The Department of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State University uses a social justice framework to examine criminal and delinquent behavior, criminalization, and society’s response to crime. Our department is led by faculty who are well-established in their field and known for their teaching, scholarship and community engagement. Our curriculum is grounded in an interdisciplinary, liberal arts approach to understanding crime and criminal justice that is rooted in firm commitments to social justice and methodologically rigorous research. Students are introduced to a variety of theoretical perspectives and competing viewpoints throughout the curriculum and are equipped with the analytical and research tools necessary for understanding and exploring issues in crime and justice.
BSU Criminal Justice courses are designed to provide students with a critical awareness of how social, political and historical forces have influenced the law as well as criminal justice institutions and practices. Faculty members provide students with a thorough understanding of the various political, legal, cultural, social, economic and technological systems that converge around crime and rehabilitation. Students analyze how the criminal justice system has shaped crime and society, with attention to historical and contemporary inequities, and are encouraged to consider the wider implications of crime. They examine the ways in which our society can more effectively serve communities affected by crime and punishment, including through restorative and transformative justice practices and non-punitive efforts to strengthen communities. The critical examination of institutional responses to crime entails an engagement with contemporary criminal justice issues, political debates, social conflicts, ethical concerns and emerging research. The program is designed to provide students with excellent preparation for further study in graduate or law schools, for careers in criminal justice, and for meaningful engagement with the world as critically informed citizens.