Criminal Justice Essay



Project – Research Paper: Due Week 8

This assignment is to demonstrate your mastery of how the criminal justice system works. This assignment is designed to give you an opportunity to display your knowledge of the parts and processes of the criminal justice system. The more specific and detailed the paper is, the more effective it will be in demonstrating your understanding of the system.

Step 1. Find an article in the mass media describing a crime that has been committed. The article should contain considerable details regarding the crime, not just that a crime was committed. In finding your article describing the crime here are some examples of mass media sources: CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, Local newspaper websites, Local television station websites, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc.

Step 2. Describe the process that the offender would go through in the criminal justice system, beginning with arrest. For purposes of this assignment you are to assume that the offender will be eventually convicted, thus your paper should also include all stages in the criminal justice process subsequent to conviction. Upon conviction, you must also determine the probable sentence the offender will receive, (institutionalization or community-based supervision), explain why the sentence you have chosen would most likely occur, and what the offender can expect in light of this sentence. Students who exhibit mastery of this project and how the system works will also provide a probable alternative to the selected sentence, fully explaining “why” this alternative could also occur. In essence, this paper will track the offender from removal from the community by police, to return to the community free of imposed supervision.

Step 3. Conclude your analysis by discussing what you believe to be the weakest link in the criminal justice process and the strongest link in the process. Provide explanations to support your assessments for both. Careful critical thinking is required. Invest considerable effort in thinking about what you have learned over the course of the term in addressing this final aspect of the mission.

The sources you are to use to obtain information for your descriptions of the criminal justice process include the course reading material and two peer-reviewed journal articles. As an academic paper it must contain APA formatted citations throughout the paper whenever information is being presented from a source. You can find examples of citations and references through the following links:

Even though you may have personal experience in the field (e.g. police officer) or use knowledge obtained in previous courses, information used in this paper must be supported through the use of citations which meet the criteria for sources indicated above.

An example of the correct page header and title page format can be found in Unit 3 of the APA Tutorial in the Course Content.

Here are the sections that should appear in your paper, each of which should be subtitled as:

· Introduction

· Description of the crime

· Stages of the criminal justice process

· Weakest and strongest links in the criminal justice process

· Conclusion

Form and Format Requirements

· Paper should be a minimum of 1,500 words or about six pages

· Double space

· 12 pt. font

· 1” margins

· Use APA citations for all sources

· Include reference page (not included in word count)

· At minimum two sources

Additionally –

· Create a cover page for your assignment (not included in word count)

· Include your name

· Course title and number

· Project title

· Topic selected

· Date of submission

If you have any questions about this assignment, please contact your instructor.

General Grading Rubric for all written projects.

(The course instructor may adopt or modify this grading rubric.)

QUESTION STOPS HERE! Below how I would be graded.

Element Evaluated

Evaluation Criteria


Overall content of paper, analysis, presentation, or project

(40% of total grade available for this paper/project

Excellent: Content of the paper addresses all information required by assignment, demonstrates critical thinking skills, sophisticated analysis and other perspectives. (36-40%)

Superior: Content of the paper addresses most to all information required by assignments and demonstrates critical thinking skills, critical analysis and other perspectives. (32-35%)

Satisfactory: Content of the paper addresses a majority of the information required by the assignment and demonstrates some critical thinking skills, critical analysis and other perspectives (28-31%)

Unsatisfactory: Content of the paper address a minimal amount of the information required by the assignment and demonstration of critical thinking skills, critical analysis and other perspectives is lacking (11-30%)

Lacking: Paper submitted is unacceptable (0-10%)

Responsiveness to Project Description

e.g.; application of theory and knowledge to given facts


Organization, etc.


Excellent: Application of theory and knowledge is very evident. Use of topic-specific terminology is correct in all instances. Organization is relevant to topic, clear and understandable with logical flow. (27-30%)

Superior: Comprehensive understanding of theory and knowledge is shown. Use of topic-specific terminology has only minor errors. Minor mistakes in organization and style. (22-26%%

Satisfactory: Some understanding of theory and knowledge is shown. Topic-specific terminology is mostly correct. Organization is mostly relevant, clear, and logical (21-23%)

Unsatisfactory: Understanding of theory and knowledge is lacking in significant respects. Multiple mistakes in topic-specific terminology. Lacks relevance, is unclear, difficult to understand, or logic is missing. (11-20%)

Lacking: Understanding is absent. Correct topic-specific terminology not used. Disorganized, improper style (0-10%)

Formatting, references, and APA citations


Excellent: Assignment is formatted exactly as required, all required citations and references are present and APA standards are followed in every respect (14-15%)

Superior: Assignment is formatted as required with minor/inconsequential deviations, resource requirements are met, citations and references are present and APA standards are followed (12-13%)

Satisfactory: Assignment mostly formatted as required but missing some required elements/sources or some APA errors are evident (10-11%)

Unsatisfactory: Assignment is missing major elements, lacks required sources or APA is not followed however a different citation method is used correctly (5-9%)

Lacking: Assignment is not complete and/or citations and references are lacking (0-4%)

Grammar / Mechanics


Excellent: No or minor English and grammar usage errors (14-15%)

Superior: A few minor/inconsequential mistakes in English and grammar (12-13%)

Satisfactory: Some obvious mistakes evident in English and grammar usage (10-11%)

Unsatisfactory: Many mistakes evident in English/grammar usage (5-9%)

Lacking: So many mistakes that assignment is unacceptable (0-4%)

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