Intro to Criminal Justice 2306 Sam Houston State University Unit 1 terms


A specific act of commission or omission in violation of the law, for which the punishment is prescribed.

crime control model

A model of the criminal justice system that assumes freedom is so important that every effort must be made to repress crime; it emphasizes efficiency, speed, finality, and the capacity to apprehend, try, convict, and dispose of a high proportion of offend


Offenses that involve the use of one or more computers.

dark figure of crime

A metaphor referring to the significant yet undefined extent of crime that is never reported to the police.

due process model

A model of the criminal justice system that assumes freedom is so important that every effort must be made to ensure that criminal justice decisions are based on reliable information; it emphasizes the adversarial process, the rights of defendants, and fo

evidence-based practices

Politics developed through guidance from research studies that demonstrate which approaches are most useful and cost-effective for advancing desired goals.


Serious crimes usually carrying a penalty of incarceration for more than one year, probation, or intermediate sanctions.

identity theft

The theft of social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other information in order to secure loans, withdraw bank funds, and purchase merchandise while posing as someone else. The unsuspecting victim will eventually lose money in these transactions

mala in se

Offenses that are wrong by their very nature.

mala prohibita

Offenses prohibited by law but not wrong in themselves.


Offenses less serious than felonies and usually punishable by incarceration of no more than one year, probation, or intermediate sanctions

money launderin

Moving the proceeds of criminal activities through the maze of businesses, banks, and brokerage accounts in order to disguise their origin.

National Crime Victimization Surveys (NCVS)

Interviews of samples of the U.S. population conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to determine the number and types of criminal victimization, and thus, the extent of unreported as well as reported crime.

National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS):

A reporting system in which police describe each offense in a crime incident, together with data describing the offender, victim, and property.

occupational crime:

A criminal offense committed through opportunities created in a legal business or occupation.

organized crime

A framework for the perpetration of criminal acts-usually in fields, such as gambling, drugs, and prostitution-providing illegal services that are in great demand.

political crime:

An act, usually done for ideological purposes, that constitutes a threat against the state (such as treason, sedition, or espionage) or a criminal act by a state.

public policy

Priorities and actions developed by government o use public resources as a means to deal with issues affecting society.

transnational crime

Profit-seeking criminal activities that involve planning, execution, or victimization that crosses national borders.

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)

Annually published statistical summary of crimes reported to the police, based on voluntary reports to the FBI by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies

victimless crime

Offenses involving a willing and private exchange of illegal goods or services that are in strong demand. Participants do not feel they are being harmed, but these crimes are prosecuted on the ground that society as a whole is being harmed.

visible crime

An offense against persons or property that is committed primarily by members of the lower social classes. Often referred to "street crime" or "ordinary crime," this type of offense is one of the most upsetting to the public.