Courses & Programs

Criminal Justice

A criminal justice teacher instructs a student in the use of a microscope

A criminal justice degree lays the foundation for a wide range of career options, including law enforcement, forensics, corrections, and social work. 


The mission of HCC's criminal justice program is to foster a challenging environment that provides a solid knowledge of the criminal justice system as well as a broad background in the liberal arts through high-quality instruction.

The department will prepare students to undertake further studies at four-year institutions, and will promote the development of professionals who possess a commitment to public service, ethical consciousness, and leadership abilities.

student learning outcomes

Graduates of this program will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the American criminal justice system and relevant legal, theoretical, and public policy issues.
  2. Develop effective and professional communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  3. Articulate an awareness of issues of diversity, including but not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, social class, disability, and religious belief.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the primary data sources and methods used to measure practices in the criminal justice field and criminal behavior.
  5. Identify, locate, evaluate, and responsibly use appropriate legal, sociological, and other sources in papers and assignments.
  6. Recognize the importance of ethics and ethical behavior in the achievement of justice.

learn more

A headshot of Alex SanchezAlejandro "Alex" Sanchez, Jr.
A.S., Holyoke Community College; B.S., Westfield State College; M.A., Anna Maria College
Alejandro "Alex" Sanchez, Jr. joined the criminal justice department in 2006. While at HCC, he has served as program coordinator and chair of the criminal justice department. He has also been the advisor to the Criminal Justice Association for 11 years. In 2018, he was awarded the Elaine Marieb Award for Teaching Excellence. Sanchez teaches CRJ 103: Introduction to Corrections, CRJ 105: Introduction to Security, CRJ 209: Police & Society, and CRJ 210: Human Relations. He also coordinates internships for the department.

Headshot of Nicole HendricksNicole Hendricks
B.A., Wesleyan University; M.P.A., New York University
Nicole J. Hendricks (née Henderson) joined the criminal justice department in 2006. During her tenure she has served as coordinator of the gender and women's studies program, and chair of the criminal justice program. Before joining the faculty, she was a research associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she conducted both federally and privately funded research on a range of issues. She is the author of "Law Enforcement and Arab American Community Relations After September 11, 2001: Engagement in a Time of Uncertainty" (2006, Vera Institute of Justice). Her research and teaching interests include the intersection of race, crime and justice, police-community relations, and discretion and decisiion-making in the criminal justice system. Hendricks teaches CRJ 117: Criminology, CRJ 210: Human Relations, CRJ 208: Juvenile Justice, CRJ 217: Women, Crime & Justice, and CRJ 230: Capstone in Criminal Justice.

Headshot of Jose BouJose Bou
M.A., Boston University
Jose Bou teaches CRJ 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice, CRJ 208: Juvenile Justice, CRJ 103: Introduction to Corrections, and CRJ 117: Criminology.


Headshot of Lou BarryLou Barry
A.S., Holyoke Community College; B.S., Castleton State; M.A., Anna Maria College
Lou started his 35-year law enforcement career with the Orleans Police Department where he served as patrol officer, detective, and sergeant. He then accepted the position of chief of police with the Granby Police Department, where he served for the next 24 years. He has been a member of the adjunct faculty at HCC since 1990, and served as interim chief of the HCC Campus Police Department. He is also a licensed private investigator and trains extensively at several police academies. Barry teaches CRJ: Introduction to Criminal Justice and CRJ 112: Law & Procedure.

Headshot of Chris PronovostChris Pronovost
A.A., Holyoke Community College; B.S., M.S., Western New England College
Chris Pronovost teaches CRJ 112: Law & Procedure.



Headshot of Robert RiedlRobert Riedl
A.S., B.S., Northeastern University; M.U.A., Boston University
Bob Riedl's work history is as follows: Veteran of the United States Coast Guard; community relations training officer, Framingham Police Department, Framingham; regional security manager, Digital Computer Corp.,  Marlboro; select-person, Ashland; and retired professor in the criminal justice program at Holyoke Community College, where he taught a variety of criminal justice courses for 23 years. Riedl teaches CRJ 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice and SOC 213: Urban Sociology.

Headshot of Julio ToledoJulio Toledo
A.S., Holyoke Community College; B.S., Westfield State College; M.A., University of Massachusetts at Lowell


Your advisor will:

  • Provide you with accurate information about the program requirements, as well as college policies and procedures
  • Assist you in thinking about ways to develop strategies for academic success
  • Direct you to academic resources available at HCC
  • Monitor your progress toward graduation

You should:

  • Know what the criminal justice program expectations and requirements are
  • Meet with your advisor early and often
  • Be aware of your academic standing
  • Talk to your advisor about campus resources such as the Center for Academic Program Support
  • Explore transfer options and employment opportunities

How to succeed in the criminal justice program, and in college:

  • Go to class
  • Pay attention to rules and assignment due dates
  • Get to know your instructor
  • Ask questions
  • Accept responsibility
  • Accept constructive criticism
  • Know your academic situation
  • Pay attention to the syllabus
  • Meet often with your advisor

Any dishonesty in the performance of coursework (such as plagiarism or cheating in other forms) is taken very seriously.

Possible consequences:

  • Failing the assignment
  • Failing the course
  • A permanent mark on your record
  • Expulsion from HCC

In the event that a student is charged with some form of dishonesty, the Student Discipline Policy will be followed (see the Student Handbook).

Do you want to excel, but don't know how? Are you feeling lost or overwhelmed? Explore HCC's student resources.

  1. Make an appointment with your advisor
  2. Utilize the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS)
  3. Get to know the library reference desk
  4. Use the Writing Center
  5. Veterans: Visit the Bunker
  6. Access WellConnect or other on-campus wellness programs
  7. Visit the Thrive Financial Success Center

HCC has articulation agreements (transfer partnerships) with the following schools:

  • Westfield State University
  • American International College
  • Western New England University
  • Bay Path University
  • Elms College

Contact our transfer office to learn more about transfer opportunities!

Department of Higher Education guidelines authorized by Section 18L of Chapter 41 in the Massachusetts General Laws do not allow academic credit to be granted for:

  • Life experience or military, police, or other training
  • Academic credit for knowledge-based testing (CLEP, DANTES, etc.) to exceed six credits
  • Perkins articulation

Students being re-admitted into the CRJ program will enroll in the current program of study.

Students selecting this major are advised that employers in criminal justice and related fields conduct CORI and SORI checks pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 172-178 and regulations promulgated to such statues.

If a student takes nine credits in the Humanities as Program Electives, this program qualifies for MassTransfer which guarantees credit transfer to Massachusetts state colleges universities. MassTransfer also will grant students automatic acceptance to certain state colleges and universities by achieving the minimum grade point average and the HCC degree.

Depending on course selection, 100% of this program can be completed online.

hear from a cj student

Curious about the criminal justice program at HCC? Hear what our current students have to say.