Fall 2023 - CRIM 410 D900

Decision-making in Criminal Justice (3)

Class Number: 5998

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CRIM 131.



Examination of the factors which influence decision making in the criminal justice system. The exercise of discretion by criminal justice personnel; the role of organizational policies and priorities in decision making; the involvement of victims and the public. Consideration of decision making at specific stages of the criminal justice process.


This course uses a problem-based learning approach to examine various facets of decision making in the criminal justice system. Throughout the semester, students will participate in a number of decision making simulations and meet with criminal justice decision makers. Completion of several journal assignments will provide students with an opportunity to relate their experiences as a decision maker and, as well their interpretation of the assigned reading materials and the issues discussed with the decision makers. This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore their own capacities as a potential decision maker in the criminal justice system as well as to reflect on the decisions of criminal justice professionals.


  • Seminar Participation 40%
  • Journal Assignments 60%





The primary objective of Criminology 410-3 is to provide a forum for exploring the various facets of decision making in the criminal justice system. To accomplish this, the course is structured on a problem-based learning approach that requires students in the seminar to assume an active role in discussions. This is not a traditional lecture/mid-term/final/term paper-format course!

Prior to enrolling in Criminology 410-3, I would ask that you consider the following items of information:

1. Criminology 410-3 requires a high level of participation. This means that each participant in the seminar will be expected to contribute to group discussions on a weekly basis, and to be an active participant in discussions with criminal justice professionals. The seminar will meet in a “learning circle” (no tables) which will facilitate interaction among the seminar members. Class participation is 40% of the final mark and seminar participants will be assessed on the basis of the quality, not quantity, of their contributions. It is expected that each student in the seminar will participate in the discussions on a weekly basis. This includes taking, and defending, positions as well as responding to the points raised by others in the group.

If you are a person who feels uncomfortable in a non-lecture setting and in a highly interactive learning environment, I would advise you not to enroll in this course.

2.  You will be required to complete several journal assignments. There are no examinations or term papers required for this course. Rather, each seminar participant will be required to complete several journal assignments that will relate to the materials covered in the on-campus seminars, the assigned readings, and discussions with criminal justice Given that these journal assignments, cumulatively, comprise 60% of the final mark, it is expected that they will be substantive. The page length for each of the journal assignments will be 8-10. pages.

If you are a person who prefers a traditional lecture and assessment format,

i.e. professor “professes” and student is quiet; examinations and term papers, this course may not be for you.

3. There will be a morning field trip to a federal correctional institution at some point in the semester. The institution is located approximately 1.5 hours from Vancouver. The tour will last until noon. If you have a class shortly thereafter, travel time back to campus will have to be considered. It will not be possible to leave the institution early.

 4. The CRIM 410 classroom is a “technology-free” zone, with the exception of students with disabilities. That means no laptops, no cell phones, etc. All that is required is your brain!



  1. Jennette (2005). The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner.
  2. Brene Brown. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, MN: Hazeldon
  3. Aneoine de Saint (2017). The Little Prince. New York: HarperCollins.
  4. Bev (2013). They Called Me Number One. Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks.
  5. On-line readings and videos.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

If you have any Criminology course enrollment requests (course adds, course swaps), please contact a Criminology advisor. Please do not contact instructors for enrollment assistance as they will ultimately refer you to a Criminology advisor.

Criminology course enrollment requests should be sent to a Criminology advisor no later than the last day of the Second week of classes. Late enrollment requests are subject to approval and are not guaranteed. 

Enrollment requests for non-Crim courses should be directed to the advisor for the program offering the course. 

ATTENTION: STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY: Please contact the Center for Accessible Learning, (MBC 1250 or Phone 778-782-3112) if you need or require assistance, not your individual instructors.  

  • N.B.: Students are reminded that attendance in the first week of classes is important. However, there are no tutorials in the first week.
  • ON CAMPUS COURSES ONLY: Assignments not submitted to the Professor/T.A. during class/office hours must be placed in the security box behind the General Office (SWH 10156), or submitted as per Professor’s instructions for courses taking place at Surrey Campus. The assignment drop box is emptied Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. only, with the contents date stamped accordingly. No other department’s date stamp will be accepted (e.g. Library/Campus Security).  For the Surrey Campus, assignments must be hand delivered to the General Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, located at SUR 5180, on Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30p.m., or placed in the assignment drop box located at the southwest corner of Galleria 5.  The Surrey assignment drop box is emptied Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with the contents date stamped accordingly.  The School of Criminology is not responsible for assignments submitted in any other manner (e.g., slid under office doors).  The University does NOT accept assignments by fax or email.
  • A student must complete ALL aspects of a course (including assignments, exams, class participation, presentations, chat room components of Distance Education courses and other), otherwise they will receive a grade of N. 
  • The University has formal policies regarding intellectual dishonesty and grade appeals which may be obtained from the General Office of the School of Criminology.
  • Under GP18, the University has policies and procedures which respond to our obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment for the students, staff and faculty of this institution.  Members of this community have an affirmative obligation to safeguard the human rights of others.


Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.