101+ Inspirational Criminal Justice Research Topics

Imagine if someone randomly asked you, what is criminal justice? What would come to your mind? Criminal justice assignments are a hard nut to crack for students. Research shows that legal and criminal justice assignments are among the toughest in academia.

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In this article, we will go over several criminal justice research topics ideas. When tasked to write a criminal justice research paper you require accuracy, profoundness, and patience.

You also need to use credible scholarly sources to back the arguments and facts in your paper. All this is made easy by prudently coming up with or searching for a topic first before embarking on your writing. This is the most challenging part for many students. Getting a topic for your criminal justice paper should not be daunting anymore.

Criminal justice is the system through which crimes and criminals are identified, apprehended, prosecuted, and punished. Different countries in the world have different criminal justice systems.

Criminal justice systems have been around since the advent of civilization but have continuously evolved to date. Justice is a fundamental value of humanity and is at the cornerstone of the progress of human rights.

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Definition of a criminal justice research paper

You may wonder, what is a criminal justice paper? As the name suggests, it is an assignment that deals with crime and justice. In criminal justice, students learn how to detect crime, investigate it, prevent it, and look into different legal implications. It involves the study of the legislature, court case studies, and analysis of various concepts of crime and peace. The most important aspect of writing a criminal justice paper is searching for the right topic.


Criminology is the study of crime from a social perspective. It involves the impact of crime, what causes it, and the persons that perpetrate it. Suppose you were asked, what are the 6 major areas of criminology? Here is what your instructor would expect.

  • Social and psychological aspects of crime
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • History of crime and the justice system
  • Research and reporting skills
  • Forensic science and investigative skills
  • Special victims and special populations

Since we know what criminology is, let us have examples of criminology topics for research papers:

  1. Criminal record management systems
  2. Impacts of domestic violence on an individual
  3. Global online fraud
  4. Police brutality in the United States
  5. Correlation between rising accident statistics and drunk driving
  6. The role of technology in cyberstalking and cyberbullying
  7. The rise of domestic terrorism in the United States
  8. Victimless crimes
  9. Social reintegration of former convicts into society
  10. Gun violence in America
  11. The deterrent effect of capital punishment
  12. Perpetration of hate crimes in the U.S
  13. The relationship between unemployment and the rise in crime
  14. Analyzing and critiquing theories of crime
  15. Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes
  16. The global campaign on the war on drugs
  17. Do crime mapping and forecasting help prevent crime?
  18. Rising rates of violence against the homeless
  19. The risks of racial and ethnic recidivism
  20. What are the social causes of crime?
  21. The threat of transnational organized crime
  22. Community corrections

Criminal justice research paper topics and questions

Here are a few research paper topics that will impress your instructor and classmates:

  1. Key principles of crime prevention
  2. Legal perspectives of cybercrime
  3. Sexual harassment in workplaces and schools
  4. How is a jury selection performed?
  5. Are the rational theory and deterrence theory relevant in the modern world of crime?
  6. Gender bias in capital punishment
  7. Revenge leak: internet vigilance
  8. Is the prison system the best way for offender correction?
  9. What is the difference and similarities between war crimes and civil crimes?
  10. How mass media portrays crime and justice
  11. Parental child abduction
  12. Restorative justice and experimental criminology
  13. Hurdles of crime prevention in schools and colleges
  14. Religious offenses

Trends in criminal justice

As the world evolves, crime and criminal justice systems go along with it in the evolution process. This is in part due to the advancement of civilization. Below are some of the topics within current criminal justice issues:

  1. Individuals’ rights and freedoms versus homeland security
  2. Crimes associated with a mental health crisis
  3. Modern-day slavery: human trafficking
  4. Data breaches and extortion: cybercrime
  5. The three-strikes legislation
  6. Youth in the criminal justice system
  7. High incarceration rates in the United States
  8. The morality of the death penalty
  9. DNA and forensics in law enforcement
  10. Juvenile detention reform
  11. Crime during natural disasters and emergencies
  12. Legalization and decriminalization of cannabis

Criminal Justice Research

Controversial criminal justice topics for research

If you want your work to be unconventional, you may choose a controversial topic. A controversial topic presents contrasting views and supports the opinion you deem best. All you need to do is present an analysis of all points of view.

  1. Detention of immigrants in grim conditions
  2. Association of financial crimes and terrorism
  3. Human rights standards and police practice
  4. Ethics and power of criminal justice experts
  5. Prison labor
  6. The use of body cameras by police officers
  7. Allusion of modern music to crime
  8. Criminalization of poverty
  9. The exploitation of sexual misconduct accusations
  10. Who benefits from the prison industrial complex?
  11. Zero tolerance policing
  12. Are boot camps useful for streamlining youth offenders?
  13. Private prisons
  14. Arms trafficking in the modern world
  15. Racial injustices in the criminal justice system
  16. Policies on punitive action in the U.S. criminal justice system
  17. Is reform more beneficial than punishment?
  18. Is a criminal record check necessary while hiring new employees
  19. How do make gun control policies better?
  20. Is the restorative justice model the best criminal justice tool?
  21. What are the various policies on concealed weapons in different states?
  22. Felon disenfranchisement
  23. The effects of solitary confinement on; institutions, society, and individuals
  24. Problems arising from wrongful convictions

Criminological research topics

  1. Statistics on domestic murders and violence
  2. Terrorism and its role in geopolitics
  3. Causes of suicide and euthanasia statistics
  4. Stages and techniques of criminal research
  5. Characteristics and prevention and criminality among women
  6. Criminological problems averting robbery
  7. Graphology and handwriting expertise in tracking crime
  8. Inspection methodology of a crime scene
  9. Criminal classification
  10. Anthropological approaches in criminology
  11. Legal and ethical concerns on international intervention
  12. The social consequence of crime
  13. Serial crimes committed by Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd
  14. Poverty causes crime
  15. Methods of establishing latent crimes
  16. Lust crimes: mechanisms and prevention
  17. Criminal subculture
  18. Characteristics of rape crimes

Criminal justice thesis topics

A degree in criminal justice is one of the most recently coveted academic achievements by young people. Writing a thesis statement is a crucial final step in your educational journey. Criminal justice research paper topics for college students may be difficult to choose or come up with.  It is important to choose a topic that is broad and relevant to your audience. Pick out the most suitable path to showcase your knowledge and analytical skills. The following are a few great examples you may use:

  1. Challenges of prisoner re-entry into society
  2. Why there are so many criminals repeat offenders?
  3. Analyze the statistics of wrongful convictions in your country. What can be done to prevent this?
  4. Describe the landscape of the criminal justice system if all drugs were legalized
  5. How do private companies serve the public criminal justice system?
  6. What is the effectiveness of sex offender registration in the public system?
  7. Study unlawful use of force by law enforcers. Do criminals deserve to be treated cruelly? Highlight police treatment of criminals in different countries
  8. How does mass media depict the criminal justice system? Relate this to movies, newspapers, and novels
  9. Influence of citizens’ needs on public policymakers in the criminal justice system
  10. Is the judicial system accessible and effective?

Criminal law paper topics

Criminal law is the body of law that states criminal offenses, moderates apprehension, charging, and trial of suspects, and fixes penalties for lawbreakers. Deviant behaviors covered in criminal law include murder, theft, and rape. The federal or state government may initiate a case later to be decided by a jury. Finally, the perpetrator of a crime is punished by conviction or by paying a fine.

  1. What are the different types of socioeconomic offenses and their effect on society?
  2. Study the working, history, and cite case examples of jury nullification
  3. Compare and contrast actus reus and mens rea
  4. How do police interviewing and interrogation work?
  5. Describe the battered woman syndrome and mention a case example
  6. Write an analysis on the enforcement of stalking laws in certain states
  7. What are the grounds and implications of false confessions?
  8. Under-age drinking and fake I.D’s among students

Criminal justice dissertation topics

More students are interested in criminal justice both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. If you want to write your dissertation on criminal justice, your topic must not only assure you of a good grade but showcase your competence. Here are a few criminal justice dissertation ideas:

  1. The effect of crime-based TV shows on society
  2. Domestic violence by military personnel and law enforcement officers
  3. LGBTQ and crime: their contribution and impact on society
  4. An analysis of how the coronavirus pandemic has shaped crime
  5. What is the role of women in aiding crime?
  6. What is the relationship between racist stereotyping and crime?
  7. What are the roles and key motivations for women to join terrorist groups?
  8. How has the evolution of counterfeit been with the arrival of new technology?
  9. Is terrorism representation in media exaggerated?
  10. An analysis of how corruption affects the economy, politics, and society of a country
  11. An investigation of the role of technology in aiding crime
  12. Is it possible to have a crime-free society?
  13. Was the Black Lives Matter movement in such for justice or was it a vehicle for violence?
  14. Can abortion be classified as a crime?
  15. Is the media responsible for moral panic in society?
  16. The law is subjective in dealing with domestic violence against men
  17. Are rehabilitation centers effective in curbing crime?
  18. Influence of alcohol and drugs in committing a crime
  19. Which is worse disease, natural disasters, or crime?
  20. What are the motivations for the formation of youth gangs?
  21. Social media has evolved into a large crimes scene in the technological era
  22. Is terrorism based on religious ideologies?
  23. What roles do schools and the community play in preventing crime?
  24. A critical analysis of bullying versus crime in schools

Criminal investigation topics

Criminal investigation deals with the preparation of affidavits, interviewing individuals, developing leads, and applying the rules of evidence in criminal justice. Criminal investigation requires you to be methodological in its undertaking. Below are several criminal investigation research topics for your course:

  1. Applications of information technology in predictive policing
  2. Unethical practices in criminal investigation
  3. Law enforcement officers’ white lies in criminal investigation
  4. Psychological techniques of interrogation
  5. Therapeutic versus punitive crime management
  6. Planning and looking over an identity theft case
  7. The value of warrants and probable clause
  8. Death types in criminal investigation
  9. Case studies on military policing
  10. The process of solving a homicide
  11. The existence of criminal brains
  12. Criminal acts in sports

Criminal justice research proposal topics

  1. Are violence and crime a product of nature and nurture or both?
  2. Feminist criminology
  3. Social disorganization theory in the 21st century
  4. Current trends in the criminal justice field. Compare and contrast modern trends with those of the past
  5. A study on the relationship between violence and mental health
  6. The legitimacy and illegitimacy of rational choice theory
  7. Case study on the correlation between the internet and mental health
  8. Are dysfunctional families the root causes of crime?

Law enforcement and criminal justice research topics

Law enforcement is a branch of criminal justice that is tasked with keeping social and public order. It is usually the first contact a defendant has with the criminal justice system through various law enforcement agencies such as the police. Here are a few law enforcement research topics that would interest you:

  1. Mitigation of bias in machine learning decision aids by law enforcement
  2. Approaches of law enforcement to homelessness
  3. Current issues in police gun policy
  4. A review of law enforcement training
  5. Examining mental health among the police
  6. The future of policing: a look into 2030
  7. How can law enforcement better deal with crime on the dark web?
  8. What is the role of law enforcement in fighting the opioid crisis?
  9. The effects of body-worn cameras(BWCs) on policing and citizens
  10. Social network analysis and social media as tools for law enforcement officers
  11. Challenges of access to digital evidence by law enforcement officers
  12. Downsides of predictive policing
  13. Integrated policing: community-police relationships
  14. Will police departments benefit from investing more in information technology infrastructure
  15. Evaluating the effectiveness of mounted police units
  16. Techniques of mitigating international drug trafficking
  17. Mitigating corruption in law enforcement agencies
  18. Techniques of evaluating racially biased policing
  19. Evidence-based approaches to police recruitment and hiring
  20. Detection of illegal firearms trafficking.

Criminal Justice Research

Criminal justice research questions and hypotheses

Hypotheses are specific statements that evaluate the relationship between two or more variables usually derived from general theories. There are three types of hypotheses, i.e. a positive hypothesis, an alternative hypothesis, and a null hypothesis. Below are a few examples of research questions and hypotheses:

  1. If the youth had productive employment there would be less gang activity
  2. Police shootings and killings would decrease if more women and minorities were recruited into law enforcement
  3. A test of the relationship between crime rates and police behavior
  4. Do drug courts assist or hurt people with addictions?
  5. Correlation between ethnicity, race, and criminal justice
  6. What is the correlation between crime and place?
  7. How does the criminal justice system impact the overall criminal justice process?
  8. What are the instances where criminal justice has been used as a weapon?
  9. What is the role of the criminal justice process?
  10. What is criminal justice technology?
  11. The relationship between law enforcement officers and people of diverse backgrounds
  12. The effect prison has on children of convicted individuals
  13. An in-depth analysis of aggression and crime
  14. Evaluation of the relationship between age and crime
  15. Self-control and crime

Thesis writing in criminal justice

A good thesis has to have an original contribution to the field of criminal justice. It should provide new insight and original thought to the field. This also means that it has to answer, defend, or argue an original research question. Selecting a good topic can be a daunting task; therefore here are some criminal justice thesis examples:

  1. Effects of globalization on criminal justice
  2. Methods of data analysis in criminal justice
  3. Women in the criminal justice system: a look at professionals, victims, and offenders
  4. Ethics, organization, and policing in the law enforcement system
  5. History of capital punishment in America
  6. Media influence on young people regarding the police
  7. Local penitentiary systems are effective tools for social control
  8. Mandatory minimum sentences have reform and institutional benefits
  9. Poverty causes crime

Tips for writing a criminal justice essay

Great essay writing skills prepare students in criminal justice to develop report writing, administrative, and social work services. Students dread writing criminal justice essays as they prefer to learn concepts in class without any output on knowledge acquired.

Choosing a topic

Criminal justice is a broad field with many sub-fields. In some instances, you are required to come up with a good research topic for criminal justice. Thus you need to choose a topic that focuses on the objectives of that subject matter. An easy way to go around this is to follow the instructions given by your professor and get an understanding of what is needed to fulfill the objectives of the assignment.


Before diving straight into writing your essay, consider taking some time to organize yourself. Brainstorm various ideas regarding your topic, thesis statement, and arguments. Create an outline for your essay. It will give you a structure of thought.

Explore different terminologies in criminal justice and derive their meaning. Ensure that you understand all the terms and concepts you will put down on your criminal justice paper. Use terms that are relevant to your essay and that fit the context of your subject topic in criminal justice. Your paper should use a proper tone to address the audience you have in mind. Depending on whether you are informing the general public or experts in criminal justice, use appropriate terminology.


After you have done all the preparation, it is time to embark on the actual writing of the paper. A great rule of thumb to follow is in arranging your essay into three parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion

This is the most common format for most essays. It fits in well to make all your arguments and fulfill the requirements of your assignment.

Post writing

When you are done writing your essay read, it over again. Check for grammatical errors, logical event sequencing, proper use of terminology, and whether your arguments answer the main question.

In summary

Criminal justice is one of the toughest disciplines in academia but continues to gain interest from students all over the world. When tasked with writing a criminal justice paper, you must maintain accuracy and thoroughness.

For students, coming up with good criminal justice research topics is a daunting task. This can be made easy by going over the suggested topics above and picking the most suitable one for your assignment. This article gives insight into the different spheres and trends in criminal justice. What are you waiting for? Grab one of the topics above and try your hand to write a criminal justice research essay.



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