CRIM 2521

Introduction to the Canadian Criminal Justice System

3.0 Credits


Introduction to the Canadian Criminal Justice System, also known as SOCI 2521, provides an introduction to the criminal justice system. The course content includes an introduction to the way criminal justice 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.

The course requires thorough and critical engagement with the information contained in the course work.

Delivery Methods

Web, self-paced


An introductory social science course is recommended but not required.


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • 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 Outline

CRIM 2521: Introduction to the Criminal Justice System includes the following units:

  • Lesson 1: The Criminal Justice System: An Overview
  • Lesson 2: Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • Lesson 3: The Crime Picture in Canada
  • Lesson 4: The Police: History And Structure
  • Lesson 5: The Police: Roles and Functions
  • Lesson 6: Police Powers
  • Lesson 7: The Canadian Court System
  • Lesson 8: The Actors in the Courtroom Process
  • Lesson 9: Sentencing
  • Lesson10: Canadian Correction
  • Lesson 11: Alternatives to Incarceration
  • Lesson 12: Conditional Release

Course Duration

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

Students enrolling in this course will need to source the following textbook on their own:

Griffiths, Curt T. Canadian Criminal Justice, A Primer. 5th ed. Thomson Nelson, 2015.
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 9780176529208/0176529209

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet access.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.


To successfully complete the course, you must achieve at least 50% on the mandatory Final Exam and 50% in the overall course.

Your final grade for the course is determined on the following basis:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Online Discussions 10%
Research Essay 20%
Final Exam * 40%
Total 100%

* Mandatory