Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice


About Us


Mission Statement:

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana State University has as its major goal to discover new knowledge and to assist the community in solving problems while providing all of its students a sound liberal arts education with a focus on understanding criminal behavior, the criminal justice system, mechanisms of social control and their relationship to society. Students electing to major in criminology and criminal justice are prepared for careers in the criminal justice field as well as for entry into law school or a graduate program in criminology or a related discipline. The wide variety of courses offered enables each student to determine his or her program in terms of interests and aspirations. An integral part of the criminology and criminal justice program is the internship which allows students to gain a clearer understanding of criminal justice agencies.

About ISU Criminology & Criminal Justice:

The public's growing concern about crime makes criminology and criminal justice two of the most dynamic and fastest growing fields of study in the nation. Indiana State University's Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice is at the forefront of this expansion. Offering you a four-year degree program and a master's degree, our goal is to offer you professional preparation in the areas of corrections, law enforcement, security, and crime and delinquency prevention programs. What makes our program outstanding are special features including:

  • State-wide contacts and education programs with law enforcement personnel

  • Modern forensic laboratory which offers the opportunity for hands-on investigations

  • A faculty with experience in the field

  • Internships to provide practical experience

Indiana State University is ideally situated for providing a wide range of truly outstanding internship placements. Within the immediate vicinity of Terre Haute are situated a U.S. Penitentiary, a juvenile detention center, an adult probation office, a state parole office, a city police department, a sheriff's department, and a state police post. If a student is willing to drive up to 70 miles, it is possible for him or her to serve an internship at the local, county, state, or federal levels of both law enforcement and correctional agencies. The Department maintains close and friendly relations with all of these facilities, which greatly enhances the learning opportunities.


Faculty offices are all located on the second floor of Holmstedt Hall and are convenient for students needing faculty advisement or other assistance. Most classrooms are located in Holmstedt Hall and all others are situated in nearby buildings. The Indiana State Library is conveniently located and contains an excellent collection of general and specialized reference books, microfilms, journals, periodicals, and newspapers. In addition, the library belongs to state and regional networks which provide access to library materials within a larger area. The Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice also maintains and posts current information on employment opportunities for interested students.

ISU Criminology & Criminal Justice Programs:

  • Criminology & Criminal Justice Major
  • Criminology & Criminal Justice Minor
  • Graduate Programs, Criminology & Criminal Justice Master's Degree

Department Highlights:

Internships:  The Department participates in internships for students to explore the field of criminal justice. The internship allows students to gain "real-work" experiences which can help them secure jobs in the field following graduation. Many students are offered jobs by their placement agencies during or immediately following the completion of their internship. Notable internships have included placements with the Organization of American States, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the federal Department of State, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Indiana State Police.                                                                                               

Crime Lab:  The crime lab provides opportunities for students to see how evidence obtained in the field is identified and/or analyzed. The crime lab allows "hands on" experience with forensic laboratory techniques at 24 work stations.

Students Attend Professional Conferences:  Students routinely accompany faculty members to professional conferences where the students have an opportunity to visit and tour local criminal justice agencies, to meet students from other criminology and criminal justice departments, and to hear criminology and criminal justice faculty members from Indiana State University and other universities present papers. Our graduate students themselves routinely present scholarly papers at national conferences.

Specialized Courses:  In addition to its regular curriculum, the department offers a variety of symposia to address special needs and interests in the field. Such courses have included "Satanic Cults and Hate Groups," "Serial and Mass Murderers," "Law of the Family: Husbands, Wives, Parents and Children," "Women in the Criminal Justice System," "Minorities in the Criminal Justice System," "Enforcing Environmental Laws," "Comparative Criminal Law," "Legal Aspects of Private Security," "Drug and Alcohol Use and Crime," "Advanced Criminalistics" and  "Terrorism."

Journals: The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is proud to host or support three prestigious journals. Dr. Mark Hamm serves as editor for Crime Media Culture: An International Journal ( which focuses on crime, media, and culture. Dr. David Polizzi is the editor of The Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology ( which focuses on connecting theory to practice. Dr. Franklin Wilson edits The Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture ( which focuses on media and popular culture and criminal justice policies, legislation, public opinion, and public perceptions.

Conferences: The Department hosts periodic seminars and conferences on a variety of topical issues. We are also pleased to host the annual International Crime, Media & Popular Culture Studies Conference: A Cross Disciplinary Exploration each year. Authors, researchers, and students from around the world meet to discuss the effect of media and culture on crime and society.

Correctional Training Institute:  The Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice has a special relationship with the Correctional Training Institute, the academy of the Indiana Department of Correction. The Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice and the Correctional Training Institute work together to provide advanced professional training to CTI and other Department of Correction personnel, to provide professional development programs for corrections managers, to develop new correctional programs and to provide planning and evaluation services for Department of Correction projects.

Faculty:  Many of our faculty members have worked in the criminal justice field and are able to weave both theory and practice into their classroom presentations. Several of our faculty members have been elected to offices in state, regional, and national professional associations. Some faculty have research grants which allow students to work on field research projects. One of our faculty members has gained a national reputation as a writer and has won a number of awards for his publications. Our faculty have served as consultants to the National Institute of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Private Detectives' Association of Spain, the Indiana State Police, the Alabama Highway Patrol, the Indiana Department of Correction, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the National Sheriffs' Association, the Indiana Sheriffs' Association, the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, the Indiana State Coroners Training Board, the Indiana Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Association, the Indiana Association of Community Corrections Act Counties, the Hudson Institute, and numerous criminal justice agencies of local government.

International Studies and Students:  The Department participates with the University of Zagreb in a joint study program. American students have opportunities to study in Croatia, and Croatian students study on the campus of ISU. The faculty of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice has opportunities to teach in the criminology program at the University of Zagreb. The Department has always had a significant enrollment of international students from countries as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia, China, Japan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Italy, Germany and Canada. These international students are often practitioners who have taken professional leaves of absence to pursue degrees in the United States. Their presence in the classroom enriches the experience of American students by exposing them to other cultures, other criminal justice systems, and other ideas about law and justice. Our international alumni include an assistant superintendent of police in Sabah Province, Malaysia; the assistant to the governor of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the associate warden of a major prison in Lagos, Nigeria; a professor at the Venezuelan national military academy; and many senior police officers in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Malaysia.

Faculty Awards:

  • Dr. David Skelton is a recipient of the ISU Caleb Mills Outstanding Teaching Award.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Schrink was appointed by former Indiana Governor Evan Bayh to the Board of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
  • Dr. Mark Hamm is the recipient of several scholarship-related awards including the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for gang scholarship, the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award from the American Society of Criminology, and the Model University Curriculum Award by the Bias-Motivated Crime Division of  the American Sociological Association.
  • Lisa Kay Decker was appointed by former Indianapolis Mayor Steven Goldsmith to the Board of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Schrink and Dr. Edmund Grosskopf were presented the Sagamore of the Wabash award by former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan.

Department News and Activities

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice was well represented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology. Avdi Avdija presented his paper, “Examining the Effect of Victim-Offender Relationship on Crime-Reporting Behavior”. David Polizzi presented his paper, “The Social Construction of Crime as Dis-ease: Epidemiological Criminology from a Phenomenological Perspective”. Mark Hamm presented his paper, “Prisoner Radicalization and Sacred Terrorism: A Life Course Perspective” to the Presidential Panel at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in San Francisco. Mark also chaired panels on “Issues in Domestic Terrorism” and “Critical Perspectives on Crime and Culture”.


Jennifer Grimes has been appointed to serve the department as Student Liaison for Distance Education. She will serve as an advocate and fact finder/mediator for distance education students.


Shannon Barton-Bellessa has been appointed curriculum coordinator the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Mark Hamm has been invited, by the Department of Defense, to give a talk at The Neurobiology of Violence: New Tools, New Insights Conference at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland on December 1.


Jennifer Grimes published “The Social Construction of Social Problems: ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’ in the Mass Media” in Journal of Criminal Justice and Law Review: Vol. 2, No. 1-2, January-December 2010. Jennifer has also had  two book chapters accepted for publication in “Hate Crimes” is part of Volume 1: Crime and Criminal Behavior” and “Three-Strikes Laws” is part of Volume 3: Courts, Law and Justice in “Key Issues in Crime and Punishment”, William Chambliss, Editor, SAGE Publications. 


Mark Hamm has recently published the following article and book chapters:

Mark Hamm, Jeff Ferrell and Chris Greer (2010) “Provocateur for Justice: Notes on the Imprisonment of Professor Luis Barrios.” Crime,        Media, Culture: An International Journal, 6:227-238.

Mark Hamm (2010) “Conflict Theory: William J. Chambliss.” In Francis T. Cullen and Pamela Wilcox (eds.) Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mark Hamm (2010) “Prisoner Radicalization and Sacred Terrorism: A Life Course Perspective.” In Richard Rosenfeld, Kenna Quintet and Crystal Garcia (eds.) Contemporary Issues in Criminological Theory and Research: The Role of Social Institutions. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Pp. 173-204.


Shannon Barton Bellessa has been appointed as editor of the Encyclopedia of Community Corrections and will create a study guide and ancillary material for Sue Titus Reid’s Criminal Justice Essentials.


Congratulations to Frank Wilson on another successful Crime, Media, and Popular Culture Conference.


Shannon Barton-Bellessa has just published a new book Community-Based Corrections: A Text Reader. It will be available through Sage Publishing


Congratulations to Mark Hamm for a second invitation to Europe, this time the Netherlands, to present his work on terrorism. Mark was also recently interviewed by CNN.


Congratulations to Rebecca Morris for earning the 2010 Nardini Award for undergraduate scholarship. Rebecca will receive a $750 scholarship.



News Videos/Articles:

Click on the links below to see the ISU Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice in action.


Prison Intern


Kosovo-El Salvador


FBI Alumnus

Lisa Bontrager



Lone-Wolf terrorist could be responsible for Boston bombings

Honor Society Donates Books to Correctional Facility

Conference Includes Terrorism Panel Discussion

Becoming Deputy is Dream-Come-True for Ahmed Afifi

Experience of a Lifetime

Hearing to Examine Terrorist Recruitment in Prisons

Are Muslim Americans being radicalized in U.S. prisons?

Beware 'homegrown' jihadists

Getting Real: Students work mock crime scene

Professor Asked to Speak at Counterterrorism Conference in Belgium

ISU Student Interns with Indy Police, Expects to be on "The Shift"

Are American Prisons Incubating Radical Islamists?

Students Explore Prisons, Life in Croatia

Croatian Students Visit ISU to Learn About Comparative Policing

Professor to Examine Growth of Islamic Extremism in Prison

Criminology Major Gains Valuable Experience at Department of Correction

Croatian Students Complete Criminology Seminar

Central American Gang Conference

ISU, El Salvador Cooperation Aimed at Fighting Crime

ISU Survey Finds Property Crime Greatest Problem

Distance Education Student Will Set Foot on Campus For First Time at Commencement