How the U.S. Criminal Justice System Works

How the U.S. Criminal Justice System Works 

The criminal justice system is a complex system established to manage individuals accused or convicted of crimes against society. This course will provide entry level correctional officers and entry level probation/parole staff with a general overview of the adult criminal justice system.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 Match)

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

American Probation and Parole Association


This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 2.00 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-HUCJSW
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 2/28/2024
Learning Objectives:
List 3 major components of the criminal justice system (CJS).
Differentiate between the state and federal courts.
Explain at least 7 steps in the criminal justice process.
Describe 5 types of sentences.

Section 1: Introduction

A. About This Course

B. Learning Objectives

Section 2: The Criminal Justice System

A. Adults in the Criminal Justice System

B. What is the Criminal Justice System

C. Components of the CJS

D. Police (Law Enforcement)

E. Courts

F. Federal Courts

G. State Courts

H. Corrections

I. Review

J. Summary

Section 3: Steps in the Criminal Justice Process

A. Arrest and Pretrial Detention

B. The Initial Court Appearance

C. The Preliminary Hearing

D. Grand Jury or Filing of Information

E. The Arraignment

F. Plea Bargaining

G. The Criminal Trial

H. Sentencing

I. Types of Sentences

J. Sentencing Options

K. Sentence: Institutional Corrections

L. Sentence: Community Corrections

M. Forms of Community Supervision

N. The Appeal

O. Review

P. Summary

Section 4: Conclusion

A. Summary

B. Course Contributors

C. References

D. Congratulations!

E. Exam

F. BrainSparks


Instructor: Stanley Adelman, J.D.
Professor Adelman is a former Senior Litigation Attorney for Massachusetts Department of Correction and Massachusetts Parole Board, and General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Massachusetts Office of Public Safety. He is also the former Chair, Massachusetts Bar Association Committee on Corrections, Probation & Parole. Professor Adelman writes legal case commentaries regularly for Corrections Today, the periodical of the American Correctional Association, and for other legal and criminal justice journals. He is also a criminal justice trainer and consultant and has taught and trained judges, prosecutors, defenders, police, corrections, probation, and parole personnel on criminal justice topics such as correctional law, sentencing, drunk driving, and governmental tort liability. Professor Adelman began his criminal justice career as a parole officer for the State of New York. Disclosure: Stanley Adelman, J.D. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections, Juvenile Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.