Top 15 Sources for Criminal Justice News

In today’s digital world, it can be tough to know which sources you can truly trust. If you are a student of criminal justice or you are a prospective job seeker and need a list of quality sources for news about criminal justice, look no further. Here is a helpful guide to point out the top 15 criminal justice news sources that you can use for coursework or general updates on events in the field.

Criminal justice is an exciting and rewarding profession that offers plenty of job opportunities once you graduate. Graduates of criminal justice programs go on to become police officers, corrections officers, DEA agents, homicide detectives, and a variety of other valuable professions. But, the first step to landing an exciting job like this is to complete your degree.

Featured Schools

These reliable news sources will help you better understand the current landscape of criminal justice so you can stay informed on developments in the industry. These sources are also good to use for academic papers and other assignments where you need to cite credible sources. The first step to being a good practitioner of your profession is being well informed and each of these news sources can help you understand the current landscape of criminal justice.

1. ACLU: Criminal Law Reform

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 with the mission of defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties granted by the Constitution. Their criminal law reform project was created to seek an end to harsh policies and racial inequities in the criminal justice system. The resources feature breaking news, press release reports, statistics, video court cases, and more that are all credible and verified. This is a great resource for any criminal justice students who want to stay on top of developments in the field, especially in the subjects of reforming the police, the public defense system, and drug law.

2. Amnesty International News

Amnesty International is an international non-government organization headquartered in the UK that primarily focuses on human rights. The organization boasts a coalition of more than 10 million people in over 150 different countries, who campaign to end abuses to human rights. Amnesty International has members and offices all over the world that are able to provide breaking news on international human rights featuring up-to-the-minute data and groundbreaking reporting. On their website, you can find breaking criminal justice news, stories of interest, reports released by the organization, and topics that are trending on social media. This is a great source for those looking for international reporting on human rights issues from a reliable, unbiased perspective.

3. Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics is a statistical agency affiliated with the Department of Justice. They are one of the 13 statistical agencies within the federal government that are tasked with reporting reliable stats on the criminal justice system that are based on hard facts and research. The goal of the BJS is to collect, analyze, publish and disseminate information, as well as provide financial and technical support to state and local governments. This is a great resource for finding unbiased facts and statistics on the field that are thoroughly vetted and verified.

4. Cato Institute

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization and think tank that is dedicated to the promotion of libertarian ideas in public policy debates. Their primary function is to originate, disseminate and advance solutions based on principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. They have a section of their website dedicated to reporting news related to the constitution and criminal law. Their research focuses on unconstitutional overcriminalization, self-defeating policy, coercive plea bargaining, and police accountability. This is a great resource for those looking for news and facts on criminal justice through a libertarian perspective. 

5. Court Statistics Project

The Court Statistics Project is an organization that collects and publishes state court caseload data from the courts of all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marina Islands, and Guam. Their team of professionals request and review data from specialists within the court system and then compile that information and publish it for public consumption. They offer a wide pool of statistical information on the state court system as well as guides to help users understand the justice system in the US. This is a great resource if you’re looking for factual data on the criminal justice system at the state level that has been thoroughly vetted and processed by data specialists.

6. Crime Report – John Jay College

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a public college in New York City, founded as the only school of liberal arts with a focus on forensics and criminal justice. The school hosts a publication called The Crime Report, which is a non-profit, multimedia resource that covers stories about the complex challenges of the 21st century Justice System. The Crime Report offers the best and most current knowledge and discussions on a variety of criminal justice specialties across different formats, including digital print, video, books, and more. This is a great resource for those looking for information on criminal justice from a leading academic institution on the subject.

7. Death Penalty Information Center

The Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and public with analysis and information on issues relating to capital punishment. The organization was founded in 1990 to promote informed discussion about the death penalty by preparing in-depth reports, briefing journalists, and offering verified resources to the public and those working to improve legislation regarding capital punishment. The center also publishes a yearly report on capital punishment that highlights important statistics and developments in the field. This is a great resource for those who need reliable facts on the history of the death penalty and the legislation around it.

8. Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. The FBI is one of the largest resources for information on crime and criminal justice. On their website, you can find news stories, videos, press releases, speeches, testimonies, podcasts, photos, and more. Much of their content is centered around wanted criminals and unsolved crimes. But, it’s a great resource that features a huge collection of information and will be useful to students of criminal justice.

9. Huffpost Crime

The Huffington Post is a news aggregator and blog that features local and specialized editions. HuffPost Crime is the outlet’s section on crime and features up-to-date stories about criminal justice in the news. On the site, users will find top stories from the Associated Press and the Huffington Post news team. This is a great resource to find criminal justice news stories on topics that are leading the discussion in the field.  

10. The Marshall Project

The Marshall Project is a non-partisan, non-profit news organization that publishes information and news about criminal justice. Their mission is to create and sustain a sense of national urgency for reform and to have an impact on the system through fair, effective reporting with a humanistic approach. This is a great resource for those looking for news stories and statistics on criminal justice reform. In addition to original content, the website also aggregates news stories from other reliable sources like NBC News and the New York Times, so readers can get an unbiased perspective from all angles of an issue.

11. New York Times – Police Brutality, Misconduct, and Shootings

The New York Times is an American daily newspaper, often regarded as the national newspaper of record in the US, and boasts over 6 million news subscribers. They cover a wide range of topics on criminal justice in the news, including police brutality, misconduct, and shootings. The Times offers a great news source to find trending topics on the issues of criminal justice, police reform, immigration, and other related subjects. The Times covers local, national, and international issues and is often leading the discussion on these topics. It’s a good publication to reference if you are looking for up-to-date news sources on some of the biggest trending stories on criminal justice in the US.

12. Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics is an archive maintained by the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice. It features a wide variety of resources for students of criminal justice, including statistics and court documents on subjects ranging from capital punishment to public attitudes toward crime. This is a great resource for authoritative, unbiased, statistical information. It doesn’t contain any news stories or opinion pieces, but it does feature a large database of factual, statistical data that can be used in papers and assignments.

13. United States Department of Justice

The Department of Justice’s own website is another valuable resource to reference. It’s an authoritative source run by a government agency that releases information about changes in legislation and other topics of interest to criminal justice students. In addition to news stories, users will also find court records and official government documents that can be used to support claims and make analytical decisions. Topics covered on the department of justice website range from human trafficking to environmental justice and can be a great resource for students looking for an unbiased perspective on the information that is deemed valuable by the system itself.

14. United States Sentencing Commision

The United States Sentencing Commission is another valuable resource for news about criminal justice. It is a bipartisan, independent agency located in the judicial branch of government that is tasked with reducing sentencing disparities and promoting transparency and proportionality in sentencing. They also collect, analyze and distribute a vast array of information on federal sentencing protocols and practices. This can be a great resource for criminal justice students who need a better understanding of how the federal court system actually functions and operates.

15. US Marshals Service

The US Marshals Service is another good resource on news about criminal justice for those looking for useful facts and data. They are the federal law enforcement agency within the DOJ that serves as the enforcement arm of the US federal courts. Their website features fact sheets, historical documents, news stories, information on prisoners and wanted suspects, and a variety of other information that could be valuable to criminal justice students. This is a good resource for those who need authoritative information on law enforcement and the justice system from a ground level perspective.

How Do I Know I Can Trust a Criminal Justice News Source? 

The best way to know if you can trust a criminal justice news source is to find out where it gets its information and understand the incentives of the organization. The best sources are those with a .org, .gov, or .edu web domain, because these resources don’t have an economic incentive to produce false information. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a slant or objective, but they don’t receive any direct financial gain from pushing a particular narrative.

Commercial websites can also be good resources, but it’s important to thoroughly vet them and uncover any biases or hidden agendas. Is it a well-known publication or just a random blog? Do they have any political affiliations or connections that may impact their reporting? Is the site offering option pieces or statistical data? Just because a source follows a particular ideology or organizes itself around a certain cause doesn’t mean it can’t be a valuable resource. But you have to be aware of this perspective in order to use the resource effectively.

For instance, the Cato Institute is dedicated to a libertarian ideology, whereas the New York Times tends to favor liberal politics. This doesn’t mean they can’t be authoritative sources on a particular subject, but you have to understand where they’re getting their information and why they are presenting facts in the way they are to use the data to back up your own arguments. 

The best way to verify a source is to do some digging into the publication and understand its objectives and focus. That’s why government websites are a good resource because you already know that they are credible and non-partisan without doing much digging. If you have questions about the credibility of a source, it’s better to air on the side of caution and find a different publication. Any of the sources on this list are reliable outlets you can reference for factual information.


Top 25 Free Online Criminal Justice MOOC Courses