Courses & Programs

Criminal Justice

Members of the criminal justice association pose at a coat drive

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.

Explore criminal justice classes in the HCC online catalog.

criminal justice degree

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Headshot of Lou Barry

Lou 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 adina giannelli

Adina Eliana Giannelli
B.A., University of Massachusetts; JD, Western New England University School of Law
Adina Giannelli joined HCC's Department of Criminal Justice in 2019. Before joining the department, she worked in the Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, where she taught courses on gender, justice, incarceration, and the law. Giannelli previously served as a law clerk for the Texas Civil Rights Project, where she worked on cases involving criminal justice system. Her research interests include the relationship between gender, race, and the criminalization of youth; prison studies; criminal justice writing; and transformative pedagogy. Outside of the classroom, Giannelli volunteers with Books Through Bars and serves on the board of directors of Voices From Inside. She teaches CRJ 100: Intro to Criminal Justice.

Headshot of Nicole Hendricks

Nicole Jamila 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 decision-making in the criminal justice system. Nicole 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 Chris Pronovost

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

A headshot of Alex Sanchez

Alejandro "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 Julio Toledo

Julio 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

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!

Criminal Justice Association logoThe Criminal Justice Association is a student club at HCC.


The mission of the Criminal Justice Association is to create opportunities for students to learn and engage in activities related to the criminal justice system, its professions, and those it impacts.


Our objective is to promote the criminal justice profession and to assist in providing information, collaborating with other campus clubs and programs, hosting activities, and sharing career opportunities. We work to foster an awareness of current issues in criminal justice.


Students do not need to be criminal justice majors to join; all students currently enrolled at Holyoke Community College are welcome!


Alex Sanchez
FR 176


The club meets in FR 145 on Wednesdays during Activity Period (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

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

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