Integrating the Christian Faith as a Criminal Justice Major

Azusa Pacific University offers you a unique opportunity to integrate your faith into the field of criminal justice.

“A Christian perspective is tied to everything we do, whether it’s the biases we have, the arrests we make, the charges we give, or the sentences we serve,” Candice Hodge-Williams, PhD, explained. Chair of the APU Criminal Justice Department. “Our pattern scripture is Micah 6:8, which speaks of justice, love, mercy, and walking humbly with God.”

Students apply faith to criminal justice issues

At APU, a Christian perspective is woven throughout the criminal justice curriculum. “Faith integration is not just a semester or class assignment. It is a comprehensive program approach. As a criminal justice student, you learn how to live God’s call in this area,” Hodge-Williams said.

For example, if you are studying to be a police officer, how would you react to a situation of domestic violence compared to your colleague who is not a believer? What would you think of rehabilitation, second chances and forgiveness if you study to become a judge? “We provide students with real-world problems and ask them how they would apply their faith,” Hodge-Williams said.

At APU, you will explore how faith interacts with criminal justice in relevant and practical ways. For example, in studying recent issues regarding race relations in America, students discussed how discrimination affects certain demographics and considered ways to come together as a Christian community to protect and serve one another. others. “It’s having that one-on-one interaction that people start to see their appeal,” Hodge-Williams said.

Faculty members bring a Christian perspective

APU’s criminal justice faculty members integrate their Christian faith into their areas of specialty. For instance:

  • Hodge-Williams specializes in human trafficking, sex crimes and interpersonal violence. One point she addresses in her classes is how victims and their family members can lose faith.
  • Another faculty member focuses on terrorism, gangs, and prison systems to get students thinking about forgiveness.
  • A faculty member focuses on activism to discuss the impact of issues on people based on their race, class and gender, as well as how it plays on the teachings of the Bible on equality.
  • A faculty member with a background in law examines how Christians can change policy.

How Faith Affects Community

At APU, you go beyond just learning about faith and criminal justice in the classroom. You enter the community, where you:

  • Prison visits.
  • Volunteer with at-risk youth or at women’s centers.
  • Intern with local police departments, courts and law firms.
  • Learn from professionals at different stages of their careers.

As part of APU’s American Courts course, you will visit a Los Angeles courtroom and witness a case. You will also take a class trip to Homeboy Industries, an organization that helps people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system to reintegrate into society. “People are not defined by the crime they have committed. They are making a difference in their lives and in their communities,” Hodge-Williams said. “Many of them talk about how they found God, joined a Christian group or were part of communities that help people come closer to Christ. You can see how God is working in their life.

Learn to make decisions based on faith

A criminal justice major at APU practically helps prepare you to pursue justice and serve others in your career.

Are you ready to learn more about studying criminal justice at APU? Download the major criminal justice brochure today.

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