Criminal Justice and Its Subfields

Criminal justice is the means through which justice can be dispensed by the government and social institutions in order to keep crime and criminal minds under control. Criminal justice as a profession is highly essential in order to keep justice intact in the homeland and ensure peace and harmony. There are various challenges which are faced by the government and various welfare agencies to ensure peace.

The various other subjects which are linked to criminal justice are sociology, psychology, science and communication.

Sociology is a subject which deals with studying people and their behavior.
Psychology is about the way a person thinks, which keeps changing according to his family, society, workplace and community.
Science is the practical and reasoning field which looks at things people and situations critically.
Communication is the means through which a person expresses his feelings, emotions, needs and desires. The importance of communication is increasing with the highly changing nature of the society with the advent of technology.

Fields

3 fields in which a person can continue a future career in criminal justice are:

Law enforcement

Forensic science

Homeland security

Future Job prospects

The various job prospects in criminal justice are:

Correctional officer

A correctional officer is the one who looks after the inmates in prison who are awaiting trial or are serving a term. It is a dangerous profession as the correctional officer could face injuries from inmates and the growth rate in this profession is seen at being 5% from 2010.

Courtroom reporter

A reporter who reports on court room proceedings has a lot of say in influencing the media and it is highly essential that he takes vital information along with him to be reported.

Crime scene examiner

The person who investigates, collects evidences, from the scene of crime is the crime scene investigator and he plays a major role in solving a case. A criminal mind and his next move is well understood by a crime scene examiner. His observations help in solving a case.

Detective

A detective is a private investigator or a member of the police service who investigates on matters of national importance, historical crimes and those crimes which are not solved easily. A detective helps in law enforcement in a country.

Lawyer

A lawyer is the person who practices law as a solicitor, advocate, counselor, attorney, barrister and helps in dispensing justice. He is the person who solicits for his clients. They are there to ensure that no person is indulging in immoral or unethical activities. A person who is afflicted regarding something unjust done to him approach lawyers to seek for legal help.

Paralegal

A paralegal assistant is the one which assists lawyers in their profession. Paralegal and legal assistants help lawyers in maintaining files, conducting research, organizing documents and so on.

Other careers related to criminal justice are working as a police officer, private investigator, probation officer to name a few.

Criminal justice is becoming highly essential in this fast paced life modern life where the number of crime rates is increasing and the need to dispense justice is increasing. The various careers which are related to criminal justice give an understanding of how these systems ensure peace, solitude and harmony to people.

Careers for Online Criminal Justice Degree’s Graduate

Introduction

The legal field is growing at a rapid pass, one of the encouraging factor for this growth is the investment of government in homeland security. The investment in homeland security has also lead to the increase of demand in public and private safety. Many law enforcement departments now have increased the academic requirements for law enforcement officer, security personnel or other position that requires knowledge in criminal justice, most of them require at least an associate degree for the position or career promotion. This means that in the field of criminal justice, qualified and skilled professionals are always in demand.

Earn Your Criminal Justice Degree Online

To upgrade the skills & knowledge in criminal justice or to enter into this highly demand field without stopping your current work (or simply busy) isn’t as hard as it used to be. The time, distance and financial constraints of higher education have all but disappeared with the arrival of distance learning and now everyone who are interested in this field can earn the criminal justice degree via online technology. Today, many traditional universities and online colleges offer Criminal Justice Degrees and the students can attend the courses online. Among the universities who offers Criminal Justice Degree Online are:

  • University of Phoenix Online
  • Kaplan University
  • Boston University
  • American InterContinental University Online
  • Colorado Technical University
  • Grantham University
  • Keiser College Online

Career Opportunities A criminal justice degree can put you on a career path in Law Enforcement, Investigations, Courts, Security, Corrections, Law, Forensic Science and Public Safety. Among these careers are:

  • Crime Scene Investigation Crime scene investigators are responsible for carrying out complex crime scene investigations. They are accountable for the initial evaluation of the scene, and use various types of equipment to cultivate, secure, and package any physical evidence found at the scene. Base on the degree level and experience, the annual salary range for this career may range from $35,000 to $55,000.
  • ATF Agent ATF Agent usually Work for the U.S. Treasury Department and they are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of U.S. laws concerning the possession and sale of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. Base on the degree level and job grade, base annual salary range for this job range from $30,000 to $130,000. (see example hiring ad for ATF agent at USAJobs – jobsearch.usajob.opm.gov )
  • CIA Agent The CIA Agent roles include providing accurate, timely, comprehensive, evidence-based, foreign intelligence associated with national security; and conducting special activities, counterintelligence activities, and other functions related to national security, and foreign intelligence, as directed by the President. The annual salary for this job may vary by job functions but this is one of the high income categories in criminal justice field.
  • Criminologist Criminologist primarily involved in research and teaching, criminologists supply a great deal of knowledge to the study of policing, police administration and policy, juvenile justice and delinquency, corrections, correctional administration and policy & etc. According to a 2002-03 survey by the American Association of University Professors, salaries for full-time faculty averaged $64,455. By rank, the average was $86,437 for professors, $61,732 for associate professors, $51,545 for assistant professors, $37,737 for instructors, and $43,914 for lecturers.
  • FBI Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are the Government’s primary researchers, accountable for investigating infringement of over 260 statutes and performing susceptible national security investigations. The average annual salary for a FBI Agent is in range of $40,000 to 100,000.
  • Forensic Psychology Forensic Psychologists apply psychology to criminal justice. They frequently deal with legal issues such as news law, and public policies, and are asked to determine the mental state and competency of the defendant at the time of the crime, and throughout the legal proceedings. Psychologists earned between $45,000 and $100,000 annually. (see example job ad at (see example hiring ad at USAJobs – jobsearch.usajob.opm.gov)
  • Forensic Science Forensic scientists help to solve crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence and other facts found at the scene. They specifically analyze fingerprints, blood, semen, firearms, saliva, and drugs, and may also reconstruct skeletal bones. Experienced forensic scientists earn an average salary of $55000 per year. Federal salaries are usually higher. (see example job ad at (see example hiring ad at USAJobs – jobsearch.usajob.opm.gov )
  • Paralegal Paralegals are supervised by licensed attorneys. They offer assistance by completing legal research, preparing notebooks for trial, interviewing clients, helping write legal briefs, reviewing and updating files, and drafting documents. Salary and benefits for paralegals vary according to location, job responsibilities, and the type of law office they work for. Starting salaries usually range from $1,300 to $1,800 per month in smaller towns and law firms. Paralegals employed by the federal government earn an average annual salary of between $20,000 and $25,000, according to their experience and skills.

Summary The career opportunities mentioned above are not the full job list, there are many jobs related to criminal justice field for you as a graduate major in this area. Please note that the salary figures stated for each job types are for your reference purpose, the figure may vary by hiring locations, degree types, job requirement & etc.

Family Lawyers and Legal Assistants As Front Line Crisis Responders Need Crisis Intervention Skills

Steven Keeva reminds us in Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life that “[t]o the extent that you enter it as a calling, the practice of law is about hunger – the hunger for resolution; for healing the lives of individuals,… and communities; for enabling society to function harmoniously and productively; and ultimately, for justice.”

Family law attorneys are litigators within an often radically adversarial setting. Clients who seek us out find themselves deeply within the throes of wrenching emotional disequilibrium. Our training has conditioned us largely to believe that achieving the relative justice that client reactivity demands is our calling. The fact that we are able to command outrageous sums to assist our clients subtly reinforces a blindness to the more positive opportunities that our roles position us for. We may confuse a transcendent “hunger for resolution” with actualizing or even capitalizing upon our client’s stated aims for outcomes that are not at all transcendent for them.

Remembering that clients are uniformly in crisis – to such an extent that they will deposit with us large retainers borrowed on credit cards or from family members in amounts that parties not in divorce might never otherwise consider spending – is more a reflection of the participant’s distress than the fact of how “good’ a lawyer we are. This can seduce us into valuing ourselves more in terms of the fees we can demand and receive then those we earn or forego, or in admitting our obligation to guide clients responsibly, and in so doing “enabling society to function harmoniously and productively.” Each of us must decide for ourselves whether to pander to client reactivity. Like most symbiotic relationships, ironically, our fate as human beings who happen to be lawyers is dependent upon the experience of those we would serve. Understanding the effects of crisis, and the consequences of failing to address crisis constructively, offers one path to redemption for lawyers and clients. It offers a way out of the burn out that the crisis of dealing with people in crisis may cause.

For many people the experience of divorce is one of the most difficult and traumatic crises that they will ever encounter. With 50% of first marriages and 65% of second marriages in this country ending in divorce, it is also one of the most common. Feelings of fear, helplessness, confusion, inadequacy, anxiety, hurt, and exhaustion are normal. The failure to skillfully manage these feelings and to apply a solutions focused approach to resolving legal disputes can seriously impede a person’s wellbeing and present and future functioning within their families, at work, and in social relationships. The stress of relationship break up can destroy one’s health and make one feel almost insane at times.âEUR¨âEUR¨

Emotional difficulties emerge around all kinds of legal issues involving relationship and family break up. Mental Health Professionals have long observed that the crisis experience of people in divorce ranks at the top of the subjective Social Readjustment Rating Scales, second only to death of a spouse; indeed, the consequences of divorce may be more debilitating than the threat of a jail term or the death of a close family member. The experience of clients has profound implications not just for effective lawyering, but to the larger contributions lawyers may offer to people and society in general. Those contributions are what Keeva speaks to, and why most of us decided to become attorneys once upon a time, in a land that seems far, far away.

Lawyers are front line responders to crisis, but we don’t understand this role because nobody taught this to is – at best, we bump into this reality intuitively but then are at some loss to know what to do with it. Many attorneys claim they have no interest in dealing with their client’s emotions. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger famously criticized lawyer’s lack of technical experience with crisis, which has to some small extent changed law school training formats so that some schools teach therapeutic skills as well as legal skills. Yet, lawyers remain widely ignorant and disinterested in holistic interventions to help their clients. And, is this belief true? If we don’t want to deal with client emotions, family lawyers would be more productive forming corporations or defending insurance companies.

Attorneys and staff have frequent contact with individuals in crisis in family law settings. By recognizing and defusing intense feelings, points of view, and situations, they can help clients clarify priorities, link to other helping resources, and both lawyers and clients can become more efficient and goal oriented. âEUR¨âEUR¨In considering the role of attorneys, scholars and counselors have suggested that it properly includes empathy and guidance, resembling what crisis workers call “psychological first aid.” A three-step process has been designed to help attorneys facilitate disclosure of relevant information in order to formulate a strategy for providing help.

* Encouraging the client to express concerns and emotional reactions (this assists the client in describing the situation).
* Thorough empathetic listening enables attorneys to help clients acknowledge emotions
* After this, the attorney may begin to develop and verify problem-solving theories based upon what has been learned.

It is essential that attorneys help evaluate alternatives in dealing with the problem, and in order to accomplish this, attorneys need to actively listen and respond to these feelings rather than focusing merely upon the facts. The attorney’s role is to establish rapport (support must be developed and feelings explored before any real progress can be made). In order to handle cases efficiently, attorneys need to understand the motives, personality structure, and unconscious thoughts in order to ‘expose’ the unconscious material from what appears to be a confused client.âEUR¨âEUR¨

From a lawyer’s point of view, it is both practical and efficient in the long run to deal directly with the emotions which a client brings. The time saved sticking to the legal objective and objective legal facts is likely to be lost if the client confuses facts with feelings.

Counseling approaches that can be utilized by lawyers in helping clients in crisis situations include:

* Communicating effective concern
* Allowing the client to express feelings
* Exploring the precipitating event (that brings the client to the lawyer)
* Examining past coping efforts to similar problems
* Focusing on the immediate problem
* Helping the client develop a cognitive understanding of the problem
* Seeking practical solutions
* Structuring a plan for action
* Making appropriate referrals to mental health providers and others

In order to make psychological contact with clients:

* Both facts and feelings need to be addressed
* If feelings are ignored, it is very likely that the client will present facts poorly
* Clients in distress convey what they feel in
* What they say
* How they act
* What they do
* Attorneys should recognize the feelings verbally and then give the client the opportunity to respond

Lawyers function best at this stage. While listening we should consider how the event might have disrupted our client’s life and goals. We should listen to what the event (i.e., divorce, custody, move-away) means to the client. We should consider destructive propensities on the part of the client in response to the crisis.

Examining Possible Solutions

The simple fact is that a client who seeks out an attorney is attempting to cope with the crisis, a powerful first step. Lawyers need to know about available community resources (clergy, shelters, self-help groups, therapists). Because any given solution can seem to make sense at one moment or another, the lawyer should evaluate with the client different possible solutions.

It is imperative that over-eager lawyers not act too quickly. We as lawyers need to question our motives. We should encourage clients to do as much for themselves as they can. We should question the truth of the thought that our job ends with helping the client realize whatever goal they think will dispel the crisis, or that is it unseemly or unethical for us to act as examples and guides. Exactly the opposite is true.

Legal solutions are likely to have their intended effect only if the client’s needs are clearly understood and the client is motivated to cooperate with the attorney. This is impossible if we lack the interest in taking responsibility for who we have become and our place within the interlocking web of community.

TW Arnold: http://www.ThurmanArnold.com/

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