians shape our thoughts on crime, even if they are inaccurate.
5. Children are most likely to be killed by a stranger.
6. A stranger is most likely to physically harm you.
7. White-collar crime costs our country more every year than street crime.
8. Juveniles are more violent today than ever before.
9. Immigrants commit more crimes than native-born people.
10. Violent crime has risen in the United States over the last 20 years.