- The three core branches of criminal justice are law enforcement, the courts and corrections.
- Careers in criminal justice range from working as a paralegal to serving as a security or corrections officer to a security director.
- Depending on your career path, you may need to pursue an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree within the realm of criminal justice.
- University of Phoenix offers criminal justice degrees that provide a solid foundation for a variety of career options.
Criminal justice refers to how society responds to crime. The laws, policies and institutions that exist to respond to crimes are known as the criminal justice system. It encompasses all processes, including determining a crime has been committed, investigating it and establishing probable cause.
But criminal justice is not just about identifying crime and providing judgment; it is about effective communication and rehabilitation as well. After a suspect has been identified, this profession is responsible for determining the best jurisdiction (state or federal), presenting the evidence using communication skills and having a case adjudicated in court. After a suspect has been convicted, the professionals in corrections then seek to execute the judgment of the court and rehabilitate the offender.
A wide range of jobs falls under this broad umbrella. A corrections officer, a homicide detective, an FBI agent and a paralegal, for example, are all part of the criminal justice system. Some investigate crimes, some prosecute suspects in court, and others maintain custody of criminals after they have been found guilty.
The three main fields within the criminal justice system — law enforcement, the criminal courts, and corrections — require different skills and cover hundreds of jobs and specializations. Despite their differences, however, these fields work together to administer justice after a criminal act.