Department Profile

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The Dordt University criminal justice program prepares students and the community for service by equipping them with God-centered insight, skills, and knowledge for the purpose of doing justice in the criminal justice system.

Program Strengths

  • Students and alumni perform well on standardized testing and in criminal justice positions.
  • We offer diverse opportunities for excellent local field experience and flexibility for students from other parts of North America to get experience in distance settings.
  • Our numerous contacts in area criminal justice agencies contribute to our program in a variety of ways.

Mission Statement 

Criminal Justice is about more than just “bearing the sword”; it is about serving in a very specific capacity as God’s instrument.  Inasmuch as God tells us to leave vengeance up to Him, He defers justice for the oppressed. But God does not leave this justice undone; instead, He charges the government to carry out that which the individual should not do.

Therefore, the Criminal Justice system must be intrinsically tied to the needs of community.  It must uphold the cause of the vulnerable, vindicate the oppressed, and help to heal the victimized.  Anywhere this system harms the innocent or fails to protect the needy is a critical failing in the ministry that God has put in place.

As those who seek to serve in this system, we must not forget how high our calling is.  We recognize that mankind is weak and that our systems our broken, but we must not grow weary in seeking to improve on what is, straining toward what is not yet, and remaining eager for the day when Christ renews all things and makes His “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Articulate a Reformed, Christian perspective on criminal justice, those affected by the criminal justice system, and the student’s role in that system.
  2. Describe the development, identity, and function of the essential structures and systems of the criminal justice system and how they interact with one another and society.
  3. Demonstrate competency with fundamental skills and processes critical to the criminal justice system, including basic techniques in forensics, interviewing, report writing, and giving testimony along with appropriate contextual language skills.
  4. Evaluate deviance from the perspective of perpetrator, victim, and the broader sociobiological context.
  5. Analyze and critique public and social policy interventions and systems designed to address crime control, deviance, victimization, and other public safety issues.
  6. Describe, evaluate, and apply essential legal rules, standards, and structures, including a familiarity with important caselaw pertaining to criminal justice and its broader governmental context.
  7. Display a commitment to God-oriented personal and ethical professional standards and practices, including a disposition toward serving the community.