Department Statement in Response to Recent Police Violence

The Department of Criminal Justice stands united in condemning the brutal behavior that resulted in the recent deaths of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Mr. Rayshard Brooks, and numerous others whose names we should say. We affirm the statements of President McRobbieVice President and Dean Wimbush, and the core values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion espoused by our academic home of the College of Arts + Sciences.

These all too familiar events represent the latest examples of violence perpetrated against African Americans, highlighting once again, the disproportionate negative impact of the criminal justice system on the Black community. Years of research examining racial disparities in the criminal justice system indicate that African Americans (and their communities) are policed more aggressively, arrested at higher rates, disadvantaged during pre-trial decisions, and face more severe sentencing outcomes. Systemic oppression and discrimination across social and institutional structures have further contributed to racial and ethnic disparities throughout our society.

We are a community of scholars who recognize and accept our unique role in conducting research that seeks to reduce harm while simultaneously helping to guide the path to just outcomes for all involved in the criminal justice system. We also take seriously our responsibility to teach current and future generations of scholars and practitioners alike that justice must be the guiding principle in any system related to criminal justice. We encourage students to become engaged with these issues and stand ready to listen, to learn, and to lead.

We are in discussions about how we can improve our curriculum, policies, practices, and outreach to end the harm experienced by too many throughout the criminal justice system. Please feel welcome to reach out to Marla Sandys, Interim Chair of the Department, at or to our committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at

Lastly, we recognize that these unfortunate events are distressing for us all, but especially our Black and POC students. Our university provides resources for students who may need additional help coping with the trauma caused by these incidents. Please visit to find more information on the services.

We have found the following resources to be especially helpful to our own work on race and criminal justice:​

The 21st Century Task Force on Policing Final Report

The 21st Century Task Force on Policing Executive Summary

Just Mercy,” the 2019 film about the work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson (see above), has been made available for free rental on digital platforms during the month of June by Warner Bros. Pictures. (TRAILER)


Class, Race, Gender, and Crime: The Social Realities of Justice in America by Gregg Barak, Paul Leighton and Allison Cotton

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris

Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twentieth Century by Barbara Ransby


NPR’s Throughline: American Policing

NPR’s Code Switch

The New York Times’ 1619

Relevant + Innovative

In Criminal Justice, we ask hard questions about how our society responds to crime, and how we might do so in ways that are more effective and just. We look at the origins of criminal offending and the complex workings of the criminal justice system using up to date emperical evidence about topics in the news every day.