Criminal justice refers to the delivery of justice to people who have committed a crime. Unfortunately, when bad things happen in the world, those people who have initiated or been involved still have the right to be questioned before they are punished for the crime they have committed. Criminal justice can be tracked back to ancient times, but over the years, it has massively evolved. These developments have been brought into place through changes in customs, economic conditions and political ideals.
The field of criminal justice is an interesting one, as it stretches over a wide range of issues and careers. Many people have a split opinion on how many rights a criminal deserves, whereas others don’t fully understand what the criminal justice field consists of. If you are interested in learning more about this field, or you are unsure about what the criminal justice system actually is, then the following points are here to educate you.
What is a Criminal Justice System?
A criminal justice system is described as a set of social and legal institutions that enforce the criminal law in unity with an outlined set of procedural limitations and rules. In the United States of America, there is a separate criminal justice system for the military, state and federal, plus each state has a separate system for juveniles and adults. There are a number of major subsystems within the criminal justice system, made up of one or more public institutions alongside their staff. These include the police and other law enforcement agencies.
Then there are the appellate and trial courts, public defender and prosecution offices and parole and probation agencies. Next there are custodial institutions, which include prisons, jails, half-way houses, reformatories, etc. Finally, there are the departments of corrections, who are responsible for many of the custodial, parole and probation functions. Private defense attorneys, bail bondsmen, defendants and other private agencies who provide assistance, treatment and supervision of offenders are also very important within this system. In addition, there is a range of administrative agencies who are there for criminal law enforcement.
Aims and Objectives
The key goals of a criminal justice system are; to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the systems bringing justice to offenders; to improve the confidence level of the public when it comes to the effectiveness and fairness of the criminal justice system; to increase victim gratification with the police, and witness and victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system; to gather up, analyze and make use of good quality ethnicity data consistently; and to increase the amount of criminal assets recovered.
Occupations in Criminal Justice
There are many job roles that fall under the criminal justice field. These include a crime scene investigator, a forensic scientist, a forensic psychologist, an intelligence analyst, a prison officer, a police officer and a probation officer. For those who have gone into even further education after obtaining a degree, then aspirations to become an educator, advisor or researcher can be reached.
The qualifications you need to work in the criminal justice field will vary depending on what role you are looking to go into. Some of these jobs will require no more than a high school education, whereas others will want you to have studied to degree level and above. It is a surprising fact that the salary you can earn in the field of criminal justice doesn’t just depend on your education level, which means that those with more education could be on a lower salary than someone with less education than them. However, this will be solely dependent on the field of work you decide to get into and how high up you are in your role. If you aren’t ready to go back to school, then you could look into jobs as a security guard, a loss prevention specialist, a correction officer or a police dispatcher. These careers have a decent starting wage with a number of opportunities to advance and earn even more money.
Degree Level Jobs
Recently, a trend for agencies to show preference to job candidates who have some college education has been become apparent. An associate’s degree is normally required in order to get hired by many law enforcement agencies. Other carriers that may require this level of education are crime scene investigators and juvenile justice officers. When looking into work at a large or a progressive police department, their officers are now required to have a bachelor’s degree. For those who aspire to be special agents or want to go into any kind of law enforcement job, a bachelor’s degree will be essential.
If you want to go into this kind of field, but college isn’t an option due to finances or circumstances, then it is worth taking a look at and thinking about doing a criminal justice bachelor’s degree online. These are more affordable, can be done in the comfort of your own home, and in your own time. A master’s degree will be needed for an educator, advisor or researcher role. Jobs that require you to have graduate work under your belt are criminal profilers, criminologists and university professors. With a master’s degree, your chances of becoming a special agent or getting into federal law enforcement are considerably boosted.
Ph.D. or Doctorate Level Jobs
A master’s degree will make you qualified to work in any field of criminology, but real credibility is seen in those who has a Ph.D., MD or any other kind of doctorate. This higher level of education will be a requirement for certain roles. You will need a doctorate if you want a career in forensic psychology and certain careers in forensic science, such as a forensic anthropologist, odontologist or pathologist.
The criminal justice system is essential for the happiness and well-being of the public and it is there to punish and reform those who have committed crimes. Getting into this field of work can be very rewarding as you protect and serve everyone around you and you have the opportunity to bring about justice when a crime has been committed. It doesn’t matter where you start, because you are the one who can take control of where your career path is headed.