Criminal justice is the study of the social factors, social conditions and environmental influences that affect the development of human behavior that is contrary to commonly accepted norms.
It is a field of study that attempts to scientifically examine the causes, personal and societal consequences, and effective preventative/rehabilitative responses to socially dysfunctional behavior such as crime, drug abuse, violence, prejudice and human exploitation.
Today, the emphasis in criminal justice is in the prevention of harmful behavior, rather than simply its detection and prosecution. To effectively prevent behavior from occurring one must understand what influences it. As a result, the criminal justice curriculum at Cedar Crest College places an emphasis on understanding the social, biological, psychological, and environmental factors that influence behavior.