What is Criminal Justice?
Working in criminal justice can be an unparalleled way to use one’s career to help protect communities and give back. Generally, jobs in both the public and private sector that seek to identify criminals and prosecute them, achieving justice for community members who have been wronged by criminals’ actions, will be considered part of the criminal justice system. General areas that tend to come to mind when criminal justice careers are discussed include working for the law enforcement administration by becoming a police officer, working to help prevent juvenile crime, and working in prisons as correctional officers. Criminal justice professionals can also play an important role in not only bringing criminals to justice but also rehabilitating individuals so that they can learn from past mistakes and become positive, contributing members of society going forward. Indeed, the criminal justice system contains a wide breadth of careers and there is bound to be a career for anyone interested in dedicating their lives to this area.
Additionally, criminal justice professionals may find regional differences in the types of cases that they must face every day. This is likely since every state’s economy is composed of different leading sectors, which may lead to different types of individuals working in the state and committing different types of crimes. In California, the top business industry is real estate leasing and rental, which brings in an annual revenue of $504 billion and is the largest such industry in all of the United States. In this case, criminal justice professionals may need to deal with cases like violent altercations that were triggered by property line disputes, squatters, rental property defacement, and potentially non-payment of rent or failing to uphold a lease. The second largest industry in California is business and professional services, which brings in nearly $400 billion in revenue each year throughout the state. In this field, criminal justice professionals in California may be faced with large caseloads involving white-collar crime, fraud, workplace discrimination, and sexual harassment. The third-largest industry in California is manufacturing, which has an annual revenue of around $320 billion. In this area, law enforcement may need to be trained to deal with issues like the lack of safety measures in place in manufacturing plants, wage disputes, union disputes, and workplace injury. As such, those who seek to obtain a criminal justice degree in California must be trained in a variety of criminological theories, sociological paradigms, and theoretical studies to be prepared to handle the large mix of potential case types they would face when working in this state.