Criminal Justice Resources and Education Materials

In the United States, criminal justice can be thought of as the legal institutions that uphold and maintain social control and thus mitigate crime. From educational programs to community-based social justice orgs, a number of resources are available to the public.

The following is an extensive list of websites which provide critical information on criminal justice programs and community resources, including information on crime watch and prevention groups, as well as nonprofits that, for instance, support ex-offenders. This authoritative database includes reliable sources like the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, one of the first international associations established to sustain scholarship within the field of criminal justice; Community Resources for Justice, an organization established over 130 years ago that provides social justice services to ex-offenders, as well as community strategies that work to mitigate violence and crime; and criminal justice and legal internet resources, such as St. Mary’s University’s Blume Library.

Criminal Justice Programs
Individuals interested in pursuing criminology tend to pursue both criminology undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, many people enrolling in law school end up specializing in criminal law. According to the U.S. News & World Report, here is a list of the top programs in criminology:

University of Maryland’s (UM) Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice: A division of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, UM’s program is currently ranked as the top criminology program in the country.

University at Albany, State University of New York’s School of Criminal Justice: SUNY Albany’s Criminal Justice program, currently ranked the second strongest program of its kind in the U.S., specializing in the diversity of social reactions to crime.

University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice: The School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati includes important research centers, such as the Center for Criminal Justice Research and the Corrections Institute.

University of Missouri’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice: University of Missouri in Saint Louis also offers a top-notch criminology and criminal justice program. The department’s mission is to conduct rigorous research on a range of issues involving criminal justice.

University of California in Irvine’s (UCI) Department of Criminology, Law and Society: UCI’s program is a unique, interdisciplinary program that integrates criminology and law. It is the only criminology program in the University of California program and is highly regarded amongst students, academics and criminal justice professionals.

Individuals interested in criminal justice can also pursue a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and study criminal law. Top-ranked law schools at Harvard University and Stanford University offer excellent and rigorous J.D. programs that focus on criminology. For example, the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) at Harvard Law School allows law students to focus solely on criminal justice law, with clinical workshops in criminal prosecution, the death penalty, and war crimes prosecution. J.D. students at Stanford Law School can take courses through the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, which focuses on issues of adjudication, investigation, juvenile crime and mass incarceration.

Community Resources: Crime Watch and Prevention
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: Founded in 1972, the National Justice Reference Service is a federally funded database offering information on research, policy and program development in criminology.

ProQuest Criminal Justice: ProQuest Criminal Justice is a comprehensive database that provides research on crime, considering litigation trends and crime’s general impact on law and society.

St. Mary’s University Blume Library: St. Mary’s University offers an extensive Criminal Justice and Legal Database and includes links to the Public Library of Law, FindLaw, the ACLU and the Automated Index of Criminal Justice Information Systems.

The U.S. Department of Justice: Led by the Attorney General, this is the federal executive department responsible for the administration of justice and law in the U.S.

The National Institute of Corrections: The National Institute of Corrections is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. The institute works to train and improve corrections agencies across federal, state, and local lines.

CeaseFire: Ceasefire is a nonprofit organization that uses public health models in order to stop shootings and killings. The powerful documentary, “The Interrupters,” was based on the violence interrupters who work for Ceasefire.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections: As seen in this example of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections home page, each state provides resources and information on re-entry programs for former prisoners and their families.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides services and resources that respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization.

Outward Bound: Programs like Outward Bound deliver a diverse curriculum for at-youth risk such as struggling teens. Outward Bound follows school reform models currently used in over 150 elementary and secondary schools throughout the country. The nonprofit organization  provides outdoor leadership programs and currently serves over 70,000 students and teachers.

Individual Assistance
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): The ACLU is a well-known nonprofit organization that assists individuals who have experienced civil rights violations, with key services including litigation and lobbying. The ACLU currently has over 500,000 members, with active affiliates in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The National Reentry Resource Center: The National Reentry Resource Center provides services to organizations working on the re-entry of former prisoners. The Center offers educational tools, training and technical assistance to groups ranging from local governments, nonprofit organizations and corrections institutions.

Legal Action Center: The Legal Action Center provides training and technical assistance to policy makers, government officials and other individuals working to facilitate successful re-entry into society by ex-offenders.

Additional Links
John Jay College of Criminal Justice: The Center on Media, Crime and Justice is housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) and is currently the country’s only research-oriented think tank focusing on high-quality criminal justice reporting.

Proof: Proof is a nonprofit organization that supports visual artists working on issues like social justice and human rights violations.

Center for Social Media, American University: The Center for Social Media, which analyzes and supports public media, frequently promotes films that explore social and criminal justice cases.

New York University’s (NYU) Law School: The NYU Law School Center on the Administration of Criminal Law provides a listing of pivotal landmark criminal law cases that have helped shape the U.S.’s criminal system.

United States Courts: This webpage provides a procedural overview and breakdown of how criminal cases work in U.S. federal courts.