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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%
Online Midterm 20%
Sentencing Policy Paper 25%
Sentencing Policy Paper Review 5%
Mr. Big Documentary Discussion 5%
Take-Home Final Exam 20%
Total 100%



Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the following:

  • Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. 

Please view the Technical Considerations.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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