The mission of the Department of Criminal Justice is to offer high quality education to those seeking employment with local and national criminal justice agencies.
Boise State University Criminal Justice Program Anti-racism Statement
There is no place for the racial injustices that have historically and continuously plagued Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). Boise State University’s Criminal Justice Program actively stands against racism and oppression in any form. Racism has always been present in our society. It did not end with the abolishment of slavery or Jim Crow-era segregation of Black citizens or treaties with Indigenous peoples; it was infused into all of our systems and institutions. As a program that is housed within one of these institutions (academia) and studies another (the criminal justice system), we acknowledge our multiple responsibilities to students and communities to engage in anti-racist work. And yet, as faculty who are predominantly White and hold privileged places in our communities, we understand the importance of our own individual and group anti-racism education.
Our program has been integral in the education of criminal justice professionals both within and outside of the state of Idaho. We play a pivotal role in equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid perpetuating discriminatory actions against marginalized and oppressed communities, particularly Black citizens, who are not only disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system, but are dying because of the actions of some in the criminal justice system. We are committed to education that addresses this devastating reality. Towards that end, this fall, the Criminal Justice Program will:
- convene listening sessions with our students and alumni from marginalized communities to better understand their experiences in our classrooms and address their concerns; and
- work with students and community stakeholders to review our policies, practices, and curriculum to ensure we are not complicit in furthering racism and oppression within our communities.
As researchers, our role extends outside of our classrooms as well. The Criminal Justice Program has long served the state of Idaho as a resource for evidence-based policies and practices. We readily accept these responsibilities and welcome the opportunity to work with criminal justice and broader community organizations in creating a truly equal and just society. It is past time for us as educators, researchers, and citizens to actively engage in dialogue and action to end racism and oppression. Therefore, when we reconvene this fall, the Criminal Justice Program will:
- form a diverse working group of people within and outside of the University to identify areas where we can utilize our knowledge and skills to assist in eliminating policies and practices that have disproportionately impacted BIPOC and other marginalized communities through systemic, institutionalized, and individual racism and oppression.
The task ahead of us is substantial. It will not be easy to dismantle racism in our communities and institutions, but as citizens we have no choice. We must act. Too many lives have been lost and many others harmed. The listening sessions, outreach, and working groups described above are just the beginning. Feedback from those efforts will be used to navigate future steps toward fighting for a more just and equal society.
A Brief History of Criminal Justice at Boise State
The discipline of Criminal Justice was introduced at Boise State College in 1966, and was entitled Criminology. The program was started under a two-year grant from the Office of Law Enforcement Assistance.
During its first years, the program was moved from the Department of Social Science to Business, then Economics, then Public Administration, then Societal and Urban Studies, who changed their name to Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Administration.
In 1990, the Department of Criminal Justice Administration became a separate department.
Student majors increased from about 25 in 1969 to over 200 in the early and mid-1970s.
Today the Department of Criminal Justice carries about 800 undergraduate majors, about 35 graduate students, and is the largest in Boise State’s new School of Public Service.
The faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice are engaged in a variety of community activities and contributions including:
- Survey of the Prosecution of Child Sex Abuse in Idaho. A research team from the department works together with the Office of the Governor and the Attorney General to collect data and prepare reports to the legislature on the incidence of child sex abuse prosecution.
- Crime in the Lives of Idahoans. This research project developed measures of crime by using a victimization survey of Idaho residents.
- A Survey of Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Bias in the Idaho Court System. This project surveyed personnel in the Idaho court system to gain information on the racial, ethnic, and religious biases or perceptions of bias in Idaho state courts.
- Partnership between the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and BSU. This project involves a “Policing Services” survey and focus groups of Ada County residents, including those in the cities of Eagle and Kuna.
- Facilitation of Strategic Planning at the Boise Police Department.