270 Criminal Justice Research Topics & Questions

270 Criminal Justice Research Topics & Questions

Everyone should abide by the law. But is the social justice system correct and rightful? Education trains your critical thinking to make thoughtful decisions during elections or at your workplace in the future. The criminal justice system combines governmental and private institutions that ensure public safety. They detain, accuse, convict, and prosecute criminals.

Criminal justice research questions the correctness of the existing system and suggests ways of its improvement. This article is a comprehensive selection of criminal justice research topics that will help you create an exciting and profound essay. At the end of this article, you will find research proposal topics in criminal justice to start your research.

🔝 Top-15 Criminal Justice Research Questions

  1. How could we prevent international drug trafficking?
  2. Does the relationship between the police and people of different backgrounds vary?
  3. Why do crimes peak during natural and political emergencies?
  4. What is the current state of gender inequality in the justice system?
  5. Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of information at court?
  6. Is solitary confinement an efficient rehabilitating practice?
  7. How are the lives of children of incarcerated people affected?
  8. Should the US and other developed countries intervene in international conflicts?
  9. Are drug courts an effective measure to decrease the number of drug addicts?
  10. Do mandatory minimum sentences reduce the number of crimes?

📃 Criminal Justice Research Paper Outline

A criminal justice research paper outline is similar to any other research paper. However, many criminology students find it challenging to decide what to write in each section. The following structure should help you.


It is not the place to present facts. It is the place to invoke the readers’ emotions. Persuade them your criminal justice research question is topical today. By doing so, your readers will become more eager to read on. In addition, introduce all the central terms of your paper here, along with short definitions. Be specific: there’s no need to explain what criminal justice is.

Historical background and/or literature review

Nobody starts their research from scratch. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the available facts and previous research by reputable scholars. If you are working on comparative studies, the historical background is essential. Illustrate the dynamics of public policy and social opinion on the problem or a law.


Discover what is currently wrong with the legal system? Is there something to reconsider? Should humanity cast away certain practices as outdated? Be sure to explain your opinion.

Proposed solutions

It is the most creative part of your research. Once you have diagnosed the drawbacks of the criminal justice system, suggest proper treatment. You can propose several solutions for various circumstances or a step-by-step transformation strategy.


Summarize the current situation and its weak points. Visualize what would happen if nothing changes now. Then reiterate your proposed measures to make it work better. Conclude with an optimistic scenario and prospects for the future.

Below you will find our enormous collection of criminal justice research questions. Still, try out our topic generator if you find it insufficient or fail to encounter the topic that meets your expectations.

❓ Criminal Justice Research Questions

Human Trafficking

  1. What are the discourses surrounding human trafficking today?
  2. Are stateless trafficked people more vulnerable than citizens?
  3. What are the most common strategies in the human trafficking business?
  4. What are the main reasons for human trafficking?
  5. How can a lack of education directly cause human trafficking?
  6. What are the official anti-trafficking strategies?
  7. How do sociologists describe victims of human traffickers?
  8. Is cultural upbringing a direct factor that influences human trafficking?
  9. What factors influence the choice of victims for trafficking?
  10. What is the economic influence on human trafficking?
  11. What are the most common types of human trafficking?
  12. What personal factors make certain people more vulnerable to human trafficking than others?
  13. What are the legal features that distinguish human trafficking from other offenses?
  14. Which bodies and institutions are responsible for combating human trafficking?
  15. Can improving overall living conditions be used as a way to solve human trafficking

Law Enforcement

  1. What international standards are aimed at preventing police violence?
  2. What are the areas of law enforcement reform in the US?
  3. Could the killing of George Floyd be a reason for the change?
  4. What are the technological advances in US law enforcement?
  5. Why are law enforcement agencies ineffective in authoritarian states?
  6. What fundamental components make up a thriving community policing program?
  7. What strategies may be formulated for improving cooperation between police and communities?
  8. What are the barriers to cooperation between police and communities?
  9. How can the government decrease police brutality against people of color?
  10. What are the best international policies for combating corruption in law enforcement?
  11. How can be characterized violations of LGBT people’s rights in law enforcement practice?
  12. What are the best programs for cultural competency enhancement among police agencies?
  13. Does gender discrimination in law enforcement exist?
  14. How to formulate legal standards to reduce police gun violence?
  15. How does social media influence citizens’ perception of crime?

Drug Crimes

  1. What are the most common factors influencing drug use?
  2. How do the conventions and mechanisms of international law influence drug crimes in the US?
  3. Does the international narcotics control regime impact the US harm reduction approach?
  4. How does the ‘War on drugs’ during Richard Nixon’s presidency influence the current drug regime?
  5. What is the impact of drug-related crimes on the US penitentiary system?
  6. What problems are generated by mass incarceration for drug offenses in the US?
  7. Is harm reduction a good alternative to the prohibition approach?
  8. Does harm reduction reduce the rate of drug crimes?
  9. Can other violent crimes be directly influenced by drug abuse?
  10. What proportion of homicides in the US is drug-related?
  11. How can the American government improve the police approach to overdosing people?
  12. What role does society play in drug crimes as a factor?
  13. How do socio-cultural differences impact drug abuse?
  14. How can poverty directly lead to drug crimes?
  15. How does age affect drug action?


  1. What is the primary initiation of cannabis use?
  2. What statistics show the most recent trends in cannabis use among youth?
  3. What are the long-term consequences of cannabis use among young people?
  4. What are the main risks of cannabis use?
  5. What distinguishes decriminalization, legalization, and medical cannabis from one other?
  6. Why is the US federal government against cannabis use?
  7. Could the legalization of cannabis cut off a significant source of income for Mexican criminal syndicates?
  8. Could there be a significant financial gain from taxing and legalizing cannabis?
  9. How does cannabis production affect the environment?
  10. Which alternative is more effective: legalization or decriminalization of cannabis?
  11. What is the leading cause of cannabis legalization?
  12. How does the advocacy coalition framework explain the legalization of cannabis use?
  13. How does cannabis generally affect consumers’ health?
  14. Are there significant differences in cannabis policies across states?
  15. How does sociology define the opponents of cannabis legalization?

Juvenile Detention Reform

  1. What are the main downfall factors of the current juvenile system?
  2. What are the factors affecting juvenile delinquency?
  3. What are the global solutions for the reduction of juvenile delinquency?
  4. What dangers does the growth of marginalized youth pose?
  5. What are the main goals of juvenile correction?
  6. What is the most common juvenile crime being committed?
  7. What are the current trends in juvenile delinquency?
  8. How does mental well-being or disorder affect juvenile delinquency?
  9. What are the reasons for juvenile crimes increasing?
  10. What are the main effects of juvenile delinquency?
  11. How does poverty contribute to juvenile delinquency?
  12. What are the leading causes of juvenile crimes?
  13. How do the main theories explain juvenile delinquency?
  14. How do schools contribute to juvenile delinquency?
  15. Does poverty directly influence juvenile delinquency?

Incarceration & Child Support

  1. How does incarceration affect a parent’s child support obligations?
  2. How has child support been recently modified?
  3. How is child support generally calculated?
  4. What steps can be taken if the noncustodial parent refuses to make child support payments?
  5. Can the court change the amount of child support ordered?
  6. How frequently do noncustodial parents who owe child support have recent incarcerations?
  7. What features define the child support obligations of those who are incarcerated?
  8. Do debtors continue to pay child support after being released from jail or prison?
  9. Can a parent refuse to pay child support?
  10. What is the general cost of child support services?
  11. How is the policy of childcare deinstitutionalization implemented in the US?
  12. How are custody and visitation affected by the establishment of paternity?
  13. How can paternity get proven?
  14. Can a parent choose to forgo paying child support in favor of taking custody of the child?
  15. If a noncustodial parent is not making child support payments, are they still allowed to see their child?

Mental Health Issues

  1. What mental illnesses are most associated with a crime?
  2. What are the reasons for mental health’s importance in criminal justice?
  3. Is mental health an issue directly affected by social justice?
  4. How does mental health affect criminal sentencing?
  5. What is the relationship between mental health and crime in the criminal justice system?
  6. Is mental health a civil rights issue?
  7. What happens when a mentally ill person commits a crime?
  8. How does heavy advertising of stress-reducing drugs lead to more therapy users?
  9. How are mental problems conceptualized in the legal field?
  10. Can a mentally ill person be charged with a crime?
  11. How can the state contribute to the reduction of mental problems in society?
  12. What causes mental health problems in law enforcement?
  13. How does modern hyperglobalization influence the mental health of US citizens?
  14. How do courts deal with mental illness?
  15. What are the most common mental health disorders in the criminal justice system?

Civil & Constitutional Law

  1. What problems does the lifetime mandate of Supreme Justices in the United States lead to?
  2. What is the difference between constitutional and civil laws?
  3. What are the rules of constitutional law?
  4. Why is constitutional law the most important?
  5. What mechanisms eliminated racial discrimination enshrined in the American constitution?
  6. How does the practice of constitutional law change with the change in the party affiliation of the Supreme Justices?
  7. How is constitutional law made?
  8. What are the purposes of civil law?
  9. What is the history of controversy over certain articles of the American Constitution?
  10. How does constitutional law affect political competition in the US?
  11. How is constitutional law different from other laws?
  12. What are the historical origins of constitutionalism in the United States?
  13. What is the difference between constitutional law and human rights?
  14. What types of cases are not decided by civil law?
  15. What is unique about American constitutional law?

🧑‍⚖️ Criminal Justice Research Topics

  1. Methods for preventing international drug trafficking.
  2. The impact of prison on the children of inmates.
  3. Intimate partner homicide trends.
  4. Why are men more likely to receive the death penalty?
  5. Key issues faced by women prisoners.
  6. Prison privatization: pros and cons.
  7. Reliability of eyewitness testimony.
  8. Crime during emergencies.
  9. Gender inequality in the criminal justice system.
  10. The impact of solitary confinement.
  11. Relationship between education and crime.
  12. How are citizenship (or lack of it) and wrongdoing related?
  13. Ways to prevent crime on campuses.
  14. Consequences of child abuse and neglect.
  15. Criminal justice response to cybercrime.
  16. Ongoing US legal efforts to stop human trafficking.
  17. Should the death penalty be abolished?
  18. Methods for reducing recidivism after a prisoner is released from prison.
  19. The problem of misconduct by correctional officers in criminal justice.
  20. What are the reasons for the constant increase in the number of prisoners in the United States?
  21. Causes of juvenile delinquency.
  22. The importance of effective communication in the criminal justice system.
  23. Technology in the Canadian criminal justice system.
  24. Can the death penalty prevent crime?
  25. The impact of globalization on the country’s criminal justice system.
  26. Role of the US Supreme Court in the criminal justice system.
  27. The influence of the media on the relationship between the criminal justice system and society.
  28. Comparative analysis of criminal justice systems in the countries of the European Union.
  29. Race-specific homicide trends.
  30. The role of diversity education for criminal justice officials.
  31. Current problems in the US criminal justice system and strategies to address them.
  32. Does the criminal justice system treat individual mental health issues fairly?
  33. Reducing the level of juvenile delinquency and crime in modern society.
  34. The death penalty: arguments of supporters and opponents.
  35. Illegal immigrants and their impact on crime.
  36. Psychological assistance as a warning of a possible crime.
  37. Causes and consequences of wrongful conviction.
  38. Ways to detect and prevent child abuse.
  39. Police body cameras: Pros and cons.
  40. Current trends in Canada’s criminal justice system.
  41. Impact of domestic violence on children.
  42. Integration of former prisoners into society: problems and prospects.
  43. Will body cameras help end police violence?
  44. The role of interprofessional cooperation in the investigation of corruption and fraud.
  45. Revenge leaks, trolling and slander as serious internet crimes.
  46. The impact of cybercrime on the global criminal justice system.
  47. Are rational choice theory and containment theory relevant nowadays?
  48. The role of the media in the fight against crime.
  49. The effectiveness of the PEACE interrogation technique.
  50. Is the current system of appeal archaic?

⚖️ Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Research Topics

  1. Decisions based on bias as a key ethical issue in criminal justice.
  2. Why are confidentiality and ethics important when investigating legal issues in criminal justice?
  3. Shortcomings in the ethics of criminal justice and ways to correct them.
  4. False confession in the criminal justice system: Causes and consequences.
  5. Is it ethical to legalize prostitution?
  6. Ensuring impartiality in criminal justice.
  7. Use of excessive force as a key ethical issue in criminal justice.
  8. When does the use of professional discretion go beyond ethical boundaries?
  9. Criminal justice ethics: Police corruption.
  10. Reasons for police misconduct.
  11. Consequences of unethical behavior of an official in the criminal justice system.
  12. Abuse of power by officials in the criminal justice system.
  13. Is it acceptable to cooperate with prisoners to solve crimes?
  14. Consequences of violation of the Code of Ethics for officials.
  15. Measures to prevent police brutality.
  16. Is it morally justifiable for police to use lethal force in self-defense?
  17. A comparative analysis of criminal justice ethics in the USA and the UK.
  18. Reasons underlying ethical violations of police and prosecutorial disclosure obligations.
  19. Is it fair for young criminals to evade punishment?
  20. Legal aspects of the use of lethal force by law enforcement agencies.
  21. Causes and consequences of corruption in US police departments.
  22. Measures to combat corruption among police officers.
  23. Specific features of the professional ethics of a law enforcement officer.
  24. How ethical is interrogation?
  25. Ethics of business communication of law enforcement officers.
  26. Is the death penalty morally acceptable?
  27. When is it legal to use police violence?
  28. The interaction between ethics and the criminal justice system.
  29. Professional ethics and work etiquette of law enforcement officers: problems and solutions.
  30. Should the police have access to all data?

🔎 Research Methods for Criminal Justice & Criminology

  1. Why is research methodology important for criminological research?
  2. The effectiveness of one-on-one interviews.
  3. Institutional ethnography as a method of inquiry for criminal justice.
  4. Criminological ethnography: risks, dilemmas and their negotiation.
  5. How does participant observation work?
  6. Using questionnaires in criminology: Challenges and opportunities.
  7. The role and importance of real-time survey systems in criminal justice.
  8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of victim surveys?
  9. Questionnaires as one of the most versatile tools for gathering research data in criminology.
  10. Why do criminal justice researchers often use survey research to obtain their data?
  11. Approaches to field research in criminology.
  12. The strengths and weaknesses of conducting field research in criminology.
  13. Observation as a criminology research method.
  14. How to prevent errors in forensics associated with inaccurate and selective observation?
  15. Threats to reliability and validity in criminological research.
  16. Features of testing verification of causality in criminological research.
  17. What are the major reasons for conducting criminological research?
  18. Use of case study in investigating crime: pros and cons.
  19. Why are case studies important in criminal justice?
  20. Case study as a new method for investigating crimes against children.
  21. Experiments in criminology: current issues.
  22. Internal and external validity in field experiments.
  23. Systematic reviews and meta-analytic methods in criminology.
  24. The key features of experimental, quasi-experimental, and nonexperimental research designs.
  25. What are the 5 types of research methods? Describe their key characteristics.
  26. The ethical, political, and practical barriers to experimentation in criminal justice and ways to overcome them.
  27. The limitations of analysis of government data in criminology.
  28. Second data analysis methods: ethical issues and challenges.
  29. Areas of convergence and divergence between primary and secondary data analysis.
  30. Delphi survey method in the criminal justice system.

🎓 Research Proposal Topics in Criminal Justice

  1. A Comparative study of the American and Swedish criminal justice systems.
  2. The impact of organizational support on police performance and behavior: A cross-cultural comparison.
  3. Police stress: A study of the causes and effects of stress and coping strategies.
  4. The study of perpetrators of juvenile delinquency in terms of the life cycle and deformation theory.
  5. Juveniles convicted by an adult court: the impact of age, gender, race, previous convictions, and the severity of the crime on sentencing decisions.
  6. Public opinion on sex offenders and the management of sex offenders.
  7. The study of delinquency and victimization of minors using an integrated model approach.
  8. The impact of employment on recidivism among juvenile offenders.
  9. Capabilities of local law enforcement agencies to combat terrorism.
  10. Media: influence on attitudes towards the police and fear of criminal victimization.
  11. Does organizational justice matter in explaining prison officer misconduct and work stress?
  12. Comparative effect of the pre-release program on recidivism among women and men.
  13. Gender dynamics of sexual victimization in US prisons.
  14. Differences in sentencing: the impact of race, gender, and mental health.
  15. Influence of race and gender on the outcome of the pledge.
  16. The evolution of the cybercrime market in the era of creation, stability and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  17. Identification of unintended harm from cybersecurity countermeasures.
  18. Why have public mass shootings become more deadly?
  19. Media coverage of mass killers: Content, consequences, and solutions.
  20. Manifestations and causes of corruption in the civil service in developing countries.
  21. The link between motives for joining gangs and violent crime: a test of the self-determination theory.
  22. The impact of body cameras on the behavior of police officers and citizens.
  23. Study of police response to people with mental illness.
  24. Police crime: the nature and extent of crimes committed by female police officers.
  25. Analysis of hate crime victimization among immigrants.
  26. Which strategy is better for people: punishment or correction?
  27. The death penalty: a critical assessment of its relevance in contemporary society.
  28. Immigrants, crime, and the American Dream: Testing the assimilation theory of crime.
  29. Police perceptions of citizens and its impact on police performance and behavior: A cross-cultural comparison of China and the US.

🔗 References