Career Choices and Characteristics of African American Undergraduates Majoring in Criminal Justice

Shaun L. Gabbidon, Penn State University Capital College
Everette Penn, Prairie View A&M University
Winston A. Richards, Penn State University Capital College

African Americans have traditionally had negative views of the criminal justice system. Historically, this has resulted in their exclusion of criminal justice as an academic major and career choice. Recent research, however, has shown that African Americans at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have increasingly selected criminal justice/criminology as their field of study and career choice (Gabbidon and Penn, 1999). To explore this trend, the authors replicated the work of Krimmel and Tartaro (1999) by sending surveys to undergraduate criminal justice majors at several HBCUs to investigate whether their reasons for selecting criminal justice as a major and career choice were in line with those of the earlier study conducted at majority institutions. The implications of the survey results are also discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006