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The Role of Virtual Reality in Criminal Justice Pedagogy: An Examination of Mental Illness Occurring in Corrections

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Education Volume: 32 Issue: 2 Dated: 2021 Pages: 252-271
Date Published
20 pages

This paper explores the role of virtual reality (VR) in criminal justice courses.


This study examines qualitative responses from a general criminal justice course and a special topics mental health and criminal justice course that included virtual reality (VR). Findings reveal the presence of crime myths that were altered by the VR experience. The VR experience produced an emotional response that facilitated learning. Qualitative themes include concepts of realism, motivated learning, increased memory recall, deeper meaning in learning, the inclusion of visual learning techniques and validation of overall student satisfaction. This suggests that virtual reality technologies may be an effective though rarely used technology in criminal justice education. This study includes five classes taught in two states between 2019–2020, with a total sample of two-hundred and forty-two (n = 242) undergraduate students. Participant responses were coded by changes in perceptions, emotional content, and overall satisfaction with the VR experience. This study addresses an absence of empirical studies that document the efficacy of interactive technology within a criminal justice pedagogy. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2021