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This major emphasizes the measurement of crime, the analysis and prevention of criminal behavior, and the function of law in society. Student-as-Practitioner projects provide students with the knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and social networks they need to pursue graduate study or begin a career in the criminal justice system.
Activities are required at each level of the major, beginning during the freshman year with students exploring careers in the justice system and making class connections through interviews, court observations, corrections tours and police ride-a-longs. At the intermediate level, special emphasis is given to the operations of the subsystems, and students identify, observe and apply critical issues in the justice system. For example, in Contemporary Corrections (CRJ 346), students tour a variety of institutions and then compare and contrast their personal observations with those provided in the assigned texts. In Juvenile Delinquency and Justice (CRJ 342), students apply sociological and ecological theories of crime through community youth mapping, youth mentoring, and gang awareness projects. Finally, at the advanced level, students not only critically evaluate through observation, interview or research, but also formulate and act on policy proposals. For example, in Ethics and Justice (CRJ 370), students have put their “ethics into action” by joining grassroots organizations and writing to state legislators about controversial criminal justice policies. In Leadership and Strategic Planning (CRJ 399), students have “diagnosed” local agencies by surveying managers, mid-level staff and line staff about job satisfaction, advancement, and motivation and have developed proposals to improve the delivery of services in a subsystem.