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Course Description

small bronze statue of lady justice holding scales

The course provides an overview of the policy process and outcomes of the Canadian criminal justice system. Particular emphasis is placed on examining, using various public policy and public management perspectives, the practices and interactions of governmental agencies within the system, such as police agencies and boards, departments of Justice, Solicitor-General, corrections and parole agencies, courts and the legal profession.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify the primary agencies and actors in the Canadian criminal justice system and assess how they relate to one another;
  2. Analyze and evaluate the operation of the criminal justice system for strengths and weaknesses in terms of accountability, transparency, independence, and oversight;
  3. Explain and examine the policymaking process and the relationship between politics and public policy;
  4. Recognize the challenges and unique nature of criminal justice policy; and
  5. Conduct basic legal and public policy research.

Course Topics

  • The criminal justice system, criminal code, and media
  • Public policy and criminal justice policy
  • The constitution, executive and federalism
  • Police governance, policing and politics
  • Police accountability and oversight, Mr. Big
  • Prosecution and defence
  • Judiciary and courts
  • Sentencing and sentencing policy
  • Corrections and conditional release
  • Victims’ rights
  • Indigenous peoples and the criminal justice system
  • Criminal justice reform

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 1 of POLS*2350, POLS*2250, POLS*2300

Restriction(s): This is a Priority Access Course. Enrolment may be restricted to particular programs or specializations or semester levels during certain periods. Please see the departmental website for more information.


Assessment Item Weight
LEGIS Info Policy Paper 25%
Midterm 20%
Sentencing Policy Paper 25%
Sentencing Policy Paper Review 5%
Mr. Big Documentary Discussion 5%
Online  Final Exam 20%
Total 100%



Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.

  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.

  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.

  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.

  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (You will be required to do an environment scan of your room, so please ensure you can move your computer, laptop or webcam for this scan.)

  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that you access the Internet via a wired connection.

This course uses Zoom as a video communication tool. A Webcam, a microphone to record video, and headphones/speakers to play back the recording are also needed. In order to use Zoom, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)

  2. Speakers and a microphone – built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

  3. A webcam or HD webcam - built-in or USB plug-in

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.


Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in

Section Title
Governing Criminal Justice
September 10, 2020 to December 04, 2020
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $2,748.00 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes

Students require access to a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) There is no required textbook for this course
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