CJ 202:201 – Criminal Justice in America
Fall 2011
Tu – Th  9:30 – 10:50 


Link to Sakai log-in page

Instructor: Jane Siegel, Ph.D.
Office: 405-07 Cooper Street – Room 109 (entrance at rear of building)
Phone: (856) 225-6143
E-mail: jasiegel@camden.rutgers.edu
Home page: https://crab.rutgers.edu/~jasiegel/
Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-12:30; Wednesday 1:30-2:30, and by appointment
Teaching assistant: Frank Lord
E-mail: aflord02@gmail.com


Criminal Justice in America – 6th Edition, by George F. Cole and Christopher E. Smith, 2011.                                                           

The textbook can be purchased (or possibly rented) at the bookstore as well as at various on-line bookseller sites and at NelsonBrain.com,a site connected to the textbook publisher.  It also sells an electronic book version of the text.  

The textbook publisher maintains a web site that has resources that can help you prepare for exams, including on-line Web quizzes (called Tutorial Quizzes) and flash cards. You will be required to complete some of the on-line quizzes, so you should familiarize yourself immediately with the website. To get to the book’s on-line companion site, click here.


This course is intended to provide students with the following:

  • A comprehensive overview of the American criminal justice system, including the functions of its components, the role of the various participants and the purposes of crime control;
  • An appreciation of the interconnectedness of the components of criminal justice, which together create a social system;
  • An understanding of the basic precepts of substantive and procedural criminal law, including the concept of due process and its application throughout the criminal justice process;
  • An awareness of the importance of discretionary decisionmaking in criminal justice; and
  • A critical examination of controversial issues involving criminal justice institutions today and an appreciation for the role of public policy in criminal justice; and

 The above objectives are to be achieved through a process involving readings, lectures, group activities and class discussions.


This course provides an overview of crime and the criminal justice system in the United States. The course material will include an introduction to basic legal concepts such as the elements of a crime, the classification of offenses and legal defenses. Students will learn about the extent and nature of crime, the characteristics of criminals and victims, and the systems used to collect official crime statistics in this country. The history and functions of the major components of the criminal justice system – police, courts and corrections – will be presented along with the procedures involved in the arrest, adjudication and punishment of an offender, from the investigation of a crime through supervision of paroled inmates. Students will also become familiar with the mandates and limitations imposed on the system by the Constitution, court rulings and legislation. The course will deal with several contemporary issues confronting each part of the system, such as the use of force by the police, changes in sentencing policies and practices, and the growth in the prison population.


Students’ mastery of the readings and lecture materials presented in class will be evaluated on the basis of their performance on three tests and a final exam, participation in group activities in class that explore aspects of various course topics, self-assessments of required readings (available on-line and referred to as “Tutorial Quizzes”), and class participation.

Make-up exams will be given only if you have obtained my permission to be excused from the actual exam prior to the time of that exam.  


Students are expected to attend class regularly and to have completed all assigned readings prior to the date for which they are assigned (see schedule below). Some of the readings are available through Sakai, which is used as well for on-line discussions, so click here for important information about access to Sakai.

Points in this category will be earned through class attendance and through contributions to class discussions either in class or on-line via discussions conducted through Sakai.  Students who miss a class are responsible for getting notes from someone else in the class and for finding out about any assignments that were given out that day.

Tutorial Quizzes

The publisher’s course web-site for the Cole and Smith text includes a Tutorial Quiz for every chapter. We will be covering 13 chapters in the textbook. Students will complete the Tutorial Quiz for ten chapters of their choice; each Tutorial Quiz will be worth a point toward your final grade (i.e. ten points altogether). To receive credit for a Tutorial Quiz, you must: a) answer all the questions in a given quiz and b) e-mail the results of the quiz to Frank Lord the same week a chapter is assigned.  Assignments will be accepted only the week a chapter is assigned and only until Friday of that week. NO EXCEPTIONS!!  If you complete a Tutorial Quiz early, e-mail the results to yourself, wait until the week it is due and then forward it to Frank.

These quizzes are intended to help you learn the material in the textbook and prepare for the exams. Thus, you will receive credit for the quiz regardless of your score on it. In addition, the quizzes will alert us to individuals who may need additional support if we see that they are consistently scoring poorly on the quizzes. They will also bring to our attention questions that a large proportion of the class gets wrong and that therefore may merit further explanation in class.

For instructions on doing the Tutorial Quizzes, click here.


Final grades will be computed on the following basis:

Tests  48% (16% each)
Final exam  20%
Tutorial Quizzes  10%
Group activities  12% (3% each)
Class participation and attendance


The college’s academic integrity policy will be enforced in this class. Using other students’ work or committing plagiarism are considered extremely serious offenses that can result in a tarnished official record or even expulsion from the university. Students are encouraged to read our department’s plagiarism policy, which includes some useful links to other sites that may help you avoid plagiarizing inadvertently. If you are in doubt about what might constitute plagiarism in an assignment, please check with me.


Students with disabilities requesting accommodations in the class are encouraged to contact Associate Dean Tom DiValerio, the person charged with evaluating requests for accommodations due to disability, as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Mr. DiValerio’s phone number is 225-2663; his e-mail address is disabilityservices@camden.rutgers.edu. Special accommodations will be made upon notification from his office that they are required. Information about disability services can be found at https://learn.camden.rutgers.edu/disability-services


Some basic classroom etiquette will help ensure that all students get the maximum benefit of classroom activities and lectures, so please observe the following:

  • Cellphones off!
  • No texting during class.  Electronic devices utilized for texting during class will be confiscated and returned at the end of the class.
  • Come to class on time.  Late arrivals are disruptive to your colleagues and the classroom.  Late arrivals will be considered absences.
  • The class is 80 minutes long.  Please plan accordingly and refrain from leaving the room and returning.  As with late arrivals, people walking in and out are disruptive to the classroom.
  • Be respectful of other students.  Differences of opinion are to be expected and can make for stimulating intellectual growth.
  • Do not engage in private conversations during class.
  • If you’d like to read something during class time, please do so outside the classroom.


Assigned readings should be done prior to the date where they appear. The schedule outlined below represents my intended timetable, but adjustments may be made during the semester and additional readings may be assigned.

Students are responsible for knowing the material in the readings, regardless of whether it is discussed in class or not. In other words, your tests will include materials from class lectures and your readings, unless otherwise noted.  Taking notes on your readings and seeking clarification of any readings you find difficult to understand are strongly recommended.


The last day you can submit the Tutorial Quizzes (TQ) for a given chapter is shown in the schedule below. You can submit the quiz to Frank any day during the week a chapter is assigned.  For example, you can submit the quiz for Chapter 1 on, say, Sept. 7, but you cannot submit it after Sept. 9.  And remember: you decide which ten quizzes you want to submit in order to receive the full amount of credit available for this assignment.

Introduction and course overview

9/6 The system of criminal justice.
Steps in the criminal justice process.
Justice and our multicultural society.
Cole & Smith, Ch. 1 Click on the following title to go to this on-line document:

“Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System”

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 1:  9/9


NOTE:  No class Thursday 9/8.  Monday classes to meet on this date!

9/13 Defining and measuring crime.
What causes crime?
Cole &  Smith, Ch.  2

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 2:  9/16
9/20 Substantive and procedural criminal law. Cole & Smith, Ch. 3 Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 3:  9/23

9/27 Substantive and procedural criminal law (continued) Available in Readings section of Sakai:

“Iraq’s Legal System Staggers Beneath the Weight of War”

Group activity 1 –  9/27 – Be sure to have read “Iraq’s Legal System” before the group activity


EXAM 1 – 9/29

10/4 History, functions and organization of the police. Cole & Smith, Ch. 4

Ch. 3 of  “Understanding Community Policing” (this reading is on the Web, not in Sakai, so click the title to get to the document)

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 4:  10/7

Includes Chapters 1 – 3, plus associated readings

10/11 Police operations and services.

Issues in policing

Cole & Smith, Ch. 5 Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 5:  10/14

10/18 Police and the rule of law. Cole & Smith, Ch. 6
Available in Readings section of Sakai:

“The Exclusionary Rule”
“In Defense of the Search and Seizure Exclusionary Rule”

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 6:  10/21

Group activity 2 –  10/20



10/25 Court structure.

Judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys

Cole & Smith, Ch. 7

Click on the following title to go to this on-line document:

Chapter Two: Race and Prosecutorial Discretion of “Justice on Trial” by the Leadership Council on Civil Rights

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 7:  10/28

EXAM 2 – 10/25
Includes Chapters 4 – 6, plus associated readings covered in Messner, Ch.
 4 and 5 (i.e. crosstabs)

11/1 Pretrial processes, including bail and detention
Plea bargaining, trials and appeal
Cole & Smith, Ch. 8

Availbale in Readings section of Sakai:

“The Case Against Plea Bargaining”
“In Defense of Plea Bargaining”

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 8:  11/4


11/8 Rationales for punishment. Forms of sanctions. Sentencing. Cole & Smith, Ch. 9


Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 9:  11/11

Group activity 3 – 11/10

11/15 History and organization of corrections. Incarceration and corrections issues. Cole & Smith, Ch. 10


Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 10:  11/19

EXAM 3 – 11/15
Includes Chapters 7 – 9 plus associated readings 

11/22 History and organization of corrections. Incarceration and corrections issues. (cont’d.)
“Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship”

Available in Readings section of Sakai:

“Comparative International Rates of Incarceration: An Examination of Causes and Trends”

NOTE:  No class Thursday 11/24 – Thanksgiving!
11/29 Probation and intermediate community sanctions Cole & Smith, Ch. 11

 Available in Readings section of Sakai:

 “A decade of experimenting with intermediate sanctions: What have we learned?”

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 11:  12/2

12/6 Incarceration Cole & Smith, Ch. 12

Click on the following title to go to this on-line document:

“The Psychological Impact of Incarceration:  Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment”
(paper prepared by Craig Haney for the “From Prison to Home” National Policy Conference)

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 12:  12/9
Group activity 4 – 12/8

12/13 Release from imprisonment and supervision in the community Cole & Smith, Ch. 13

 Available in Readings section of Sakai:

“The Risks and Needs of the Returning Prisoner Population”

Last day to submit TQ for Ch. 13:  12/16

Last day of class: 12/13!
12/22     FINAL EXAM – 9:00 – 12:00 – Thursday, 12/22

The final exam is cumulative:  it covers all lecture material for the entire semester, plus the readings from the last unit (Corrections).

The final will be held in the same room where class is normally held.