CRIMj 465

Course Syllabus
Course Syllabus

The information contained on this page is designed to give students a representative example of material covered in the course. Any information related to course assignments, dates, or course materials is illustrative only. For a definitive list of materials, please check the online catalog 3-4 weeks before the course start date.

CRIMJ 465: Ethics in Criminal Justice (3): Ethical behavior in the criminal justice system. Prerequisite: CRIMJ 100 or permission of program.


This course is designed to be an in-depth survey of ethics as it pertains to the criminal justice system in America. Particular emphasis will be placed on ethics in policing because of the important role it plays, as police officers are “The Gatekeepers” of the criminal justice system. A critical view of certain issues will be taken from time to time, and students are encouraged to participate in discussion forums on these issues.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of CRIMJ 465, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key arguments substantiating the value of studying ethics in criminal justice
  • Define the terminology of ethics - such as, morals, ethics, values, ethical codes, ethical standards and dilemmas
  • Assess and analyze an ethical dilemma
  • Recognize the types of ethical dilemmas that confront criminal justice practitioners

Required Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check LionPATH approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.

Many of the University Libraries resources can be utilized from a distance. Through the Libraries website, you can

  • access magazine, journal, and newspaper articles online using library databases;
  • borrow materials and have them delivered to your doorstep—or even your desktop;
  • get research help via email, chat, or phone using the Ask a Librarian service; and
  • much more. 

You must have an active Penn State Access Account to take full advantage of the Libraries' resources and service.  The Off-Campus Users page has additional information about these free services.

Technical Requirements

For this course we recommend the minimum World Campus technical requirements listed below:

Technical Requirements
Operating System Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8*; Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
*Windows 8 support excludes the tablet only RT version
Processor 2 GHz or higher
Memory 1 GB of RAM
Hard Drive Space 20 GB free disk space
Browser We recommend the latest ANGEL-supported version of Firefox or Internet Explorer. To determine if your browser fits this criterion, and for advice on downloading a supported version, please refer to the following ITS knowledge base article: Supported Browsers and Recommended Computers.
Note: Cookies, Java, and JavaScript must be enabled. Pop-up blockers should be configured to permit new windows
from Penn State websites.

Due to nonstandard handling of CSS, JavaScript and caching,
older versions of Internet Explorer (such as IE 6 or earlier) do not work with our courses.
Plug-ins Adobe Reader [Download from Adobe]
Flash Player (v7.0 or later) [Download from Adobe]
Additional Software Microsoft Office (2007 or later)
Internet Connection Broadband (cable or DSL) connection required
Printer Access to graphics-capable printer
DVD-ROM Required
Sound Card, Microphone, and Speakers Required
Monitor Capable of at least 1024 x 768 resolution

If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the Service Desk.

For registration, advising, disability services, help with materials, exams, general problem solving, visit World Campus Student Services!

Arranging a Proctor

You will need to secure a proctor in order to take exams in this course. A proctor will not automatically be assigned to you; rather, you must make the necessary contacts to secure a professional who will serve in this capacity.
  1. Contact a person who meets the qualifications and ask him or her to proctor your exam.
  2. Student Services must approve your proctor before any exams can be taken. Please see instructions for securing a suitable proctor. While many proctors will serve on a voluntary basis, you are responsible for paying any expenses incurred in retaining a proctor.
  3. You must submit your proctor for approval or schedule your exams at a testing center using our online proctored exam portal. You will need to enter your proctor's contact information and submit proctor verification documentation. If you have any questions about using the procted exam portal, please visit the how-to guide. Note: If your proctor has been previously approved by the World Campus during a prior course within two years, you do not need to obtain verification. World Campus retains proctor information on file for two years.
  4. If your proctor does not meet the required specifications, Student Services will notify you within 5 to 7 business days.
  5. Students registered with Student Disability Resources who are receiving exam accommodations are responsible for providing their letter of accommodation to both faculty/instructors and exam proctors prior to scheduling exams.
  6. If you are a graduating senior requesting a final exam, please see additional information about early deadlines for course completion and exam scheduling.
  7. Contact Student Services if you cannot take a scheduled exam.
  8. Unless you have received permission to take your exam at an alternative time, your proctor will only allow you to take the exam during dates specified in your course.

Student Responsibilities

Your responsibilities in this course are working through lessons and assigned readings, completing activities and assignment, and participating in discussions. You are expected to complete all activities and assignments by the due date listed in the course syllabus. The course number and your name must be on all electronic documents that you submit to me. This prevents confusion when I print documents for grading.


It is a Penn State policy that e-mail is an acceptable form of communication and notification. Penn State makes e-mail accounts available to all students.  It is the student's responsibility to access their Penn State accounts.  This information may be obtained in the computer center.


ANGEL is the course management system (CMS) at Penn State. All e-mail correspondence for this course must be through the ANGEL system. You will be expected to check your ANGEL e-mail regularly if not daily. If you have your e-mail forwarded to another server, please know that it is not uncommon for outside servers to reject e-mail when your allotted space is full on that site. It is the student’s responsibility to be certain that forwarded e-mail is received. Know that the usual maintenance period for Angel is between 5:00 – 7:00 AM. During that time, ANGEL may not be available.

Course Assignments

  1. Three proctored exams (55 points) -- Exam #1 = 15 points, Exam #2 = 20 points, and Exam #3= 20 points

The exams will be be a mixture of multiple choice, fill-in the blank or short and long essay questions.

Students are allowed to bring notes with them during the exams. However, the notes could be only on one side of one-half of a standard 8.5X11 sheet of paper. The "crib notes" must be done on a computer. They could be reduced in size and font. BUT, they MUST be individual and not those of another student or students. The use of crib notes is OPTIONAL. However, any student that uses "crib notes" must answer the last question in each exam indicating that crib notes were used AND that they understand that the notes MUST be sent to the Instructor by attachment on ANGEL on the day the student takes the test.

  1. Two writing assignments using APA Style (5, and 15 points respectively)

NOTE: ABSOLUTELY NO QUOTED MATERIAL SHALL BE USED IN YOUR PAPER. THE ASSIGNMENT MUST BE PARAPHRASED IN YOUR OWN WORDS WITH PROPER PARAPHRASE CITATIONS. i.e., (Ruiz, 2008). There must be at least one paraphrased citation in each paragraph of the paper except for the Abstract, Introduction, and Conclusion letting the reader know the source of the information contained in that paragraph.

Each student will be assigned a topic regarding policing by the second class meeting. Students will be required to research their topic in the scientific journals, and shall incorporate no less than five (5) scientific journal articles of their assigned topic in their paper. The paper shall contain no less than 3,500 words, which s/he will be the sole author.

The paper requires that you present the facts about which you have read. These facts, however, must come from what you have read in those articles and only those articles. No other sources, including the textbook, are allowed. Aside from the Introduction and Conclusion, I expect each paragraph to have at least one citation in it directing the reader to the source of the information contained.  It is expected that students will construct their papers in such a way as to have all five articles represented equally.  The Introduction and Conclusion shall consist of no more than one page each.

All journal articles used to construct this paper 1) cannot be more than 10 years old, and 2) must be cited in the text of the paper and properly referenced. There are no exceptions to this rule!

The paper will be placed in the Drop Box labeled Topic Paper. Papers are due during the week of Lesson 11. Late papers will be accepted during the week of Lesson 12. Papers submitted after that time will not be accepted. All late papers are subject to a 10-point reduction in grade.

Note: APA style is required in all assignments including face page, abstract, and reference section

  1. Three Ethical Dilemma Movie Writing Assignments (5 points each, 15 points total)

Each of the Ethical Dilemma Movie Writing Assignments requires a paper 750 words in length. Papers below the required length will be assessed a penalty. These assignments are not book reviews. Specific characters in each movie are listed and an analysis of their ethical conduct will be expected. This will require the student to watch and listen closely to the video. These assignments require the same APA Style requirements as the other writing assignments above. The papers will be submitted to Drop Boxes labeled "Movie Writing Assignments" in their respective lesson folders.

Note: APA style is required in all assignments including face page, abstract, and reference section. For those unfamiliar with APA Style, this is a good time to become familiar with it because future writing assignments will require this style be used. If you are unfamiliar with APA Style, here are three resources we recommend:
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison's Web site.
  • David Warlick's Citation Machine.
  • The Penn State Library system. Follow the steps below:
    • Go to the PSU Library (LIAS);
    • Find the "Research Tools" link;
    • Select "Online Reference Resources" link;
    • Scroll down to "Writing Resources/Style Manuals" link;
    • Click on the "APA" link;
    • Last in the line of APA resources is "" link. This feature will provide a flawless citation for your Reference Section every time.
  1. Class participation (5 points)

The Participation grade will be awarded on the basis of the quality of the student’s participation in discussions and postings on the discussion forums.

  1. Plagiarism Test (5 points)

Prior to beginning the writing assignments, it is mandatory that you proceed to this web site take and successfully pass the Indiana University Bloomington School of Education Plagiarism Test.

You MUST pass this test no later than the end of Lesson 2. When you pass the test you will receive a certificate indicating that you have passed the test. Please copy that certificate and place it in the DROP BOX supplied for this assignment. You may take this test as many times as necessary but you must pass the test.

The purpose of this assignment is to inform students who may be unsure of what constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism will be dealt with harshly in this course and it is important that you understand what it is and how to avoid it. This is an excellent site that explains what plagiarism is and provides examples.


Grade Scale

A = 94.5-100% A- = 89.5-94.4%
B+ = 86.5-89.4% B = 82.5-86.4%
B- = 79.5-82.4% C+ = 74.5-79.4%
C = 69.5-74.4% D = 59.5-69.4%
F = <59.5%  

Grade Distribution

Class participation
Writing Assignments
Exam 1
Exam 2
Exam 3

Note: Successful completion or participation in each element of the above grading criteria will be mandatory for successful completion of this course. Failure to take the tests, or failure to submit the writing assignments will be grounds for a grade of "F" for the course.

Specific areas upon which I shall be concentrating when grading papers:

Grading of Writing Assignments

Grading of the writing assignments will be accomplished by concentrating on two areas equally: Content and Composition. Composition will encompass compliance to the requirements specified for each assignment. Each area is scored equally.

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information about University grading policies.

Deferred Grades

If, for reasons beyond the student's control, a student is prevented from completing a course within the prescribed time, the grade in that course may be deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. The symbol DF appears on the student's transcript until the course has been completed. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested by the student before the beginning of the final examination period. In an emergency situation, an instructor can approve a deferred grade after the final exam period has started. Under emergency conditions during which the instructor is unavailable, authorization is required from one of the following: the dean of the college in which the candidate is enrolled; the executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies if the student is enrolled in that division or is a provisional student; or the campus chancellor of the student's associated Penn State campus.

For additional information please refer to the Deferring a Grade page.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
Lesson 1: Course Introduction
  • Email exercise
  • Self introduction in the Discussion Forum
  • Dropbox Exercise
  • Library registration
  • Review exam information and secure your proctor

Lesson 2: Morality, Orality, Ethics, and Determining Moral Behavior
  • Textbook – Chapters 1 & 2
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Behavior Regulation
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Child Molesters and Cannibals
  • Send your Exam Request Form(s) to World Campus Student Services.

Lesson 3: Developing Moral and Ethical Behavior
  • Textbook – Chapters 3 & 4
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Ethical Dilemma
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Paradigms of Law

Lesson 4: Further Issues in Retributive Justice
  • Textbook – Chapter 5
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Marijuana
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Child Molestation Case
  • Reation Paper: Ethical Brief of Bowers v. Hardwick

  • EXAM 1

Lesson 5: The Ethics and the Criminal Justice Professional & The Police Role in Society
  • Textbook – Chapter 6
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Police Officers
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Culture of Loyalty
  • Reaction Paper: Police Job Description
  • Writing Assignment #1: Annotated Bibliography (Please complete the "How to Recognize Plagiarism" test via before you work on your writing assignment)

Lesson 6: Corruption and the “Code”
  • Textbook – Chapters 7 & 8
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Gratuity Policy
  • Reaction Paper: Dirty Harry
  • Send your Exam Request Form(s) to World Campus Student Services.

Lesson 7: Noble-Cause Corruption
  • Textbook – Chapter 9
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Ruby Ridge
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Guilty or Not Guilty
  • Writing Assignment #2: Assessment Paper

Lesson 8: Ethics and Legal Professionals
  • Textbook – Chapter 10
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Work Ethics
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Legal Professionals

  • EXAM 2

Lesson 9: Justice and Judicial Ethics
  • Textbook – Chapter 11
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Judicial Ethics
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Margin of Error Discussion
  • Writing Assignment #3: Topic Paper

Lesson 10: The Ethics of Punishment and Corrections & Ethics and Institutional Corrections
  • Textbook – Chapters 12 & 13
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Prison Guard
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Incapacitate or Not?
  • Send your Exam Request Form(s) to World Campus Student Services.

Lesson 11: Ethics and Community Corrections
  • Textbook – Chapter 14
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Probation Officer With A DWI Probationer
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Coworker Treatment of Offenders

Lesson 12: Ethical Choices and the “War on Terror”
  • Textbook – Chapter 15
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Justified Torture by Some Circumstances
  • Discussion Forum Activity - Sharing Your Opinions or Not

  • EXAM 3

Formal instruction will end on the last day of class. Provided that you have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password, you will continue to be able to access the course materials for one year, starting from the end date of the academic semester in which the course was offered (with the exception of library reserves and other external resources that may have a shorter archival period). After one year, you might be able to access the course based on the policies of the program or department offering the course material, up to a maximum of three years from the end date of the academic semester in which the course was offered. For more information, please review the University Course Archival Policy.

Academic Integrity

According to Penn State policy G-9: Academic Integrity , an academic integrity violation is “an intentional, unintentional, or attempted violation of course or assessment policies to gain an academic advantage or to advantage or disadvantage another student academically.” Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, you must complete all course work entirely on your own, using only sources that have been permitted by your instructor, and you may not assist other students with papers, quizzes, exams, or other assessments. If your instructor allows you to use ideas, images, or word phrases created by another person (e.g., from Course Hero or Chegg) or by generative technology, such as ChatGPT, you must identify their source. You may not submit false or fabricated information, use the same academic work for credit in multiple courses, or share instructional content. Students with questions about academic integrity should ask their instructor before submitting work.

Students facing allegations of academic misconduct may not drop/withdraw from the affected course unless they are cleared of wrongdoing (see G-9: Academic Integrity ). Attempted drops will be prevented or reversed, and students will be expected to complete course work and meet course deadlines. Students who are found responsible for academic integrity violations face academic outcomes, which can be severe, and put themselves at jeopardy for other outcomes which may include ineligibility for Dean’s List, pass/fail elections, and grade forgiveness. Students may also face consequences from their home/major program and/or The Schreyer Honors College.

How Academic Integrity Violations Are Handled
World Campus students are expected to act with civility and personal integrity; respect other students' dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their own efforts. An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for oneself and others, as well as a civil community.

In cases where academic integrity is questioned, the Policy on Academic Integrity indicates that procedure requires an instructor to inform the student of the allegation. Procedures allow a student to accept or contest a charge. If a student chooses to contest a charge, the case will then be managed by the respective college or campus Academic Integrity Committee. If that committee recommends an administrative sanction (Formal Warning, Conduct Probation, Suspension, Expulsion), the claim will be referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response.

All Penn State colleges abide by this Penn State policy, but review procedures may vary by college when academic dishonesty is suspected. Information about Penn State's academic integrity policy and college review procedures is included in the information that students receive upon enrolling in a course. To obtain that information in advance of enrolling in a course, please contact us by going to the Contacts & Help page .

Course Policies


Derived from the Latin word Plagiarius, plagiarism is defined by Alexander Lindly as "The false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person's mind, and presenting it as one's own." (Plagiarism and Originality. New York: Harper, 1952, p. 2). Plagiarism may take the form of repeating another's sentences as your own, adopting a particularly apt phrase as your own, paraphrasing someone else's argument as your own, or even presenting someone else's line of thinking in the development of a thesis as though it were your own. In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from another. Although a writer may use another person's words and thoughts, they must be acknowledged as such.

Plagiarism is cheating. Any student caught plagiarizing the work of another will, at the very least, receive an "F" for the course, and could lead to expulsion from the University. Your attention is again directed to the Senate Policy 49-20 "Academic Integrity" with regards to this important topic. Plagiarism is considered to be any one or more of the following:

  1. Extracting any sentence from another text without quotation marks and a supporting citation.

  2. Extracting a portion of any sentence from another text without enclosing it in quotation marks and a supporting citation.

  3. "Cut & Paste" or “Mosaic” plagiarism occurs when a student eliminates or adds one or two words to an existing sentence, or abbreviates a compound sentence. (For example, the first of the three following sentences is the original in a text, and it appears as a properly cited quotation. Those that follow the first sentence would be considered "cut-and-paste" plagiarism. "The German sociologist Max Weber, although best known to students of public administration for his analysis of rational bureaucracy, has had a broad impact on the social sciences" (Denhardt, 1993, p. 30). "It has been said that Max Weber, although best known to students of public administration for his analysis of rational bureaucracy, has had a broad impact on the social sciences." "The German sociologist Max Weber has had a broad impact on the social sciences."

  4. Also considered under this title is any paper submitted in which the cited material is not designated by quotation marks in the text of the paper. It has been my experience that authors of such papers are attempting to shield themselves under a mantle that has come to be known in political circles as "Plausible Deniability." In short, the defense "I didn't know what I was doing was wrong" will not be accepted.

  5. A good rule of thumb would be, if you use four or more of the original words of an author in succession, then they must be enclosed by quotation marks and a proper citation should accompany their use. Contained in this endnote are important observations and statements from Penn State and other national and universities on the topic of plagiarism. Please review these carefully as you will be held responsible for their contents.

University Policies

Disclaimer: Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Your instructor will notify you of any changes.