What is Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice involves a wide variety of concerns and problems of people from all walks of life, so its curriculum integrates social sciences, behavioural sciences, and humanities with professional courses that address topics such as terrorism, victimology, drug abuse, computer crime, criminal investigation, prison overcrowding, women in criminal justice, ethics, and legal issues.
Criminal justice is multiple disciplinary curricula that usually permit three specializations: policing and security, legal studies, criminology and corrections. With the growth of violence in schools, homes, and communities with gangs, new developments in policing, such as community policing, also occur.
Students also learn about the large security field from a business rather than a law enforcement perspective. The legal studies concentration teaches students how to analyze law mechanics, the legal process, and our legal system’s historical and philosophical foundations. Some students use this option as preparation for law school.
In the criminology and corrections specialization, students investigate the causes of crime and assess various correctional agencies responding to criminal offending. Some people use this option for entry into parole and probation work.
Police officers are responsible for enforcing statutes, laws, and regulations. Small communities and rural areas have general law enforcement duties such as directing traffic at a fire scene, investigating a burglary, or giving first aid at an accident scene.
In large police departments, officers may specialize, and functions may change depending on their patrol area—a business district versus a residential neighbourhood. Other law enforcement options such as special agents exist—for example, FBI agents, drug enforcement officers, border patrol, customs agents, or U.S. marshals.
Legal investigators, who work in another facet of criminal justice, frequently assist lawyers in preparing criminal defences, locating witnesses, or gathering testimonials, documentaries, or physical evidence. Corporate investigators conduct internal or external investigations, usually for large companies. Their function is to prevent criminal schemes or thefts of company assets. Also, they may investigate drug use in the workplace and determine whether employees are stealing merchandise or information.
Correctional officers’ duties differ with the setting in which they work. Most jails in the United States are operated by county governments, with about three-quarters of all prisons under the jurisdiction of an elected sheriff. Prisoners frequently come as the American jail system processes 22 million people a year, with about one-half million inmates in jail at a given time.
State and federal prisons have a much more stable population of about one million prisoners. Educational courses that criminal justice students may take are as follows: the law and the legal process, criminology, criminal due process, introduction to criminal courts, civil liability in criminal justice, security, security management, white-collar crime, police strategy, evidence, criminal homicide, juvenile justice, probation and parole, and incarceration.
Specific abilities include using guns and other safety devices and working with laws and regulations, including writing reports in legal terminology. Oral communicative skills are critical, whether so that orders are clearly understood by others or in presenting evidence to a court.
Physical stamina and strength are essential, as is the ability to work under stress and pressure in dangerous situations. Of course, using reasoning and practical judgment with all kinds of people is essential.
The interests of those involved in criminal justice are as follows: first, they enjoy working with people; second, they like to take charge and are not afraid to make quick decisions; and third, they prefer an immediate hands-on approach to resolving difficulties or problematic issues.
Criminal justice affords opportunities that involve action, risk, and excitement. There is contact with the public. Also, the police represent power and authority, qualities that are satisfying to some people.
On numerous occasions, having a leadership role and being in control are required in this field.
Police officers are responsible for enforcing statutes, laws, and regulations.
Small communities and rural areas have general law enforcement duties such as directing traffic at a fire scene, investigating a burglary, or giving first aid at an accident scene.
In large police departments, officers may specialize, and functions may change depending on their patrol area—a business district versus a residential neighbourhood.
Other law enforcement options, such as special agents, exist.
For example, FBI agents, drug enforcement officers, border patrol, customs agents, or U.S. marshals.
Legal investigators, who work in another facet of criminal justice, frequently assist lawyers in preparing criminal defences, locating witnesses, or gathering testimonials, documentaries, or physical evidence.
Corporate investigators conduct internal or external investigations, usually for large companies. Their function is to prevent criminal schemes or thefts of company assets.
Also, they may investigate drug use in the workplace and determine whether employees are stealing merchandise or information. Correctional officers’ duties differ with the setting in which they work.
Most jails in the United States are operated by county governments, with about three-quarters of all prisons. Those in criminal justice like to rely on facts in making judgments and seek immediate results.
Thus, they appear to be concrete, practical, and factual, using their experience to make decisions logically and analytically; they do not act impulsively or let their feelings bother them. They seem to live according to a set of rules or judgments they believe about the world.
High School Courses Required For Criminal Justice
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Related Majors in Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice Jobs: Where can you work with a Criminal Justice Degree?
A graduate with a degree in criminal justice is most likely to be employed in a federal, state, or local government position as a law enforcement official or in a related management position.
More than one-half of all those who earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is employed in a government job.
About 1 in 3 graduates of criminal justice programs at the undergraduate level are wage and salary employees of a for-profit business and corporation; often, these individuals work in jobs that are not closely related to their major.
About 6 per cent of graduates are self-employed, either as consultants or business owners.
Nonprofit and educational institutions each employ about 4 per cent of the graduates of criminal justice programs.
Your Criminal Justice Degree can land you in the following fields where you can get a job.
Fire Chief—B/M Attorney—P Foreign Service Offi cer—B Chaplain—V Forensics Psychologist—P Child Welfare Worker—B Fraud Examiner/Investigator—B CIA Agent—B/M Judge—P Corrections Facilities Loss Prevention Manager—B Manager—AA/B Military Offi cer—B Coroner—B/M Police Detective—V Court Administrator—B/P Sheriff—B Criminal Investigator—AA/B Politician—B Criminologist—M/D Sheriff—B Detective Secret Service Agent—B
Salaries in Criminal Justice Jobs
The annual salaries of graduates of criminal justice programs are well below the average salary of college graduates in general who have earned only a bachelor’s degree.
Criminal justice program graduates earn an average of $46,100, a rate of pay that is $8,000, or about 15 per cent, per year less than that of the average bachelor’s degree holder.
Years of work experience and the development of skills learned on the job lead to relatively rapid increases in the annual pay of criminal justice graduates.
The salaries of young graduates from the field aged 25 to 29 are relatively low, averaging $34,500 per year.
However, as the number of years of experience in the world of work rises, the salaries of criminal justice graduates rise proportionately.
By the ages of 45 to 49, criminal justice graduates have annual salaries averaging $56,000, an increase of more than 60 per cent relative to the wages of younger graduates.
Unlike most other undergraduate major fields of study, the graduates of criminal justice programs have higher annual salaries when they work in government agencies.
The earnings of those working in private, for-profit companies average $44,000, while those graduates with government jobs have average salaries of $48,400 per year.
Criminal justice majors who work in occupations that are closely related to the major field of study have annual salaries that are substantially higher than those employed in jobs not closely connected to the field.
Graduates employed in protective-service occupations earn an average of $48,800 per year. In contrast, those in managerial and supervisory positions often connected to the field earn an average of $60,000 in annual salary.
However, employment in a job that is related to the field does not guarantee higher average salaries. Criminal justice majors working in social–work–associated jobs earn only $36,350 per year.
Employment in jobs unrelated to the field generally means lower pay.
Those working in accounting and personnel management jobs earn an average of $42,700 per year. In contrast, those in clerical and lower-level service occupations earn an average salary of $40,600 and $35,400, respectively.
Access to employment that utilizes the skills developed within the majors provides an earnings advantage to graduates of criminal justice programs.