Studies & Degrees in Criminal Justice
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Criminal Justice Study Programs
Inside a prison cell in Birmingham City Jail where he was imprisoned in April of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These are compelling words that are now recognized as a guiding principle in many countries and human rights organizations as well as a credo of Criminal Justice Systems worldwide.
Criminal Justice could be a defined as a system composed of procedures and protocols carried out by three major institutions: first, is the Law Enforcement arm of the Criminal Justice System, these are the Police who makes the arrests on suspected criminals as well as conduct investigations on the aspects of the criminal act. Second, are the courts that serve as a venue for the settlement of the disputes and where the guilt or innocence of the accused is decided on and the sentence or punishment is determined. The third part of the system is Corrections or jails where the sentence or punishment is carried or served by an offender found guilty of the crime. The Criminal Justice system is also tasked at deterring, controlling and mitigating crime in the community. With these roles and functions that the system has to perform, jobs and career choices in this department abound.
Individuals who want to be an instrument of justice could study in undergraduate programs and post graduate degree programs offered in many colleges and universities. There are many possible career paths to embark on depending on your career goals. These options could in be in any of the three branches mentioned earlier i.e. law enforcement, courts or corrections. For the law enforcement branch, career choices could be to get certification as crime scene technician for those who fancy ala CSI characters that look so cool on TV, or they could pursue trainings and studies to become a detective or a police officer. There are also government academies and facilities like the FBI Academy of the United States where trainings to become special agents of the government are conducted. These training however are rigorous mentally and physically. Thus, aspiring agents should make the necessary preparations prior to enrolling. Other preferences could be to work in the courts as a paralegal, or a legal secretary these are usually offered as associate programs in universities or perhaps go the whole ten yards and earn a law degree. Individuals could also choose to be in the corrections arm of the Criminal Justice System. Career options on this field are: to become a corrections officer, a parole and probation officer or a correctional treatment specialist. These options however could require a bachelor degree before one could enroll in the degree programs and trainings leading to the jobs mentioned. It would be wise to make inquiries on the educational, physical as well as other qualifications that the career options may require.
Being in the Criminal Justice field is often regarded more as a calling than a choice. People who are genuinely interested in embarking on this field should have intact values, should morally upright and possess the passion in upholding and serving justice in the community.