Introduction to Criminal Justice

I.     Course Prefix/Number: LAE 101

       Course Name: Introduction to Criminal Justice

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course studies history, development, operation and philosophy of American criminal justice system.  Content includes legislative, police, prosecutor, courts and corrections agencies involved in administration of criminal justice;  current issues and trends; juvenile justice system and career opportunities.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will have an understanding of:
A.    The philosophical and historical background of American law enforcement.
B.    An overview of the Criminal Justice System.
C.    Law enforcement terminology.
D.    The role of police, courts, and corrections.
E.    The types of crimes and criminals.
F.    The U.S. Constitution and court decisions.
G.    Law enforcement career requirements and opportunities.
H.    Police selection and training.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

1.    Crime and Justice in America.
2.    Crime, Victimization and Criminal Behavior.
3.    Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law.
4.    Police.
5.    Police Operations.
6.    Law Enforcement Issues and Trends.
7.    Prosecuting Attorney.
8.    Defense Attorney.
9.    Pretrial Processes.
10.    Courts.
11.    Sentencing.
12.    Corrections - Prisons.
13.    Probation and Parole.
14.    Current Issues and Trends.
15.    Juvenile Justice.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture/Discussion/A.V./Class Projects
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading/Writing/Class Report/Projects

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Two exams, quizzes, class participation, attendance, class report, extra credit

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at