In the current climate, there are many questions surrounding our criminal justice system. Some people have questioned the multiple roles that are played by our officers in blue. Some have defended the badge and others have called for reform and sweeping overhauls to city funding. No matter your political views, one thing is clear: The U.S. criminal justice system plays a big part in our society. Keeping communities safe should be the number one priority. If you want to help make your community a safer place, you may be considering a career in law enforcement or criminal justice.
At its core, there are three main components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Each of these branches must run properly to maintain law and order within a society. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we have educated, honest, and quality professionals working in these sectors. In this article, we will highlight the importance of the criminal justice system and all the professionals who are dedicated to standing up for justice.
Why is the Criminal Justice System Important?
The criminal justice system is designed to deliver “justice for all.” This means protecting the innocent, convicting criminals, and providing a fair justice process to help keep order across the country. In other words, it keeps our citizens safe. Without the criminal justice system, and all those who work within it, there might be havoc, violence, theft, and danger all around. But because of criminal justice professionals – those in law enforcement, corrections, and courts – we can trust that we can travel home, to work, and/or out in public, safely and securely.
Importance of Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers are brave men and women that work to investigate crimes, gather and protect evidence, and respond to reports of various crimes. Officers are considered first responders. On a daily given basis, they respond to emergency calls, patrol assigned areas, conduct traffic stops, issue citations, and more. Police officers need to be fit – both physically and mentally – for their work. Officers may need to restrain suspects and even chase them on-foot. They also need to be prepared to see victims of violent crimes or fatal car accidents.
There is certainly a lot of stress involved in the work of law enforcement, and safety is always a big concern. But while it is a high-risk job, it is also one that offers plenty of reward. Successful police officers often feel pride in protecting their community. They are well respected, and are often considered role models for young children in a town or city. They also earn a decent living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers earned a median annual salary of $65,170 in 2019 – not including overtime.
Importance of Corrections
Correctional officers often face the same mix of stress and reward as those in law enforcement. The officers who patrol correctional institutions (i.e. prisons and jails) protect and guard the inmates and staff on-site. They work hard to maintain order and often need to restrain prisoners who get out of line. The role of correctional officer is important, not only in keeping criminals confined within prison walls, but in rehabilitating those who have committed crimes.
Importance of Court Professionals
The judicial branch of the court – and all the people within it – play an important role in keeping order across the United States. The court professionals, from judges to bailiffs, are responsible for understanding criminal cases, divulging the truth behind them, and deciding what should be done to correct it. Their goal is to provide a peaceful jurisdiction, to determine whether a person committed a crime and, if so, how they should be reprimanded.
Pursuing an Important Career with the Criminal Justice System
If you would like to pursue a career in criminal justice, you may be wondering where to start. While some of the jobs in the criminal justice system do not require much more than a high school diploma or equivalent, there are many benefits to earning a degree in criminal justice before beginning your career.
Studies show that officers who pursue an education are more effective at their job. According to a paper published in Police Quarterly back in 2010, police officers with a higher level of education are significantly less likely to use force during a civilian encounter than those with a high school-level education.
There are plenty of fields open to someone looking to start a career in criminal justice. Some of these career options include:
- Border protection
- Computer security
- Cybercrime investigation
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- And more
Goodwin University has three programs that focus on the criminal justice system, and you can take your pick between pursuing these programs at the associate degree or bachelor’s degree level. You may choose between:
- Criminal Justice (Associate Degree)
- Public Safety and Security (Bachelor’s Degree)
There is no questioning the importance of the criminal justice system. It plays a crucial role in keeping our streets safe and our communities protected. It is also clear that the U.S. needs well-educated professionals to fill this important role. The only question left is: Which path will you pursue?
If you would like to learn more about why Goodwin University is a leading Criminal Justice School, call 800-889-3282 or click here to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.