Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

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The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) is an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice and criminology. ACJS promotes criminal justice and criminology education, policy analysis, and research for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.[1][2]

Purpose of ACJS[edit]

The purpose of ACJS is to promote a forum for disseminating ideas related to issues in education, policy, practice, and research within the field of criminal justice and criminology.[3][4]

History of ACJS[edit]

By the early 1960s, the American Society of Criminology (ASC), as an organization, had become more focused on the sociological theories of crime causation. Those who had helped to create the organization in order to represent higher education in policing felt left behind.[5] The police professors felt separated from the theoreticians, and they began to discuss amongst themselves what options were available to them. Because there were no longer enough police professors to change ASC from within, as evidenced by the Denver ASC conference, the police professors needed a catalyst for bringing them together to form a new organization.[6] That catalyst came in the retirement of Professor V. A. Leonard from Washington State College (now Washington State University-Pullman). After acknowledging Leonard’s retirement, discussion turned to the best way to recognize both Vollmer and Leonard’s legacy and the answer was the creation of a new organization, one that was rooted more closely to police science than theoretical criminology: a new organization of police professors. The retirement party for V. A. Leonard in Pullman, Washington, had turned into the first annual conference of the new organization: The International Association of Police Professors (IAPP),.[7][8]

Also, in order to recognize exceptional police science students, the National Criminal Justice Honorary Society, Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), was established. APS was founded by Dr. V. A. Leonard shortly after accepting a position in the Department of Police Science at Washington State University (WSU) in January 1942 [9][10]). By 1976, APS grew to 14 chapters. However, it was not until 1976 that ACJS recognized APS as its Criminal Justice Honorary Society and the two organizations partnered together. A few years later in 1978, APS and ACJS held their annual meetings in conjunction with one another, a practice that is still continued today.

Membership and Scholarly Sections of Research and Practice[edit]


ACJS has approximately 2,800 members representing every state in the United States, many countries, and virtually every institution of higher education with a criminal justice/criminology program.[11] ACJS members are scholars who are international in scope and multidisciplinary in orientation, professionals from all sectors of the criminal justice system, and students seeking to explore the criminal justice field as future scholars or practitioners. Aside from belonging to the national organization, members also can belong to regional organizations of ACJS. ACJS is broken up into five regions: the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice, the Southern Criminal Justice Association, the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association, the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice, and the Western Association of Criminal Justice.

Scholarly Sections of Research and Practice[edit]

ACJS has 12 scholarly sections that its members can subscribe to based on their educational or research interests and/or professional practice. Members can subscribe to multiple sections.

Community College: The Community College Section seeks to further the interests of community colleges, junior colleges, vocational/technical schools, two-year programs, and law enforcement and correctional academies.

Corrections: The Corrections Section encourages research and theory development relating to community and institutional corrections, as well as the development of relationships between practitioners, scholars and researchers.

Critical Criminal Justice: The Critical Criminal Justice Section promotes empirical and theoretical work on the ways in which ethnic/racial, class, and gender inequality contribute to crime and social control.

International: The International Section promotes international information exchange, criminal justice research, curriculum development, and general international networking.

Juvenile Justice: The Juvenile Justice Section promotes communication between academics and practitioners as well as research and theory in the area.

Law and Public Policy: The Law and Public Policy Section seeks to raise the awareness of ACJS members to law and policy concerns relevant to criminal justice issues. The objective of the section is to support members of ACJS with research, curriculum development, and networking. Members are encouraged to offer their academic findings to all levels of governments for law and policy development.

Minorities and Women: The Minorities and Women Section is the section for people who are interested in issues within criminal justice that are pertinent to underrepresented minorities and women. The goal is to further the development of research, theory and teaching practices on issues relevant to minorities and women in criminal justice. The Minorities and Women Section is one of the vehicles for bringing life to the Academy's policy of diversity and inclusion.

Police: The Police Section strives to build networks among police practitioners, researchers, and educators.

Restorative and Community Justice: The mission of the section is to provide a professional arena for academics, educators, justice agency practitioners, and victim advocates interested in developing restorative and community justice theory; conduct policy-relevant research on restorative and community justice practices; and educate individuals, organizations, institutions, and governmental entities about restorative and community justice principles and practices.

Security and Crime Prevention: The primary mission of the Security and Crime Prevention Section is to promote the professional growth and development of its members through service and education to the academic and practical field of security. By providing the necessary resources, organizational programs, workshops and activities, the section strives to ensure that its members remain on the cutting edge of technology, their discipline, and pedagogical advances.

Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship: The purpose of this section is to bring together Academy members to serve as a multifaceted resource to assist faculty, practitioners, students, administrators, and concerned citizens in their integration of innovative and effective teaching and learning techniques, and the scholarship of teaching within the field of criminal justice education and training.

Victimology: The mission of the Victimology Section is to facilitate and encourage research and theory development related to victimology; encourage appropriate and effective teaching techniques and practices for victimology-related courses; encourage organization of and participation in conference sessions related to victimology; and serve as a resource network for and encourage interaction among academic, research, practitioner, and policy-making sectors in order to further knowledge of victimology.

ACJS Degree Program Certification[edit]

ACJS created program certification standards and certification review for academic programs. The goal of these standards and certification review is to measurably improve the quality of criminal justice and criminology education.[12] The certification process is designed to evaluate evidence-based compliance with the nine areas of certification standards: Program Mission and History, Program Structure and Curriculum, Faculty, Admission and Articulation, Resources, Student Services, Integrity, Program Quality and Effectiveness, and Branch Campuses, Additional Locations, and Other Instructional Sites. Programs that are certified have demonstrated through substantive, credible evidence that they have met or exceeded all parts for every standard. Certification is available for Associate, Baccalaureate, and master's degree programs.


Academic Journals[edit]

Justice Quarterly (JQ): JQ is an ISI ranked refereed, multi-disciplinary journal featuring articles that address issues of crime and criminal justice. JQ provides articles using a range of qualitative and quantitative research. JQ is a premier journal and it continues to be a major forum for crime-related scholarship, making it an essential part of any library's holdings. JQ is abstracted or indexed in Social Sciences Citation Index, ISI Alerting Services, Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences, Abstracts in Criminology and Penology, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Criminal Justice Periodical Index, NCJRS, Uncover, Violence and Abuse Abstracts, Sage Public Administration Abstracts, Social Planning/Policy & Development Abstracts, and Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts.

Journal of Criminal Justice Education (JCJE): JCJE is a premier journal providing a forum for the examination, discussion, and debate over a broad range of issues concerning post-secondary education in criminal justice, criminology and related areas. The aim of this journal is to enhance the quality of higher education in criminal justice and criminology.


ACJS Today: The official online newsletter of the Academy, and it contains articles and book reviews applicable to the fields of criminal justice, criminology, sociology, and other related fields.

ACJS Now: Was published twice a year and highlighted current activities of ACJS. This newsletter was discontinued at the end of 2011.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences". ACJS. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  2. ^ Morn, F.T. (1980). Academic Disciplines and Debates: An Essay on Criminal Justice and Criminology as Professions in Higher Education. Chicago: Joint Commission on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education and Standards. 
  3. ^ "Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences". ACJS. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  4. ^ Morn, F.T. (1980). Academic Disciplines and Debates: An Essay on Criminal Justice and Criminology as Professions in Higher Education. Chicago: Joint Commission on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education and Standards. 
  5. ^ Oliver, W. "The History of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS): Celebrating 50 years, 1963-2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-08-07. 
  6. ^ Oliver, W. "The History of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS): Celebrating 50 years, 1963-2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-08-07. 
  7. ^ Arnold, W (1981). "Crime Justice: Review of the Field". Mid-American Review of Sociology. 6: 79–95. 
  8. ^ Morn, F (1995). Academic Politics and the History of Criminal Justice Education. Wesport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 
  9. ^ Alpha Phi Sigma. "History". Alpha Phi Sigma. Retrieved 2015-08-05. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Washington State University. "Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. 
  11. ^ Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. "Membership". Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  12. ^ Bassi, L; Rogers, R (1976). "The Road to Accreditation". Journal of Criminal Justice. 4: 243–252. doi:10.1016/0047-2352(76)90006-4.