Historically speaking, law-enforcement and criminal justice fields have been primarily male-dominated, traditionally associated with strong physicality and brute force. Progressively, the archetype of law enforcement professionals has shifted. The requirements for a career in law enforcement have become less focused on physical strength and authority and more reliant on strategy, communication, and education. It seems America is shaping a new type of criminal justice that draws more on inner strengths, on brain power and the power of relationship building, to resolve crime.
These strengths are ones often held by women. Data over the years has proven that women in criminal justice careers inherently resolve conflict using more proactive approaches like communication as opposed to physical confrontation. According to a recent Washington Post article, “Female officers are better at defusing potentially violent confrontations before those encounters turn deadly.”
This is not news to us. Around the time that women began entering law enforcement in the 1970s, a Police Foundation study revealed, “Women act less aggressively and they believe in less aggression.” The researchers predicted, “The presence of women may stimulate increased attention to the ways of avoiding violence and cooling violent situations without resorting to the use of force.”
Women are needed in the criminal justice field, and those pursuing a criminal justice degree will undoubtedly encounter opportunity in many positions. The misconception that only men belong in criminal justice is in fact evolving. Today, women are being presented with high-paying, flexible career options. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent statistics, women already make up 27 percent of bailiffs and correctional officers in the country, 26 percent of criminal investigators, 16 percent of police officers, and 22 percent of security guards. While these numbers are great compared to a decade ago, they are in no way where they could be.
Some headway has already been made. The U.S. Border Patrol recently announced they will primarily focus on recruiting female officers, due to shortages of women in the past. According to the Washington Post, the five percent of female officers in Border Patrol was not enough to work with the thousands of migrant women who cross the border each year.
With more and more criminal justice systems looking to hire women, there is no doubt that now is time to pursue a degree in criminal justice. But this goes for both men and women. Qualifiers for criminal justice careers need valuable skills beyond strength—they need skills in critical thinking, reasoning, good communication, and strategic planning. They need to have exposure to the people and situations they will encounter. Those with a college degree, who have taken criminal justice courses and understand each aspect of the field, are therefore the most ideal candidates.
Whether you want to join law enforcement, corrections, or the court system, your next step should be enrolling in the appropriate criminal justice school. Goodwin’s criminal justice courses in CT can put you on the path towards a successful career. Call us at 800-889-3282 to learn more.