This OER textbook is designed for an “introduction to criminal justice” class or a similar course. It is designed to provide a survey of the field, including police, courts, and corrections to students with no background in criminal justice.
Note that this introductory criminal justice text is designed to be accompanied by another text, Fundamental Cases in Criminal Justice.
This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.
Table of Contents
Prefatory Materials[ Preface ]
Chapter I: The Criminal Justice System[ Chapter Introductory Text ]
Section 1.1: Major Components[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 1.2: Roles, Objectives, and Limits in Criminal Justice[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 1.3: Measuring Crime[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 1.4: The Criminal Justice Process[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 1.5: The Criminal Justice Process (Continued)[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Chapter II: The Political and Legal Environment of Criminal Justice[ Chapter 2 Introductory Text ]
Section 2.1: Dual Federalism[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 2.2: Politics in Criminal Justice
Section 2.3 The Supreme Court[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 2.4: The Civil Rights Revolution[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section: 2.5: Theories of Punishment
Chapter III: Criminal Law[ Chapter Introductory Text ]
Section 3.1: Sources of the Criminal Law[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 3.2: Substantive Criminal Law[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 3.3: Elements of Crimes[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 3.4: Legal Defenses[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 3.5: Substantive Offenses[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Chapter IV: Law Enforcement[ Chapter Introductory Text ]
Section 4.1: Early History of Policing[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 4.2: Structure and Nature of Policing[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 4.3: Police Methods[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 4.4: Investigations and Specialized Units[ Text | Learning Resources ]
4.5: Legal Environment of Policing[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Chapter V: Courts and Sentencing[ Chapter Introductory Text ]
Section 5.1: State and Federal Courts[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 5.2: Prosecution and Defense[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 5.3: Pretrial Process[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 5.4: The Criminal Trial[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 5.5: Sentencing
Chapter VI: Prisons, Jails, and Community Corrections[ Chapter Introductory Text ]
Section 6.1: Jails[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 6.2 Prisons[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 6.3: Prisoner’s Rights[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 6.4: Probation[ Text | Learning Resources ]
Section 6.5: Parole
Appendix A: The Constitution of the United States
Appendix B: The Bill of Rights
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APA Citation McKee, A. J. (2015). Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System. Booklocker. https://www.docmckee.com/WP/cj/criminal-justice-an-overview-of-the-system/
10 thoughts on “Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System”
I’m writing to ask your permission to use your textbook for a dual class. I teach at Los Angeles Mission College, and I’m teaching a high school and college class via Zoom.
Finding a suitable textbook to use was difficult. Most of the materials are excellent, but that excellence has a price, and they are unusable.
By that I mean Schallenberger, Brohm, etc. produce 600+ pages, double columned and they look nifty, but they are not. The books are way too comprehensive, and go into details that would be better taught in advanced criminal law/procedure classes.
Your book is not intimidating to students, and covers everything the other books try to do. It’s a Godsend to have such a book. A colleague of mine suggested looking into it, an it was all systems go.
Let me praise you, and I will be looking forward to your other materials. I usually teach Report Writing, but I also teach the full array of Community College AJ classes.
To the point: May I use your book for the fifteen students (primarily high schoolers’) as an OER/ZTC class?
Again, I must thank you for making this subject not an obstacle, but an incentive to teach and learn. You know how to be succinct and it’s wonderful to see such.
I will also ask you if I may use the “Case” related book? I have not seen that, and the Bookstore representative I deal with at Mission College alerted me to that publication, and I see you listing it among your many writings.
DocMcKee — you’re one of those special people, and I appreciate finding this gem.
Absolutely! Thanks for your kind words and for letting me know you plan to use the texts. Note that in the online versions, if you navigate to the table of contents you’ll find “learning resources” such as learning objectives and powerpoints that may make life a little easier.
Mr. (“Doc”) Mckee
I only know two words to express to you for gratitude — Thank You.
One question: How do you use the OER system with your book?
I want to just give them text, and then go into the instructor resources. Are the students privy to the resources, etc.?
What a great book and a lifesaver. I will definitely add a year onto your life.
BTW, you must have lived an interesting one. If you have time, could you tell me (write) about yourself? You’re obviously very eclectic and smart.
Anyway, I have to go to my dual-enrollment class this afternoon, but much thanks.
Everything is on my website, so students have the same access as anyone else. All of the text and instructional resources are freely available. Those that prefer paper copies can buy those from any bookseller. There are also electronic versions (.e.g., Kindle). I’ve provided links to those under the “bookstore” tab on the top of my site. My CV is available under the “About Us” tab….although it is out of date.
We use Blackboard for all classes at my institution, so I put all of the text/links in there for students to find easily. I have an online version and a face-to-face version with all of the graded stuff removed. The content is identical.
Hello Dr. McKee,
I need a printable version of the textbook.
I would like to use your textbook for our prison program. We have a community college program called Rising Scholars and provide courses to incarcerated individuals. I teach an Introduction to Criminal Justice course and would like to use this textbook but the inmates do not have access to computers. I need a printable version for these students and was hoping I could get the PDF version of your textbook.
I regret I can’t provide that permission. Versions formatted for print violate my agreement with my publisher. Print versions have to be purchased.
Your book has been referenced in the National Technical Standards for the SkillsUSA Criminal Justice contest. I would like to be able to use your source with students in a high school/dual credit Criminal Justice program to create the contest which be used in an upcoming regional contest. I would link the source (from this website) through Canvas for student could access. Canvas is an LMS that requires a Username and Password for individual student use. I would like to print ONE copy for myself to use as I take notes in it for use in class as I work with the students on creating the contests.
In advance, I would appreciate the opportunity to use this resource in our classroom.
That sounds fine! Thanks for the information and kind words.
Hello Dr. McKee,
Thank you for this great resource! We are adopting your textbook/resources for our Introduction to Criminal Justice course at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Thanks for letting me know! Be aware that my second edition is coming out very soon, and all pages will be updated with the latest information! The link structure will not change, so nothing will break.