What We're All About

Dr. Beth Richie standing in front of Chicago skyline

The Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice is a thriving academic community of scholars, teachers and students who are dedicated to studying all aspects of crime and justice as well as societal reactions to both. We examine the social, cultural and political forces that shape the definitions and content of criminal law and influence policy choices about how to respond to particular crime problems. Further, we study the individual, social and structural forces that influence criminal behavior and examine the functioning of crime control systems. The members of our faculty are well-published leaders in their fields, and are dedicated to providing the best education possible to our undergraduate and graduate students.


CLJ research area clusters: 

  • Intersectional Critical Criminology (Including Critical Theories of Race, Class, Gender, and Disability)
  • Gender Based Violence and Sexual Assault
  • Abolition and Alternatives to Incarceration
  • Policing
  • Surveillance Studies
  • Re-entry & Community Supervision
  • Carceral Studies/ Critical Prison Studies
  • Courts and Law
  • Qualitative Criminology
  • Dimensions of Space and Place In Violence, Crime and Policing
  • Crimmigration/ Migration/ Mobility
  • Chicago-area focused research and partnerships

(For more research interests and topics of CLJ faculty see our Faculty page)


Values Statement

The Department of Criminology, Law & Justice expresses its solidarity with all who were outraged by the
shocking and senseless police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans, both
recently and historically. In the spirit of pursuing teaching, research, and engagement that promotes
understanding and seeks to preclude such atrocities, we declare the following to be true of our work as
a Department:

We are a thriving academic community of scholars, teachers and students who are dedicated to all
forms of critical and comparative academic inquiry under the broad umbrella of criminology, law and
society, and the study of justice.

We uphold our commitment to provide students with the skills to critically analyze interlocking forms of
power and authority, to include how these structures shape punishment, harm, repair and redress.

We affirm our commitment to communities by way of research, advocacy, and public policy, while
supporting efforts aimed at changing the conditions of those enmeshed in the various legal institutions
affecting community well-being.

We recognize the harm that structures beyond the legal system have had on marginalized communities
(reflected in disparities in health, housing, education, employment, etc.) and aspire to build a
community that explores emerging visions of justice (e.g., equitable, transformative, abolition, etc.).