What is criminal justice? Simply put, it is the process of giving justice to people accused of crimes. This process is made up of many institutions and government agencies, all of which have various goals, including rehabilitation of offenders, preventing further crime, and providing moral support to victims. However, how does the criminal justice system work? Read on to learn more. Ultimately, it all boils down to a few core principles:
Throughout history, punishment has varied greatly. Although there was no modern prison, the first civilizations used a variety of censure and exile. Executions were also common, although this was not a permanent punishment. Eventually, prisons were built. In modern-day America, many states have adopted laws that encourage alternative punishments, including alternative sentences to prison or jail terms. The First Step Act is one of the few examples of meaningful criminal justice reform, although it is still limited in scope. Nevertheless, reforms such as these will help to shift paradigms and move the country away from mass incarceration.
While studying criminal justice, students have the opportunity to work for various law enforcement agencies, including local police departments. They may also pursue positions within the federal government or in the private sector, and gain valuable hands-on experience. Whether working for the YWCA, the DEA, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, or the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the field of criminal justice is rewarding and challenging. The following are some examples of possible careers for criminal justice graduates.