Today@Sam Article

New Minor Offered Focuses On Criminal Justice Reform

July 7, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

CJCoverMinorSam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice is a leader in their field of study. Like any good leader, they continue to adapt to, adjust with, and stay ahead of the times and a new minor offered this fall is just the latest example of that dedication.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, SHSU will offer a minor in Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion. While the current economic crisis and recent protests have sparked the topic of social change and criminal justice reform across the nation, SHSU has been planning this new offering for years, as research on this new minor proposal began in 2018.

“Diversity and inclusion is something we value a great deal at SHSU. We are very happy about the fact that we can have a standalone minor that emphasizes this topic,” said William Wells, department chair for Criminal Justice and Criminology. “The College of Criminal Justice faculty pride ourselves on getting students ready to make an immediate impact and enter the workforce with contemporary knowledge. We are really proud of this new program and the way it will continue to help us shape criminal justice in Texas.”

Professor Holly Miller provided the leading effort to revise existing courses to fit this new program and is hopeful about the impact these courses will have on the state.

“We want to make a difference. We determined that providing specific coursework around bias, stereotypes, and discrimination within the criminal justice field, and on a personal level, was very important for our students, who are the future of criminal justice in Texas,” Miller said. “The issues and struggles around race, police brutality, and inequality are impossible to ignore. For the last decade, numerous cases of injustice have been brought to light, whether it be law enforcement or inequities in sentencing and appropriate legal aid. We have much work to do to ensure equality within the field. This is one step in that battle.”

Sam Houston State educates more than 25 percent of all employees in the criminal justice system within Texas. For Miller, that alone demonstrates why these type of programs are so important.

“Our students have historically held leadership positions in the field. We know that providing knowledge, understanding, and focusing on social issues, will allow them to reform or develop helpful programs for equity in the criminal justice system for years to come,” Miller said. “We have a great responsibility to do our part and we will do our part.”

Sam Houston State will also offer a Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion certificate program within the next year. Geared toward students who cannot complete a minor or are already working professionals in the field, this certificate program will continue to make SHSU a leader in the criminal justice workforce.   

 

 

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