Set up in 1954, the then erstwhile Department of Criminology and Correctional Administration (CCA) was directed towards creating trained personnel in the field of correctional and criminal justice administration. Students who enrolled for M.A. in Social Work with Specialisation in Criminology and Correctional Administration was ‘deputed candidates’ from the Departments for Social Welfare, Probation and Prisons. Later, this practice waned as the state governments developed their own in-house post-induction correctional training institutes. The candidates admitted to the programme gradually began to include non-deputed candidates since the late seventies who came in through an open competition process. In 2006, the TISS underwent academic re-structuring and expansion in tune with changing realities.
Thus CCA Department felt the need to broaden its focus from corrections to include access to justice, social exclusion and the re-entry of marginalised groups and thus renamed itself to be known as the Centre for Criminology and Justice (CCJ).
The Centre offers intensive post-graduate specialized class instructions and practical training in important sub-areas of criminology, victimology, juvenile justice, criminal law and policy, human rights, social exclusion, criminalisation of poverty and correctional social work with adults, juveniles and children both within the institutional and the community contexts. It provides for specialised teaching towards developing skilled human resources to work in the areas of crime prevention, human rights, access to justice, urban poverty and homelessness, custodial care and rehabilitation of institutional populations; exploring models and practise towards strengthening social inclusion of marginalised groups through its field action projects, and arriving at alternative strategies in criminal justice and correctional social work through research and training.
The objective is to impart a comprehensive understanding of the justice system (adult and juvenile), and rights-based and correctional social work to the students. Attention also is given to issues as youth and crime, women and crime, destitution, homelessness and beggary, citizenship rights of the marginalised and urban poor, and the place of control agencies in the larger societal context. Students develop a comprehensive knowledge of the major theoretical perspectives in criminology, the historical development of the discipline, and the operations and processes related to the criminal law and policy and the apparatuses of the Criminal Justice Administration. Through its work and focus, the Centre has a long tradition of providing experiential learning to students which can help develop critical and creative thinking as well as 'doing' capacities in them.