Course Title: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Una Stone

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 2799

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.4.12D

Course Coordinator Availability: Contact by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course, you will be introduced to the inter-disciplinary field of criminal justice and the three arms of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, adjudication, and corrective services.  You will study the history, purposes, policies, and functions of the public service agencies that make up the Australian criminal justice system as well as understanding how the criminal justice system and the laws it enforces are a function of government and the public policy decisions taken by representatives of government. There would be no laws were there not law makers who, in the case of Australia, are our elected parliamentary representatives. The course includes an overview of the concepts of  punishment, rehabilitation and penal reform (including alternative justice systems).  It  considers and evaluates different means of sanctioning criminal offenders (i.e. those who break criminal laws) and looks at sentences that are served in correctional institutions and those that take the form of community based activities.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

a) Discuss the systemic nature of the criminal justice system, its agencies and their efficiency as a key component of social governance;
b) Identify a range of perspectives related to the history, development, purposes and functions of key criminal justice agencies;
c) Investigate individual components within the criminal justice system, and their relationship to the other components that form this system;
d) Explain contemporary developments in the criminal justice system and evaluate these in respect of their strengths and weaknesses;
e) Describe how criminal justice involves public policies that are developed within the political framework of the democratic process.

In this course, you will develop the following graduate capabilities:

  • Informed professional practice
  • Ethical practice

Overview of Learning Activities

This course is delivered in a face-to-face mode with a blend of learning activities, which may include lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, videos and student led discussions.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is generally a prescribed text for this course. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the learning outcomes of this course and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include examinations, tutorial presentations, and essay writing. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: