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 be able to:

  1. Discuss the philosophical and historical background of American law enforcement.
  2. Outline the Criminal Justice System.
  3. Interpret law enforcement terminology.
  4. Differentiate the role of police, courts, and corrections.
  5. Describe the types of crimes and criminals.
  6. Recall the U.S. Constitution and court decisions.
  7. Summarize law enforcement career requirements and opportunities.
  8. Discuss 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. Introduction to Criminal Justice
  2. Crime: The Search for Understanding
  3. Measuring Crime and Victimization
  4. Criminal Law: Crimes and the limits of law
  5. An Overview of Law Enforcement
  6. Oversight and Professionalism of Law Enforcement
  7. The Court System
  8. Courtroom Participants and the Trial
  9. Sentencing
  10. Jails and Prisons
  11. Probation and Parole
  12. Corrections in the Community
  13. The Juvenile Justice System
  14. Homeland Security

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

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

CJ 2015., James A. Fagin, Pearson Publications 2016, 2015, 2014.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Class attendance, participation and quizzes    20%
Class Project and Presentation 20%
Individual Paper 20%
Mid –Term Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D
Below 60    = F

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Current event articles encouraged.
  2. The Class Project and Presentation means conducting a face to face meeting with someone who currently works in the Criminal Justice system. Examples include a ride along with a Police Officer, interviewing a State’s Attorney, Defense Attorney, Judge, Corrections Officer or related position. The student will subsequently share their experience with the class while using Power Point as a visual outline during the presentation.
  3. The Individual Paper will be a Criminal Justice topic of the student’s choosing, subject to instructor approval. Example topics will be discussed in class. The length of the paper will be 5-6 pages, double-spaced, and typed, with proper use of APA guidelines. The paper will include a cover page and bibliography of sources. These are separate from the 5-6 pages of content.
  4. Class attendance is required. If you are unable to attend class for any reason, please notify the instructor prior to the class. Not attending class without prior instructor notification will be considered an unexcused absence. 2 or more unexcused absences may result in a maximum overall grade reduction of 6.6%. An excused absence will not adversely impact a student’s grade.

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

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.