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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CRIM 2521: Introduction to the Canadian Criminal Justice System

This course provides an introduction to the criminal justice system. The course content includes an introduction to the way criminal ustice operates and also examines the way the police are organized and operate in Canada. The consideration of the criminal courts and the operation of the correctional system is included.

This course examines the Canadian criminal justice system from a systems approach. Criminal incidents are followed through the system from detection and apprehension of the offender to the end of any formal or informal disposition. The factors involved in the discretion, decisions and practices of the entire system, including the functions and dysfunctions of the system are analyzed and current issues and reform initiatives are reviewed.

Learning outcomes

  • Analyze criminal justice from a systems perspective.
  • Review patterns of crime and victimization
  • Review the role of the public and the media in criminal justice
  • Define the passage of an offender through the sub-components of the Canadian criminal justice system.
  • Describe the structure and function of the following components of criminal justice: the police, victim services, the courts, probation and community corrections, jails and penitentiaries, parole (federal and provincial), Identify current criminal justice issues and challenges for reform.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: The Foundations of Criminal Justice
  • Unit 2: Understanding the Criminal Justice System
  • Unit 3: Considerations in the Study of Criminal Justice
  • Unit 4: The Structure and Roles of The Police
  • Unit 5: Police Powers and Decision Making
  • Unit 6: Police Strategies, Operations, and Engagement
  • Unit 7: The Structure and Operation of Canadian Courts
  • Unit 8: The Prosecution of Criminal Cases
  • Unit 9: Sentencing
  • Unit 10: History, Attributes of Correctional Institutions, and Treatment
  • Unit 11: Corrections in the Community, Alternatives to Confinement and Release, Reentry, and Reintegration
  • Unit 12: Going Forward—Challenges to and Opportunities for Criminal Justice Reform

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Griffiths, C. T. (2019). Canadian criminal justice: A primer + Minute School Postcard (6th ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-17-672440-5


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 15%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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