Department of Criminal Justice
Criminal justice is an interdisciplinary social science involving the study of crime and societal responses to it. The Department of Criminal Justice seeks to foster an environment of inquiry, innovation, and lifelong learning for students of criminal justice, who recognize, critically examine, and solve social problems related to crime and criminal behavior. To that end, the department offers a bachelor’s completion program for transfer students who want to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
PRCJ 110, Intro to Criminal Justice, 3 Units
This course will provide an overview of the field of criminology/criminal justice as an academic discipline. The academic discipline of criminal justice involves the scientific study of theoretical perspectives on crime and justice. In this course students will consider the respective roles of law, rehabilitation, public health, morality, and justice in the study of why crime occurs, how society responds to crime, and the scientific methods criminologists use to measure the extent of crime. The people who commit crime, the crimes they commit, and society's response to those actions cannot be fully understood outside the context of the larger criminal justice system, how it operates, the differential treatment of certain racial/ethnic groups, and the systems necessity in society. These issues are discussed throughout this course. Meets the General Education Requirement: Social Science.
PRCJ 200, Criminal Justice, Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, 3 Units
This course provides an experiential introduction to the criminal justice system. Issues of ethics, justice, and poor relations between criminal justice professionals and community members, are issues every 21st century criminal justice professional must be prepared to address. In this course students are introduced to types of civic engagement in a democracy as it relates to the criminal justice system. Students will organize community forums to address issues in policing, the courts, and the reintegration of offenders into the community. Meets the General Education Requirement: Civic Knowledge and Engagement.
PRCJ 220, Police and Society, 3 Units
This course introduces the history of policing and examines major trends in contemporary law enforcement. By comparing community policing, problem-oriented policing, evidence-based policing, and many others, students identify the legal framework of policing and administration of police work. This course also includes an in-depth examination of police behavior, police discretion, and societal attitudes toward law enforcement.
PRCJ 240, Introduction to Corrections: Jails and Prisons, 3 Units
Prisons are total institutions that exert control over inmates' daily lives, and this course provides an in-depth introduction to the historical evolution and current state of incarceration and detention in the United States. By focusing on the theories and ideologies informing punitive practices, the goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation are explored. Students take a critical look at life in prison by exploring how incarceration affects inmates and the potential consequences for society. Special emphasis is given to current controversies in jail and prison policy, such as overcrowding and violence.
PRCJ 250, Juvenile Justice, 3 Units
This course familiarizes students with the juvenile justice system, including types of delinquency, causes of delinquency (why a minor would engage in delinquent behavior), gang culture, social problems contributing to delinquency, law enforcement agencies that address delinquency, court proceedings, and court orders. Course material also addresses interventions that can be utilized with children who engage in delinquency, and prevention programs that reduce the risk factors contributing to delinquency.
PRCJ 251, Criminal Law, 3 Units
This course introduces students to the concepts of criminal law, including history and development, constitutional limitations on crimes and punishment, principles of criminal liability, criminal defenses, inchoate crimes, and elements of crimes against persons, property, and habitation.
PRCJ 280, American Court System, 3 Units
This course provides an analysis of the structure, process, and personnel involved in the American court system. By examining state and federal courts, students discover the relationship between the judiciary and other criminal justice functions. Special emphasis is given to current court reform programs and the role of technology in the courtroom.
PRCJ 310, Criminological Theories, 3 Units
In this course the student will identify different perspectives of crime causation, and critically assess why people commit crimes. Included are the ideas, worldview, and theories common to criminal justice professions regarding criminal motivation, what is considered a criminal act, how those acts should be handled, and the role of professionals in the criminal justice system.
PRCJ 340, Victimology, 3 Units
This course provides advanced study and critical appraisal of the theories and recent research on victims of crime. Such analysis focuses on the physical, emotional, and financial harm people suffer because of criminal activities, and the role of the victim in the criminal justice system. By exploring the relationships between the offender, the victim, and the criminal justice system, students gain a greater understanding of the frequently forgotten victims of crime. Students also discuss the programs and policies that have resulted from society's increasing concern about the rights of victims.
PRCJ 350, Race, Ethnicity, and Crime, 3 Units
Race, and companion factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, and age, are critical factors in the administration of criminal justice in the United States. This course critically examines race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class within the U.S. criminal justice system, providing an overview of the experiences of different racial and ethnic groups with different facets of the criminal justice system (e.g., policing, juvenile justice, sentencing, courts, etc.). This course also introduces students to theories about the treatment of the poor compared to the nonpoor in criminal offending, and examines theoretical issues of race and justice. Empirical understandings of the relationship between race, class, and gender and the criminal justice system are also discussed.
PRCJ 351, Criminal Procedure, 3 Units
This course offers a study of specific criminal procedural concepts, such as the right to counsel, exclusionary rule, search warrants, permissible warrantless searches, stop and frisk, entrapment, wiretapping, confessions, lineups, jury selection, voir dire, negotiated pleas, and postconviction relief.
Prerequisite: PRCJ 110 or consent of instructor.
PRCJ 355, Gender and Crime, 3 Units
This course explores the intersection between gender (with special focus on women) and crime. Topics include gender differences in offending, theoretical explanations for female offending, the social construction of offending, women as victims of crime and violence, the sexualization and criminalization of women's bodies, women's experiences with prison and the criminal justice system, and women working in criminal justice fields.
PRCJ 450, Forensic Psychology for Criminal Justice Professionals, 3 Units
This course provides an in-depth introduction to the science of psychology applied to the criminal justice system. Students explore the psychological principles related to eyewitness testimony, lineups, police interrogations, jury decision making, competence, insanity, and future dangerousness. Special emphasis is given to current research findings in forensic psychology.
PRCJ 460, Criminal Justice Internship, 3 Units
The internship program allows students to apply their learning and gain work experience within a professional criminal justice setting. Assignments help students view professional experiences through the lenses of multiple criminal justice professionals (e.g., law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, etc.), and allow students to network with professionals and gain experience for inclusion on resumes and job applications. Classroom time is spent in small groups with facilitated discussions, and focuses on processing learning in the field; addressing questions, challenges, or concerns regarding the experience; and encouraging thinking about professional and graduate work in related fields. Meets the General Education Requirement: Integrative and Applied Learning.
PRCJ 495, Special Topics in Criminal Justice, 3 Units
This course addresses topics of current interest in criminal justice not covered by core and elective courses. Topics vary by semester and may reflect new issues in the criminal justice system, theories, or faculty research interests in the field. This course may be taken more than once, as topics change.
PRCJ 496, Writing 3: Senior Capstone in Criminal Justice, 3 Units
This course provides students an opportunity to combine their learning experience from multiple courses in criminal justice into a research project that demonstrates their learning. This course will focus on writing instruction for students entering criminal justice professions. Students will expound on a contemporary issue in criminal justice and present their findings to professionals in the criminal justice field. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines.
Prerequisite: PRWR 262 (Writing 2) and a minimum of 90 units