Do you feel confident to give the practice test a try? The format of the test will be nice and familiar for most as it will be multiple-choice with only one correct answer. When you write your answer make sure to tap (or hover over) the question to give you the answer and an explanation.
All test questions are in a multiple-choice format, with one correct answer and three incorrect options. The following are samples of the types of questions that may appear on the exam.
WarningPlease do keep in mind that we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this quiz, so we do recommend you also run through a full-length practice exam. We’ll recommend some good options in the resources section at the bottom of this page.
Question 1: Three parts of the criminal justice system are as follows:
a) Command, control, contain
b) Police, judges, corrections
c) Law enforcement, courts, corrections
d) Enforcement, laws, punishment
The three parts of the criminal justice system are Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections.
Question 2: The standard definition of crime is as follows:
a) An offense against the state that is punishable; the act of omission may also be actionable.
b) An action which may not break law, but could be considered evil.
c) Killing of another person
d) Any thought that is illegal or unethical.
For a crime to be committed, a law must be broken. Most legal systems require that the accused exhibit both guilt mind and guilty act, meaning physical requirement of actions. Guilty thoughts alone are not enough to qualify a crime.
Question 3: All parts of the criminal justice system operate with a jurisdiction. Which of the following does not relate to jurisdiction?
a) Jurisdiction is a physical territory within which law enforcement may operate
b) Jurisdiction is the power of a court to act in a specific type of case
c) Jurisdiction includes the lawful ability to research issues not within one’s scope of influence
d) Jurisdiction of a state court may extend to persons outside that state
Jurisdiction can include physical jurisdictions, such as law enforcement’s charge to operate within a town, state, or cross-nation. It also includes procedural jurisdiction, such that courts have a scope of cases they can or cannot receive (i.e., juvenile courts, traffic courts). What is not explicitly specified is one’s power/ability to conduct independent research beyond one’s jurisdiction.
Question 4: Which group of U.S. citizens is credited with the establishment of the state prison system?
d) Native Americans
Pennsylvania during the 17th century abolished capital punishment for all crimes except murder. Early prisons, known as ‘workhouses’ were established to give inmates a means of contributing to society whilst they were contained for a time. This was mostly due to the influence of the Quaker faith and tenets of humane punishment.
Question 5: As a form of punishment, electronic monitoring has the following advantage.
a) Increases direct supervision by corrections officers
b) Reduces cost to state and/or federal penal agencies
c) Encourages offenders to contribute to society positively
d) Leads to greater communication between offender and victim
The cost of electronic monitoring is lower than imprisonment in local jails, state prisons, or federal penitentiary. On average, EM reduces per participant costs to local agencies by $580 and saves federal agencies $920. (source: Roman, J. (2012) Urban Institute: Washington DC).
Question 6: Which of the following lists contain ONLY criminal acts?
a) Assault, collusion, theft
b) Video monitoring, trespassing, murder
c) Malicious intent, vandalism, battery
d) Assault, trespassing, vandalism
Although varying by country and jurisdiction, collusion, video monitoring, and malicious intent without action aren’t necessarily criminal.
Question 7: Justice within colonial America was based on what?
a) Individual judgement of local law enforcement
b) Common law
c) Both A & B
d) Neither A nor B
Early justice was based upon common law, which included what was previously known about justice, based upon English and French systems, then applied to current circumstances. Beyond this loosely organized system of justice, local law enforcement had leeway to decide the fate of alleged offenders.
Question 8: What is not true about appellate courts?
a) Appellate courts often uphold or reverse the decision made by other courts
b) Appellate courts hear arguments made in original filings
c) Appellate courts may uphold, but also modify prior decisions
d) Appellate courts exist on both state and federal levels
Courts of appeal do not hear original case filings. They are a body of reviewers, researching procedural and statutory claims filed after the lower court decision has been made.
Question 9: Which branch of the criminal justice system has the most employees?
a) Law enforcement
d) Each branch has a similar number of employees
Of the approximately 1.8 employees of the US criminal justice system, roughly 1 million of them are affiliated with law enforcement.
Question 10: Which of the following is NOT true of capital punishment?
a) An offender sentenced to death is automatically awarded an appeal
b) Methods of capital punishment are determined by individual states
c) 25% of offenders sentenced to capital punishment die of natural causes
d) The United State Supreme Court has banned hanging as a means of capital punishment
Hanging remains an uncommon, but permissible means of execution. Additionally, states are authorized to use firing squads, gas chambers, electrocution, lethal injection, hanging, and even guillotine.
More DSST Study Resources
Are you at the beginning of your study process, or just looking for a couple more practice questions to finish prepping for your exam? In either case, you can find some of my favorite resources below. Some of the links below are affiliate (Amazon for instance), which means they’ll pay us a few bucks for every purchase through the link. Feel free to use those links if you want to support the site, but you can also just Google the title or pick the book up at your local library.
Official DSST Practice Test: Ok, so the DSST website isn’t the most inviting, but it will give you the best approximation of the real exam experience. Also, the official practice test is quite affordable (currently just $5 per practice exam).
Pass Your Class – DSST Criminal Justice: Textbooks are great as far as they go, but I’d generally recommend you opt for this exam guide instead. It tends to cut through the confusion and help you accelerate your learning process.
InstantCert Academy: Another website with a very dated design, but as ancient as it looks, this is actually an incredibly valuable resource. Basically, you get a massive set of flashcards that you can use to learn Crim Justice and to really solidify that knowledge so you’re ready for the exam.
Plenty of other resources exist – just do a quick internet search – but these are a fantastic start, and probably all you really need. I’ve personally done some exams with just InstantCert and the official practice test.