Criminal Justice Term Paper Topics

Criminal Justice Term Paper TopicsFrom crime prevention to law enforcement to the justice system, a criminal justice term paper could cover any number of a myriad of topics. There will be a lot of term paper writing in the criminal justice program, so you might as well get practice and become a good writer.

Unless your instructor has assigned a particular topic, you can select from a vast array of criminal justice term paper topics to write on. There might be some issue that has already come to light in your past or current studies that interests you. Something you are passionate about is great topic material for your term paper on criminal justice.

Your criminal justice paper should follow standards in format and style. You can use criminal justice term paper examples as a pattern when writing your own essay. The references that you gather in your research should go in a proper reference page located at the end of your term paper. The style of citing those references is dictated by your program. For the criminal justice program, the APA style is used. To be sure, ask your instructor which style is required.

Criminal justice is a subject that is vast and complicated. If you are writing a term paper, there are a multitude of topics from which to choose. It is best to write about a topic that interests you. Also, rather than writing about a general issue, explore something more specific within that general topic. If you would like to write a persuasive piece, there are a number of topics that divide society. Writing an informational paper, with statistics and a basic overview, also is common for a term paper.

The List of Criminal Justice Term Paper Topics


Crime and Criminology

Criminology as Science

Ideology within Criminology

The “Crime” in Criminology

Paradigms in Criminology

Policy and Criminology

Criminal Law and the Criminal Justice System

The Concept of Law

Conflict or Consensus?

The Relativity of Law

Relativity across Time

Substance Abuse






Relativity across Space

The Criminal Justice System

Goals of Criminal Justice

Administration of Justice

Production of Crime Statistics

Review of Elementary Research Methodology

History of Official Crime Statistics

Description of the Uniform Crime Reports

Strengths of the UCR

Weaknesses of the UCR

A New Look to the UCR: NIBRS–National Incident-Based Reporting System

Strengths of NIBRS

Weaknesses of NIBRS

Recent Studies Using NIBRS

Alternative Measures of Crime

Self-Report Studies

Short and Nye (1957)

The National Survey of Youth (NSY)

Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency

The Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN)

The International Self-Report Study

Strengths of Self-Report Data

Weaknesses of Self-Report Data

Victimization Studies

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

Strengths of Victimization Surveys

Weaknesses of Victimization Surveys

Comparison of UCR, SRD, and NCVS Data Sources

Distribution of Crime

Volume of Crime: Uniform Crime Reports

Geographical Distribution

Temporal Distribution

Volume of Crime: National Crime Victimization Survey

Geographical Distribution

Temporal Distribution

Volume of Crime: Self-Report Studies

Geographical Distribution

Temporal Distribution

Distribution of Crime by Gender

Perspectives on Female Crime

Explanations of Female Crime

Liberation and Crime

Post-Liberation Explanations

UCR Data on Gender and Crime

NCVS Data on Gender and Crime

Self-Report Data on Gender and Crime

Distribution of Crime by Age

Criminal Careers Debate

Distribution of Crime by Race

Distribution of Crime by Social Class

Victims of Crime

Household Income

Geographical Location

Race and Ethnicity




Theories of Crime


Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories of Crime

Preclassical Views of Crime

The Classical School of Criminology

Cesare Beccaria—Father of Classical Criminology

Jeremy Bentham—Utilitarianism and Classical Thought

Impact of Classicism

Criminal Law and Procedure



Contemporary Deterrence Theory

Conceptualizing Deterrence

General and Specific Deterrence

Conceptualizing Deterrence Efficacy: Individuals

Conceptualizing Deterrence Efficacy: Crimes

Extralegal Sanctions: Shame and Embarrassment

A Rational Choice Perspective

Routine Activities: Victims and Offenders

How Rational Is Choice?

Biogenic and Psychogenic Theories of Crime

Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909)

Enrico Ferri (1856-1928)

Raffaele Garofalo (1852-1924)

Charles Goring (1870-1919)

Earnest A. Hooton (1887-1954)

William Sheldon (1898-1977)

Criminal Heredity: The Bad Seed Theory

Contemporary Biological Perspectives

Twin Studies and Genetic Research

Adoption Studies

Testosterone and Aggression

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Nutrition and Crime

Environmental Neurotoxins

Neurotransmitters and Crime

Arousal and Crime

Evolutionary Psychology

Psychogenic Theories of Crime

Psychoanalytic Theories

Personality Theories

Mental Disorders and Crime

Integrating Psychological Explanations

Social Structure Theories of Crime

Strain Theories

Emile Durkheim—Origins of Social Structure Theory


Robert K. Merton—Social Structure and Anomie

Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd E. Ohlin—Opportunity Theory

Recent Developments in Strain Theory

Robert Agnew—General Strain Theory

Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld—Crime and the American Dream

Assessing Strain Theories

Policy Implications

Social Ecology

Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay—Social Disorganization and Cultural Transmission

Contemporary Social Ecology

Social Process Theories of Crime

Learning Criminal Behavior

Edwin H. Sutherland—Differential Association

Principles of Differential Association

Criticisms of Differential Association

Testing Differential Association

Ronald Akers—Social Learning Theory

Tests of Social Learning Theory

Culture Conflict and Crime

Thorsten Sellin—Conflict of Conduct Norms

Marvin Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti—Subculture of Violence

Elijah Anderson—Code of the Street

Walter Miller—Lower-Class Focal Concerns







Analysis of Focal Concerns

Social Control and Crime

Gresham M. Sykes and David Matza—Techniques of Neutralization

Denial of Responsibility

Denial of Injury

Denial of the Victim

Condemnation of the Condemners

Appeal to Higher Loyalties

The Context of Neutralization

Analysis of Neutralization

Travis Hirschi—Social Bond Theory





Analysis of Social Bond

Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi—A General Theory of Crime

Analysis of the General Theory

Social Reaction Theories of Crime

Labeling Theory

Frank Tannenbaum—Dramatization of Evil

Edwin M. Lemert—Primary and Secondary Deviation

Howard S. Becker—Secret Deviants and the Falsely Accused

Edwin M. Schur—Radical Nonintervention

Overview of Labeling Perspective

Research on Labeling Theory

Policy Relevance of Labeling Theory

Roots of Critical Criminology

Karl Marx—Conflict Theory

Group Conflict Perspective

George Vold—Group Conflict Theory

The Radical Era—1960s and 1970s

Austin Turk—Crime and the Legal Order

Richard Quinney—The Social Reality of Crime

William Chambliss and Robert Seidman—Law, Order, and Power

Contemporary Critical Thought

Left Realism



Research on Conflict Theory

Policy Relevance of Conflict Theory

Recent Developments in Criminological Theory

Integrated Theoretical Models

Can Theories Be Combined?

Approaches to Integration

Objectives of Integration

Delbert Elliott, Suzanne Ageton, and Rachelle Canter—An Integrated Theoretical Perspective

Mark Colvin and John Pauly—An Integrated Structural-Marxist Theory of Delinquency Production

Charles Tittle—Control Balance Theory

Tests of Integrated Models

Policy Relevance of Integrated Models

The Criminal Career Debate

Policy Relevance of the Criminal Career Paradigm

Developmental and Lifecourse Criminology

Sampson and Laub’s Developmental Model

Policy Implications of Developmental Criminology


Types of Crime


Violent Crime

Index Crimes: Murder, Assault, and Rape


Homicide Correlates

Trends in Homicide

Patterns in Criminal Homicide

Serial Killings and Mass Murder

Explaining Homicide

Subculture of Violence: Jerry

Insult and Homicide

Homicide Theory

Assault and Battery



Explaining Rape

Family Violence

Child Abuse

Wife Battering

Violence toward Siblings

Violence toward the Elderly

Explaining Family Violence

Corporate, Government, and Professional Violence

Corporate Violence

Government Violence

Professional Violence: Physicians

Organized Crime

Explaining Organized Crime

Economic Crime

Acquisitiveness and Theft

Acquisitiveness Cross-Culturally

Social Conditions and Theft

The Law of Theft



Targets of Burglary

Time and Place in Burglary

Big-Time Burglary

Burglary Statistics

Perspectives on Burglary

Shoplifting and Employee Theft

Employee Theft

Perspectives on Shoplifting

Telemarketing Fraud

Computer Crime

White-Collar Economic Offenses

Background of White-Collar Crime

Forms of White-Collar Crime

Rationalization and White-Collar Crime

Other Characteristics of White-Collar Crime

Crooked Corporations and Thieving Executives

Criminological Theory and White-Collar Crime

Crimes without Victims and Victims without Crimes

Crimes without Victims

Should They Be Crimes?


Motorcycle Helmets

Pros and Cons

The Decriminalization Drift

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Prostitution—Sex Work

Female Prostitution

Male Prostitution

Theoretical Views of Prostitution

Drug Offenses

Opiate Drugs

Perspectives on Heroin Use


Crack Cocaine

Perspectives on Cocaine and Crack Cocaine



Marijuana as Medicine

Marijuana Use and Criminological Theory

Trends in Drug Use

Victims without Crimes

Cigarette Smoking