1-1 discussion: discretion in criminal justice

According to Maartje van der Woude, discretion refers to “the freedom, power, authority, decision or leeway of an official, organization or individual to decide, discern or determine to make a judgment, choice or decision, about alternative courses of action or inaction” (2016). For this first discussion, you will introduce yourself to your peers and describe an instance in which you have seen a discretionary decision made in the criminal justice field.

Include the following in your initial post:

  • Introduce yourself to your peers:
    • Who are you, and what do you do?
    • Why are you interested in criminal justice?
  • Describe an instance in which you have seen in the media a discretionary decision made in criminal justice:
    • This can be an instance that you read about in the news, saw on TV, or read online. Please focus on a public discretionary decision and refrain from sharing a personal example.
    • This can be an instance that occurred in any branch of the field: law enforcement, courts, or corrections.
    • Provide background information regarding the incident. Address all aspects of what occurred: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

In response to two of your peers, state whether you agree or disagree with the discretionary decision that was made. If you agree with the discretionary decision, explain why you support it. If you do not agree with the discretionary decision, explain what could have been done differently to produce a better outcome. Remember to always be respectful when replying to peers, even if you do not agree with their stance and/or rationale.


Woude, M. V. D. (2016). Chain reactions in criminal justice: Discretion and the necessity of interdisciplinary research. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1441970&site=eds-live&scope=site

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