A Study of Why Black Students Would Want to Major in Criminal Justice

Bobbie Watt, Tennessee State University


The anti-criminal justice sentiment that has been stoked by the killing of George Floyd and other black men and women being killed by white police officers would seem to run counter to those who are interested in a career in criminal justice and those who are enrolled in prelaw programs. This anti-policing campaign soon spread to the courts, sentencing, and correctional departments of the criminal justice system. The birth and development of significant reform initiatives across the nation were greatly aided by this disrespect for and lack of confidence in the modern criminal justice system. It became increasingly evident that adjustments would need to be made before the black community would accept any reforms following additional, protracted, and devastating riots and disturbances in every corner of our country.This study sought to provide reasons why black students would choose a major in which they and/or their friends and families may have negative opinions, and which may offer few job opportunities by the time they graduate. TSU new freshmen majoring in criminal justice were given a survey to fill out to get their opinions on the topics. To analyze the survey's data, descriptive and inferential statistics were used.Little can be inferred regarding race and student interests from this study because more than three times as many black students participated as white students. It is noteworthy that, whereas 34% of white students were interested in police during their studies of criminal justice, just 13% of black students shared this interest. The study shows students perceptions of the criminal justice system is racist. This does not reflect well on the criminal justice system in our country; the majority of students agreed that the system should be defunded. Students firmly feel that reform is a crucial component of our criminal justice system.

Subject Area

Criminology|Black studies

Recommended Citation

Bobbie Watt, "A Study of Why Black Students Would Want to Major in Criminal Justice" (2024). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30995894.