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Criminal Justice


In California, this course is UC a-g approved for elective credit in social studies (g) as part of the CPA Program. CPA teachers wishing to add any CPA program status a-g course to their school's official course list must participate in a half-day course-specific training offered through CDE. Criminal Justice engages students in examining the history, philosophy, structures, and functions of the American criminal justice system and juvenile justice systems, how they interact in the administration of justice, and their relationship to life in our society. Students will also explore and analyze the three major components of the criminal justice system: the police, the courts, and corrections. Emphasis is also placed on constitutional issues related to criminal justice and on students acquiring and demonstrating knowledge and skills in legal research, legal reasoning, and legal advocacy. Author: Please contact Patricia Clark, Director of Teaching and Learning at CCASN, for more information:

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

• Understand the nature of the rule of law, and describe its purpose in both Western democracies and in other nations throughout the world
• Identify various types of law, and explain purpose of each.
• Distinguish between individual rights and public order perspectives
• Explain society’s need for a system of order maintenance, and detail the rule of law within that system
• Expound upon the relationship of criminal justice to social justice and other wider notions of equity and fairness
• Explain the structure of the criminal justice system in terms of major components

Description of Activities

Unit Topics:
* Introduction to law (concepts of individual rights and public order; how and why a social contract, document, and/or law evolved; how laws are created, enforced, and interpreted, and the relationship between law and public policy at the federal, state, and local levels of government; gallery walk with images of law and justice)
* Social justice: Criminal justice as Social Control (How the law and legal systems can be used both to protect and to oppress individuals and groups, and how power is allocated within society.) (Concept maps for the words crime and justice)
* Goals of the American criminal justice system Components and Functions of the American Criminal Justice system
- The Consensus Model & The Conflict Model
*American Criminal Justice: The Process (including investigation and arrest, pretrial activities, adjudication, sentencing, and corrections)
* Due Process and Individual Rights
* The Role of the Courts in Defining Rights
* Social issues and costs
* The nature and development of criminal law
* Advocacy and Policy: How individuals and groups, including young people,can take action to influence our legal system and achieve justice
* Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: How the U.S. legal, political, and criminal justice system compares with the legal, political, and criminal justice systems, philosophies, and practices of other countries

Culminating Activity and/or Assessment

Students will participate in class presentations and debate, create a criminal justice process timeline, participate in mock trial & moot court competitions, and prepare a college and career portfolio.

Instructional Materials Needed

Textbooks, supplemental books on writing

Instructional Materials Provided

Detailed course outline, unit handouts and guides, lecture slides and notes, detailed description of common core standards alignment, etc.

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Additional criteria

Curriculum type: Course

Academic subject areas: Interdisciplinary; History/Social Sciences; Career-Technical Education; Career Exploration

States' Career Clusters: Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Secruity; Government & Public Administration

California Industry sector(s): Public Services

Duration: 1 year

Grade Targets: 10, 11, 12

Levels of Expertise for CTE: Capstone/Advanced, Concentration/Skill building

Targeted Support Materials: Community Involvement, Industry Involvement

Standards Addressed: Detailed documentation of alignment with Common Core, NGSS, C3 or CTE Standards provided

Professional Development Requirements/Recommendations: CPA teachers wishing to add any CPA program status a-g course to their school's official a-g course list must participate in a half-day course-specific training offered through CTE.

Keywords: criminal justice, law, society

Source: Colleague

Organization/Publisher: California Partnership Academy (CPA)

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