How Simulated Courtroom Proceedings Help Criminal Justice Students

If you work toward a human services degree it is likely you will have a chance to try a hands-on approach for your chosen occupations.

Would-be nurses and doctors go through clinical trials, future social workers volunteer in the community, and student teachers go into the classrooms to learn their trade. Simulated courtroom proceedings offer the same training and experience for criminal justice students.

Learning Through Trial and Error
Until you’ve tried something, it is difficult to know how it will work. Like students working toward any human services degree, you are more likely to have a successful start if you have already had the opportunity to try and fail. A simulated courtroom trial offers you just such an opportunity, a chance to role play different methods toward achieving justice for the defense or the prosecution.

In a simulated courtroom, criminal justice students are able to act in ways that may or may not be successful in a real courtroom. The fact that it’s not real, of course, means that no one is  being put in real jeopardy. If you have heard a certain method does not work but you are unsure why, the simulated courtroom can give you the time and place to see for yourself. Lessons that result in failure are much more easily remembered than those that are just tested on paper.

Seeing the Process in Action
Simply reading about courtroom procedures and requirements is not enough to understand the intricate workings of the process. Getting to see these elements firsthand can help the criminal justice student get a better understanding of why they are necessary and how best to work within them.

For many students, a criminal justice education will occur outside of a courtroom, making it difficult to keep proper courtroom behavior and proceedings in mind. Having the opportunity to work in a mock trial gives you the framework to properly provide your information to the court. This can help you avoid actions and behaviors later that will cost your case instead of advancing it.

Experiencing the Moment
One of the most difficult aspects for criminal justice students to understand is how to think both in terms of strategy and in the moment. Just as nursing students learn how to deal with emergencies, it is essential for you to have the opportunity to react in a controlled situation. This is an exercise in both controlling your behaviors and in thinking fast.

Lawyers have years of learning to work in a courtroom, but most criminal justice occupations are more comfortable working in the field. Still, getting the chance to be put on the spot in an intimidating setting where you are graded can help you be better prepared for thinking when faced with a real case.

Any human services degree will require you to learn about many facets of the job. Being able to experience some of the more rigid elements can help you prepare for dealing with courts.

While you are not likely to spend much of your time in a courtroom setting, nearly all criminal justice graduates are guaranteed to need to speak in court during the regular course of their jobs. Having experienced a simulated courtroom proceeding will help prepare you for a part of the job that could be intimidating.



Working in the field of criminal justice is exciting and rewarding. At Rasmussen College students enrolled in justice studies often participate in simulated courtroom proceedings and have the opportunity to work inside a prison with offenders for real-world experience. For more information visit
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