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Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

Course Code: CRIM 1100
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines the Canadian Criminal Justice System from a systems approach. A criminal incident will be followed through the system from detection to apprehension of the offender to the end of any formal or informal disposition. The factors involved in the discretion, decisions and practices of the system, including statutory and voluntary agencies will be studied. The functions and dysfunctions of the system will be analyzed and current issues and reform initiatives will be reviewed.

Course Content

  1. The systems approach to the study of the Canadian Criminal Justice System.
  2. Sources of law and the role of government
  3. Criminal law and criminal justice in Canada
  4. Crime control philosophy and criminal justice policy
  5. Crime rates, crime trends, and perceptions of crime
  6. The Criminal Code of Canada and related Statutes
  7. The various parts of the Canadian Criminal Justice System and the impact these parts have on the cases passing through the system.
    • services for victims
    • the police
    •              policing roles, styles, and functions
    •              police powers and legal protection
    • the courts
    •              court role and structure
    •              major actors in the Canadian system
    •              sentencing
    • corrections
    •              probation and community corrections
    •              jails and penitentiaries
    •              conditional release
    •              parole (federal and provincial)
  8. Current issues and challenges for reform such as:
    • criminal justice for youth
    • mental health
    • Indigenous justice
    • restorative justice
    • diversity
    • fear of crime
    • community-based policing
    • sentencing
    • community court
    • crime prevention
  9. Future Directions

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lectures, and may include field trips, guest speakers, audio-visual presentations, debates, and individual readings by students.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The course will include multiple methods of evaluation including at least one written component. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be: 


Attendance and participation tasks 10%
Group presentation (with written outline) 10%
Annotated biolography 15%
Term paper (e.g. argumentative essay, policy development, case analysis, journal, blogs, reflective essay) 20%
Midterm (contains writing component such as short or long essay, critique, case analysis) 20%
Final (contains writing component such as short or long essay, critique, case analysis) 25%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Analyze criminal justice from a systems perspective
  2. Identify sources of criminal law and explain its relevance to criminal justice in Canada
  3. Describe crime control philosophy and its influence on criminal justice policy
  4. Analyze and interpret crime and victimization patterns and trends
  5. Explain the role of the public and media in criminal justice
  6. Describe the progression of an offender through the subcomponents of the Canadian criminal justice system
  7. Describe the structure and function of the following components of criminal justice:
    • the police
    • the courts
    • corrections
  8. Identify current criminal justice issues and challenges for reform.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.