Criminal Justice, Social & Political Science

Criminal Justice Internship
CRJU 4800 Internship (12 credit hours)

Catalog Description

Prerequisite: permission of instructor or department. Application of academic knowledge in criminal justice setting. Joint supervision by faculty internship coordinator and agency officials. Requires a substantial research paper.


The criminal justice internship/practicum program within the Department of Criminal Justice, Social, and Political Science at Armstrong State University is designed specifically to enable students to apply classroom knowledge to the work environment and to better prepare them to enter the criminal justice field upon graduation. The internship program exposes students to the qualifications and requirements of various employing agencies, giving those students the experience to meet those requirements. It is intended that students will participate in the work of the internship/practicum agency and, when possible, make significant contributions.

The criminal justice internship supports the second goal of the Armstrong State University's mission statement and exemplifies the department's commitment to

  • "Providing students with intellectual challenges, professional experiences, and extracurricular activities that prepare them for citizenship, leadership, career success, and a lifelong passion for learning . . . " (Armstrong State University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog, p. 11, approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, April 2005.)


  • To afford students the opportunity to correlate theory with practice within the agency setting.
  • To develop in students an understanding of current problems within the agency and other components of the criminal justice system (or general public or private sectors related to the criminal justice system).
  • To allow the agency an opportunity to benefit from objective inquiries by students into the agency's method of operation.
  • To provide students with intensive agency experience and to permit students to become sufficiently involved so that their input is solicited and received.
  • To allow students to assume appropriate responsibilities of a regular staff member and be able to function with a minimum of supervision.
  • To enhance students' capacity for intellectual inquiry, expository writing skills, and critical analysis.
  • To develop students' understanding and/or ability to devise realistic strategies for improving an agency's delivery of services.
  • In the achievement of these objectives, students should have the opportunity to assume responsibility for productive tasks within agencies and to observe and identify with the public or private sector professional in his or her various roles in the agency and community.

The goal of AASU's criminal justice program is to produce a professional who is both highly self-directing and able to use consultative supervision. As an applied interdisciplinary profession, criminal justice places emphasis upon planned experience as a vital aspect of the educational process. There are six educational objectives for each intern in the field internship instruction:

  • Socialization: Interns should identify themselves as part of the agency staff, develop collegial relationships with staff, and become accustomed to the style of the agency (hours, modes of dress, casual conversation, place and style of work). However, interns should not use profanity, regardless of what others are doing, and should not become involved in gossip or work group cliques.
  • Knowledge of Services: Interns should be completely familiar with the functions of the field agency, its modes of intake, service limitations, referral, and recording. They should also become familiar with the agency's network of relationships with other agencies.
  • Awareness of Role: In agency activities, students should develop a consciousness of purpose, including objectivity toward clients and a comfortable sharing relationship with supervisors. Interns should never become argumentative or disrespectful.
  • Values: Interns should be conscious of their values and how values affect ability to function with clients. They should be able to accept challenges to values and, when necessary, use supervisory help to examine the validity of such challenges.
  • Skills: Interns should develop and practice those skills which are necessary in dealing with individuals and groups. Such skills include interviewing, listening, speaking, summarizing, and communicating nonverbally. The ability to establish comfortable relationships is vital.
  • Advocacy: Interns should be sufficiently aware of agency functions and sufficiently secure as persons to initiate questions and explore alternatives. Reactions to supervision and staff meetings should demonstrate a comfortable, collaborative attitude.

Minimum Requirements of Eligibility

  • Criminal justice major for internship; Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice candidate for practicum.
  • For the internship, students should be in their first or second semester of their senior year, with a successful completion of at least 90 semester hours toward graduation. For the practicum, students should have completed 30 semester hours in the graduate program.
  • For the criminal justice internship, successful completion of the following courses:
    Introduction to Criminal Justice
    Interpersonal Communication Skills
    Ethical Theories and Moral Issues in Criminal Justice
    CRJU 2210 Introduction to Law Enforcement
    CRJU 2410 Introduction to Corrections
    CRJU 3100 Research Methods
    CRJU 3300 Criminology
    CRJU 3170 Criminal Justice Administration
    CRJU 3500 Criminal Evidence and Procedure
    CRJU 5300U Juvenile Delinquency
    CRJU 5500U Law and Legal Process
  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and a 2.5 GPA for all course work in the major (3.0 for graduate students).
  • The student shall not have been convicted of a felony.
  • If presently under indictment for a felony, the student will postpone the internship placement pending the outcome of the indictment.
  • If applicable, the student shall have been off academic probation for one full semester prior to the internship placement.

    Note: Internships will not be approved for current or previously held jobs.


For undergraduate internships, 12 semester credit hours require 40 hours per week for 12 weeks in the agency or program, for a total of 480 hours. For the graduate practicum, 6 semester credit hours require a total of 400 hours in the agency or program to be completed within the 15-week semester.

Responsibilities of the Student

  • Complete all prerequisites outlined in the program.
  • Arrange and appear for a personal interview with the internship coordinator the semester prior to your anticipated internship.
  • Complete the following forms (2 copies) prior to meeting with the internship coordinator:
    • Internship Application (Addendum A)
    • Notarized Waiver of Liability (Addendum B)
    • Current Resume
  • Arrange and appear for a personal interview with the agency program representative.
  • Report to the agency dressed and groomed in accordance with agency guidelines (if unsure, check with the internship coordinator or agency representative prior to the scheduled interview).
  • Be punctual and reliable; treat this assignment as you would a normal paid career or occupational assignment. The agency supervisor and/or representative must be notified if you will be late or absent. All absences will be made up prior to the end of the term.
  • Maintain regular attendance at the agency during hours arranged for placement. Absences must be reported to the supervisor and internship coordinator and lost time must be made up prior to the end of your internship.
  • Fulfill in a professional manner all the duties and responsibilities assigned by the agency supervisor. Special emphasis is placed on absolute commitment to the principle of confidentiality regarding sensitive information gained while in field placement. Do not discuss sensitive information with non-agency people.
  • Be familiar with the rules, regulations, and all laws that pertain to the participating agency or program.
  • Participate openly and honestly in the evaluation process.
  • Attend the mandatory internship meeting the first week of the semester and meet with the internship coordinator at least two additional times during the semester (e.g., midterm and at the end of the semester.)
  • Complete all written assignments (summary of weekly activity form, student evaluation of field placement, student self-evaluation in field placement, research paper, etc.) and all other course requirements.
  • Initiate, develop, and complete a research project, from which the research paper is drawn, related to agency concerns or interest.
  • To facilitate good rapport with the participating agency, interns must have good listening and interpersonal skills and must possess emotional stability and high levels of maturity and integrity.

Student Requirements

Students are expected to treat the internship or practicum in the same manner as if they were paid staff members. Promptness and regular attendance are non-negotiable requirements.

There are three mandatory meetings with your AASU internship coordinator. All meetings will be in the Department of Criminal Justice, Social, and Political Science conference room, University Hall 214.

Final grades are derived from the following:

  • 50 points. Internship coordinator's analysis of the evaluations conducted by the agency supervisor at midterm and again at the end of the semester. Periodic contacts by the internship coordinator will also be used in determining the final grade. Note: Agency supervisors should have completed their midterm evaluations by October 10, 2008. Final evaluations are due at the end of the internship, no later than December 5, 2008.
  • 10 points. Timely submittal and depth of analysis of your weekly activity reports. Weekly activity reports should emphasize your observations and participation at the internship site. The weekly reports should be completed at the end of each week and either faxed or hand delivered to the internship coordinator the following Monday morning. Dept. Fax 912.344.3438
  • 5 points. Depth of analysis of intern's evaluation of field placement and self-evaluation in field placement. Both forms should be submitted no later than December 5, 2008.
  • 5 points. Summary and brief commentary of journal article: "Criminal Justice Interns' Observations of Misconduct: An Exploratory Study," by W. T. Jordan, R. G. Burns, L. E. Bedard, T. A. Barringer, in Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 18(2), July 2007, pp. 298-310. The journal article will be handed out at the first meeting with the internship coordinator at the beginning of the semester. Summary/commentary will be due December 5, 2008 and should be approximately three to four typed pages.
  • 30 points. Research Paper: A 20-page minimum, double-spaced, typed, 12-point font, original research paper (properly formatted and referenced following the APA Style Manual) on a selected topic relating to your field placement experience is required. Guidelines for the paper follow this page. Ideally, this paper will involve field research growing out of your placement experiences. The final research paper is due December 5, 2008.

Grading: final grades are based on the following scale:

  • A: 90 - 100
  • B: 80 - 89
  • C: 70 - 79
  • D: 60 - 69
  • F: 59 and below

Guidelines for Criminal Justice Field Research Paper - CRJU 4800

I. Introduction (Brief overview of the agency, including:)

  • Type of agency (local, state, federal, law enforcement, court, corrections, and any other relevant descriptive information).
  • Location
  • Size of the agency (number of personnel, offenders, geographical area served, and any other descriptive information).
  • History
  • Special accomplishments or recognition

II. Organizational Culture and Structure

  • Expected Employee Behavior:
    • Mission Statement*
    • Official goals statement*
    • Official values statement*
    • Code of Ethics/Conduct*
  •     *Include copies of above if available. If not available, please note that in your paper.
  • Organizational Structure:
    • Agency organization chart
    • Organization chart for your unit (include number of employees)
    • Agency relationship to other elements of the criminal justice system. Students may use a flow chart to illustrate this relationship.

III. Agency Functions

  • Most important staff functions in unit to which you are assigned.
  • Prioritize the functions by calculating the percent of employee time spent on each function.

IV. Agency Role in Crime Prevention

  • What role does the agency play in providing crime prevention services? Describe any specific programs.
  • How effective do the members of the agency consider these programs to be?
  • How effective do you believe the programs are?
  • Is there any research on the effectiveness of these programs?(Discuss any general research on these types of programs, as well as specific research relating to your field agency.) Another way of presenting IV: In view of your agency experience, how do the roles/tasks of the agency impact the criminal justice system? What works? What does not work? Is this what you expected to find? Why or why not?

V. Integration of Course Content and Internship

  • Based on your course work, discuss the issues and challenges most relevant to the agency (e.g., budget constraints, legal changes, increasing or decreasing crime rates, effects of jail/prison overcrowding, changing area demographics, effects of get-tough-on-crime policies, impact of the media on public perception of the agency, etc.)
  • According to the agency, which of these issues and challenges have the greatest impact on the ability of the agency to accomplish its mission? What is the nature of this impact?
  • How does the agency address these issues and challenges?
  • What criminal justice themes developed in your courses were verified by your internship? What themes were not?

VI. Ethical Issues

  • Discuss the agency's code of ethics and how this code is communicated. What type of training in ethics is provided?
  • Discuss work-related ethical dilemmas, alternative resolutions, and management of complex ethical issues.


CJ Internship Manual