General Education Common Graded Assignment: CRJU 101 Spring 2020
Criminal Justice Decision Making
CRJU 101 is a general education course designed to assist students in the development of critical life
skills. One of the goals of this assignment is to assess student competence for each of these objectives:
I. Written and Oral Communication— summarize the historical development of institutional
corrections and current issues related to the inmate population, including its relationship to
global incarceration rates (CCO 10)
II. Critical Analysis and Reasoning— analyze the structure and role of law enforcement in a diverse
IV. Information Literacy – find, evaluate, use and cite appropriate academic resources in order to
analyze a contemporary issue currently faced by the criminal justice system (CCO15)
VI. Local and Global Diversity— analyze sentence disparities as they relate to gender, geographical
area, race, and socio-economic status (CCO 9)
VII. Personal and Professional Ethics— correlate the discretion that is exerted throughout the
criminal justice process with the importance of ethical decision-making at each step (CCO14)
ASSIGNMENT: The criminal justice system in the United States is made up of three major components:
law enforcement, courts, and corrections. As a criminal contact/case progresses through these stages,
discretionary decisions are made that impact the outcome and/or progression of the contact/case.
Students will select one of the major aspects within these stages (arrest, bail, plea bargains, and
incarceration) and discuss the current discretionary practices with a focus on disproportionate minority
contact. This discussion will occur through a written essay.
Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to research issues of inequality in the justice system
in a critical manner, explore how they are currently being addressed, and to propose additional
solutions that may remedy the issue.
Audience: The audience of this project is an educated adult who is an outsider to the field of
criminal justice; students need to make sure their answers are self-explanatory and do not
require additional clarification.
Directions: See Attached Assignment information for detailed instructions.
• The document, submitted to SafeAssign, must be type-written, double-spaced, one inch
margins, and 12 point font. There is NO page minimum; rather students should be concerned
with their comprehensive/exhaustive coverage of the topic area.
• Students must use APA format for citations and references; students must cite sources in the
body of the report (in-text citations) and include a list of sources at the end of the report
• Resource material must be from sources that have been evaluated by students for credibility. At
a minimum, students will need:
o 1 (one) credible source from a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article,
o 1 (one) source from a credible government/professional organization
o Additional resource material is encouraged
• Utilize library databases to locate appropriate sources.
• Students will also want to review the CCBC Library Guide created for this assignment. The
library guide can be found at: https://libraryguides.ccbcmd.edu/c.php?g=346551&p=5331613
• This assignment will account for at least 10% of the total course grade.
• See attached rubric for details about how your submission will be graded
• There are several due dates associated with the paper:
o Group meeting regarding assignment – February 24, 2020 – ONLINE using Zoom
If you can not attend, notify Professor Jones by 2/11/2020
Students that do not attend the group meeting must compelte the alternate
assignment and submit via Blackboard course email to Professor Jones by March
o Requests for individual meeting – April 3, 2020
o Individual student meetings – April 14 – April 17, 2020
Completed papers must be submitted to Drop Box 1 at least 48 hours before
your scheduled meeting
o Revised Paper Due – April 24, 2020
• Students will submit their papers through Blackboard using SafeAssign.
Criminal Justice Decision Making Assignment Instructions
Due: As determined by the individual instructor or professor.
Assignment: Students will discuss in an informational essay the disproportionate minority contact at
one of the major criminal justice decision making points. Students will review and present current data
(from federal and/or state sources) on race and ethnicity and socio-economic class as it applies to their
paper’s focus. Data must include information that discusses how this represents a disproportion.
Information can include data charts with explanations.
Decision Making Points: (students are to select ONE)
• Plea Bargains;
• Bail; or
At each of these decision making points, discretion is used by the criminal justice actors (police officers,
judges, prosecutors, etc.). Students will summarize two possible reasons (one paragraph each) that
discretion at these points may have led to the disproportionate minority contact. Students may want to
explore this discretion through the lens of systemic racism, personal bias, etc. that is supported by
Students will then summarize information on two current practices/policies at the federal, state, or local
level that is addressing the disproportionate minority contact. After summarizing the aboveinformation, students are expected to assess the efficacy of the present policies and practices and
provide their rationale for deeming them ineffective/effective.
Before concluding the essay, students will discuss ideas for at least two practices/policies that they
predict would decrease disproportionate representation of minorities in the research. Each of these
paragraphs must explore why their programs and/or practices would decrease the disproportionate
Grading: Students will be graded on the completeness of the assignment as well as the quality and
thoroughness of their paper. Failure to follow instructions can result in point deductions.
NOTE: By providing the required items students can achieve a ‘C’ grade on this assignment. Students
wanting to earn a higher grade will need to provide substantive additional details and analysis. They can
provide notably extra detail on the above information areas (