5 Tips to Help You Succeed in Your Criminal Justice Graduate Program

There are three parts to the criminal justice system and not many people know of this. It is only the people who have studied or worked in the system that know about this and so they are well prepared to choose a field of work in this system of law enforcement and justice. The three parts that make up the criminal justice system are as follows:
– Law Enforcement
– The Court System
– Corrections

These three parts of the system work together to ensure that the laws are obeyed and peace is maintained within communities.

So here are 5 tips for those that are looking to work in this field or planning on getting a degree in criminal justice.

1. Each college has certain requirements that students need to have in order to be eligible to attend a criminal justice degree. The most common of these requirements is a certain number of credits in certain courses prior to entering into the program.

2. The next thing you need is a level of experience in this field or a high level of education in the same. You can acquire the same by volunteering in a law enforcement agency. Some people already have experience in this field or are already working in the criminal justice system. Many colleges look favorably on people who have previous experience like this.

3. In this day and age you are not stuck at attending the brick and mortar schools. You can do the same through an online education program. Many people have other responsibilities and commitments that they need to keep and so cannot attend the traditional schools. So you need to consider all your priorities like work, personal time and other things before you enroll in a criminal justice program because these things will determine the type of education you should peruse and your level of success in the course.

4. You might want to consider joining some supplementary courses to help you with your course work and this will help you do better in the course itself. These supplementary courses will give you the field experience that you need. One such course you can attend is a law enforcement academy. There are other study and work programs that supplement these degrees.

5. These graduate programs are not easy and so I suggest that you schedule your day so that you have time to dedicate to your studies. You need to manage your time in order to succeed in your criminal justice degree.

Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Enrolling in an online criminal justice degree program can get you started in a career that is exciting and meaningful.

Criminal Justice Careers

The criminal justice field offers a wide variety of careers- from local level law enforcement to State and Federal agencies and private sector law enforcement. A career in law enforcement will allow you to make a difference whether you are a youth probation officer or an FBI agent.

One of the things that attract people to online criminal justice programs is their desire to help people. Often criminal justice is a second career for those who have found their first career to be unsatisfying. Entering the criminal justice field is an important step. An online degree program in criminal justice can get you there.

Some of the more common criminal justice occupations are described in short below. The usual educational requirements needed for each job is listed. For further information you may want to refer to the U.S. Department of Labor website and check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook for specific jobs.

Corrections Officer- Corrections officers work in jails, penitentiaries, and prisons with persons convicted of crimes or who have been arrested and are awaiting trial. Most work in State and Federal facilities with inmates. Prison workers in most State and all Federal prisons must attend college (States 2-4 years, Federal 4 years) and have previous related job experience to be considered for employment. Localities may or may not require any college. There are many criminal justice degree programs online.

Crime Scene Investigator- A crime scene investigator gathers and analyzes evidence at crime scenes. They must be trained in investigative procedures including finding, handling and preserving crime evidence. Some investigators are trained in forensic science and some are sworn police officers. Most crime scene investigators are graduates of 4 year criminal justice programs. There are also associates degree programs. Both are offered online.

ATF Agent- An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent works for the Federal agency ATF to investigate criminal violations relating to explosives, firearms, arson, alcohol and tobacco. These agents are also involved in preventing and fighting terrorism and investigate unexplained explosions and bombings. Qualifications are very stringent regarding physical and mental fitness and character. There are several grades of special agents, requiring from 4 years of college at the least to a masters degree. Previous investigative experience is also required.

Court Reporter- Court reporters are responsible for the word for word transcript of court and other legal proceedings. There are several accepted means of recording, each which require specialized training. Education required is 1 to 2 years, depending on recording method. Court reporters must have attended programs that have been approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). There are several online programs approved by the NCRA.

Probation Officer- A probation officer and the related occupation parole officer supervise and monitor the activities of offenders who have been placed on probation or parole. Both work with offenders to create probation or post release plans and then evaluate their progress. Both have the goal of rehabilitating an offender and returning the offender to society. Probation and parole officers need a 4-year college degree at the minimum. There are online programs that will fulfill this requirement.

Police Officer- Police officers work for local and State police departments. Their job is to enforce the law and to protect the citizens in their jurisdictions. The duties of a police officer vary, but generally they respond to calls for assistance, arrest offenders, gather evidence, testify in court and maintain the security of their community. Most police officers are now required to complete at least two years of college in a criminal justice program as well as complete additional training after being hired. Online programs exist to fill this need.

Online Criminal Justice Degrees Available

We depend on those in the criminal justice system to keep us safe. Education and training is vital to developing and maintaining the skills necessary to perform well in these occupations. Although the above list is incomplete, it is clear that an online criminal justice degree would serve to complete the educational requirements for most occupations in the field. Whether you need an associates, bachelors, or masters degree, there is an online program for you.

Finding the right online criminal justice degree program will take some research. There are several good websites that can direct you to online criminal justice programs.

Some tips: Make sure the online college programs you are interested in will meet your needs. Find out which courses are offered and if they will be useful in the occupation you have chosen. Compare costs, as they vary greatly from school to school. Take a virtual tour online and talk directly to an admissions representative. After comparing several programs, choose the school that seems to be the best fit for you and that will help you meet your professional and personal goals.

Good luck in your search and as you start on the path to your career in criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Set to Change in Scotland – But Are Community Sentences Too Expensive to Work?

Changes in community sentences planned by the Scottish National Party’s Kenny MacAskill have come under fire due to the unprecedented cost they will take to implement. But at a time when criminal justice at community level is clearly due for reform (according to the government at least), are the proposed plans really too expensive to work?

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) argue that they are. COSLA was established in 1975 in order to be the representative voice of Scottish local government, whilst it also acts as the employers’ association on behalf of all Scottish councils. Subsequently, if there is a cause for common concern, COSLA is forum in which it can be discussed, acting as a mediator between local councils, Scottish government and Brussels.

According to the Scottish Sunday Mail (online), a spokesman for COSLA, Harry McGuigan, spoke out against MacAskill’s and the SNP’s plans. He said: “This legislation is wrong, costly and MacAskill is living in fantasy land if he thinks he can up conjure up the cash to fund this dangerous pie in the sky plan. I do not think the bill will work if the necessary resources are not in place.”

The newspaper upheld this criticism, highlighting that 14,686 jail sentences of six months or less were given between 2006 and 2007. The average price of each community order proposed by MacAskill and the SNP is said to be £2,184 meaning that if the equal amount were to be given under the new plans the overall cost would be £32 million.

However, a spokeswoman for the Scottish government commented: “We’ve made a reasonable assumption of a 10-20 per cent increase in community sentences, provided an extra £2million to bolster criminal justice social teams who deliver community sentences and intend to further boost funding – but this isn’t a job for government alone. It’s for all agencies to grasp this opportunity and ensure less offending.”

The success of the change in Scottish criminal justice remains to be seen. The plans also follow recent reports of high levels of organised crime in the country, where 25 significant gangs were said to be operating in the north.