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  • DTP Success Team

DSST Criminal Justice Study Guide

Updated: Aug 18

If you're studying for the Criminal Justice DSST exam, you'll want to use our outline as a study guide.

The test covers various topics, from law enforcement to the court system.

With proper preparation, you should be able to pass your Criminal Justice DSST test!

Table of Contents

  1. Criminal Behavior

  2. Criminal Justice System

  3. Police

  4. Court System

  5. Corrections

  6. Conclusion

  7. Student Resources

  8. References

1. Criminal Behavior

DSST Criminal Justice Exam Outline. Criminal Behavior (14% - 16%)
Criminal Behavior (14% - 16%)

  • Defining crime: Involves conduct, harm to society, and formal sanction. It is an act that violates written criminal law.

  • Crime in the United States: The Hierarchy Rule requires that only the most severe offense in a multiple-offense criminal incident be counted.

  • Theories of crime: Classical theory and Positivist theory, amongst others.

  • Types of crime: Includes hate crimes, drug crimes, and gang crimes.

  • Crime measurement: UCR-Uniform Crime Report, NIBRS-National Incident-Based Reporting, and NCVS-National Crime Victimization Survey System.

  • Juvenile delinquency: The legal status of "juvenile delinquent" is defined as a minor child who has violated the penal code.

DSST Criminal Justice Trivia Question #184

2. Criminal Justice System

DSST Criminal Justice Exam Outline. Criminal Justice System (24% - 26%)
Criminal Justice System (24% - 26%)

  • Historical origins and legal foundations: The criminal justice system in the United States was greatly influenced by the English form of justice known as the "Common Law" system.

  • Due process: An individual who is accused of a criminal act should not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without legal procedures that are fair and reasonable.

  • Criminal justice agencies: All agencies fall under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General, which is at the top.

3. Police

DSST Criminal Justice Exam Outline. Police (19% - 21%)
Police (19% - 21%)

  • History and organization: The idea of a centralized municipal police department was first introduced to the U.S. in the 1830s.

  • Societal role and function: They investigate and apprehend individuals suspected of criminal acts.

  • Issues and Trends: Developing issues that significantly change policing in the most fundamental ways.

  • Occupational characteristics: This may include police attitudes towards using their discretionary powers.

DSST Criminal Justice Trivia Question #233

4. Court System

DSST Criminal Justice Exam Outline. Court System (19% - 21%).
Court System (19% - 21%)

  • History of the court system: The Judiciary Act of 1789 was the primary law that helped set up a judicial system in the U.S.

  • Organization and structure: The Supreme Court is the highest at the organization's top.

  • Adult court systems: Civil, Criminal, Bankruptcy, and Appeals.

  • Juvenile court: Cases are referred mainly to law enforcement, parents, victims, schools, and probation officers.

  • The pretrial, trial, and post-trial processes: Bail, plea bargaining, and sentencing.

  • Sentencing issues and trends: Sentencing objectives are retribution, isolation, vengeance, deterrence, and rehabilitation.

5. Corrections

DSST Criminal Justice Exam Outline. Corrections (19% - 21%).
Corrections (19% - 21%)

  • History of corrections: Created to remove the undesirable citizenry (criminals, the poor) from the streets or at least to control them.

  • Purpose: Punishment is believed to deterrence of others from criminal behavior.

  • Intermediate sanctions: Stricter than traditional probation but not as costly as a prison (e.g., electronic monitoring).

  • Adult prison systems: The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world.

  • Juvenile correction alternatives: Therapy, community service.

  • Capital punishment: The death penalty given by the government of a country.

  • Prison organization: Formed by groups of inmates to protect themselves from other inmates.

  • Inmate characteristics: Based on crime types, violent offenses counted for about 60% of all crimes.

  • Issues and trends: The current incarceration rate is increasing yearly, leaving the United States to deal with new issues and trends.

DSST Criminal Justice Trivia Question #460

6. Conclusion: DSST Criminal Justice

Our outline skims what you'll need to know for the DSST Criminal Justice exam.

To get a more in-depth understanding of the topics covered in the exam, it's important to study with a reliable resource.

We offer access to the most extensive DSST course library in the world.

Try our free practice test to test your current level of knowledge.

Check out our self-paced online course if you want a more comprehensive solution.

Our courses are designed to fit your busy schedule, so you can study at your own pace and review the material as often as you need to feel confident on test day.

Good luck on your test prep journey!

7. Student Resources

8. References

DSST Criminal Justice Fact Sheet

DSST Criminal Justice Fact Sheet
Download PDF • 210KB

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