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Crim/CrimJ 100 at Penn State is the quintessential class needed for any sort of advancement into learning about the criminal justice system and criminology. This class is incredibly interesting! It honestly made me want to pursue a major in criminology. The entire class is based on things that are thought to be obvious, until further digging in the subject proved otherwise.  America’s Justice System is very complex. 

1.American Prison Systems


There’s a difference between a jail and a prison, and that is something that not many people know about. Another interesting thing learned in this class is that America has the largest incarceration rate than any other country. It’s ridiculous, we imprison everyone. America’s system was one of the most efficient, although now we rely heavily on solitary confinement, which is not good for individuals who experience it  for a longer term. There’s so much more that could be told about the Prison Systems. It’s one of the most fascinating things.

2.Court Systems


Our court system is efficient in some ways, but we usually never let it get very far. The courts have many processes that have to happen before making it through to the end. Most cases don’t even get as far as jury trials. A lot of the time, a case will reach a plea bargain before even making it to court. The judge will use his/her discretion and give a plea bargain if you plead guilty. The system is messed up, don’t get caught up in it!

3.Policing in America


There are many restrictions that police officers have. It’s not like their job is easy, by any means. Although many people feel very strongly towards or against police officers, it is sad that it’s up to their discretion in the split second that things are happening. Their judgement is blurred in the moment of weakness. To be a police officer would be incredibly difficult!

4.The Wedding Cake Model


The wedding cake model of criminal justice is basically the hierarchy of crimes. At the bottom there is the majority of crimes committed, which are misdemeanors. The next level up is the lesser felony charges. These include non-violent felony crimes. The level ahead of that is serious felonies, including such things as murder and aggravated assault, etc. Finally, the top of the cake model is celebrated crimes. Those include crimes that occur least often and gain a lot of media attention. Bill Cosby, OJ Simpson, and others similar would fall into this category. This is one of the most well-known models in criminology.

These topics along with many others are what made Crim 100 so interesting. Learning about things that we don’t usually think twice about is one of the most intriguing things. We believe in our justice system because we’re taught to… Well, this class can shake opinions about this topic!


Beca Kelly

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