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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new course will help University of Tennessee students learn more about criminal justice and improve the efficiency of Knox County’s criminal justice system, UT-Knoxville officials said Thursday.

Dr. Lonnie McIntyre, UT-Knoxville education professor, said students will attend at least 10 Knox County Criminal Court sessions next spring.

McIntyre, a member of the Tennessee Corrections Volunteer Advisory Board, said the course will help the local criminal justice system by encouraging students to be better volunteers.

“Tennessee’s criminal justice system — like those in many states — is understaffed and facing tight budgets,” said McIntyre, a member of the Tennessee Corrections Volunteer Advisory Board.

“Volunteers are a major part of the workforce that handles the state’s corrections workload. Many of these students will become more valuable as volunteers with the first-hand training they receive through this course.”

The students will study the roles of the offices of probation, public defender, attorney general and criminal court judge and do volunteer work for them.

McIntyre said the course will expose students to jobs in fields such as social work, law, human services and probation. It also will include lectures from Tennessee Department of Corrections probation officer Lorrin Harris, Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens, Attorney General Randy Nichols and Criminal Court Judges Richard Baumgartner, Ray L. Jenkins, and Mary Beth Leibowitz.

“The students are going to learn a lot about what happens in the criminal court systems, so it’s an educational opportunity for them,” Leibowitz said.

Persons interested in registering may contact McIntyre at (423) 974-4207.