Careers in Criminal Justice

There are a number of professions in the field of criminal justice. These professions include probation officer, public safety dispatcher, and juvenile detention officer. Many professions in the field of criminal justice are associated with helping people. Professionals in this field help to keep society safe from those who commit crimes while helping criminals readjust in society. The responsibilities of these professionals include the apprehension and punishment of criminals, protection of the innocent, the fair treatment of the offender, as well as preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system.

This system includes the police, courts and corrections. Criminal justice refers to the aspect of social justice that concern violation of the criminal law. (Schmalleger, 2011 pg. 14) The career of probation officer requires a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience. The applicant must be younger than 37 years of age and be in excellent health. A background check and a drug test are required for employment. These requirements qualify an applicant for probation officer at the G-5 level on the federal government pay scale. The ability to communicate well with all types of people would be helpful in this profession.

The duties performed by a probation officer may include presentence investigations and reports, supervising and interviewing the offender and their families. Probation officer must check prior criminal records and the financial status of the probation offender. These officers must also work with law enforcement, attorneys, and the victims of a crime. “Another area of officer responsibility, extends beyond the psychological needs of the client to a cataloging of the services necessary for a successful experience on probation or parole. ” (Schmalleger, 2011, pg. 32)

This career is said to be the work of a social worker combined with a corrections officer. The position of a probation officer is somewhat stressful due to the heavy caseload and little chance for advancement. The main goal of a probation officer is to provide positive intervention for some while returning those who do not wish to comply with the corrections department. The annual salary for a GS-5 level federal employee is $27,000 – $34,000. I would enjoy this profession because I like to help people especially those down on their luck.

My main goal would be to help people improve their lives and t return to society as a productive citizen. Everyone deserves a chance to turn their life around. This would be a very stressful occupation but it would be rewarding to help the people who wanted the help. I would especially enjoy the juvenile side of this career. Another criminal justice career is a public safety dispatcher or a 911 operator. The requirements for this career include a high school diploma or GED, computer skills, and minimal typing skills.

Good communication skills as well as being bilingual are a plus. Some employers also require a clean criminal record and emergency medical certification. “Police, fire and ambulance dispatchers or 911 operators monitor the location of emergency services personnel from their jurisdictions. ”(USDL, 2010-11) These dispatchers may work with in fire stations, hospitals, police departments, or central communication centers. Dispatchers must handle incoming emergency calls and know what questions to ask to determine the type, seriousness and the location of the emergency.

The dispatcher must then dispatch the needed emergency services. During medical emergencies dispatchers may have to give CPR or extensive first aid instructions. “Median annual wages for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers was $33,760 in May 2008. ” (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11) I believe I would enjoy this career because I like helping people in emergencies. In certain emergencies a dispatcher may have the ability to save a life. This would be a challenging career with many stressful situations with highs and lows.

One minute a dispatcher could be helping a caller delivers a baby and dispatching aid to a stranded motorist the next minute. This occupation also appeals to me because I love to communicate with people. The last criminal justice career to be discussed is a juvenile detention or corrections officer. The goal of a juvenile detention officer is to maintain the safety and security of the juvenile offenders, staff, and the community by supervising the conduct, work, discipline and the recreation of offenders. Currently there are 747,000 corrections workers in the United States.

Most juvenile correction officers work in small detention centers with less than 40 offenders, but there are 70 large juvenile facilities across the country which house up to 200 hard core delinquents. The juveniles in these facilities have committed serious crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery. The requirements of a juvenile detention officer include 6 weeks of classroom instructions, 40 hours rifle range practice and 6 weeks on the job training. Applicants must have a high school diplomas, be 21 years of age, have no felony criminal record, pass a drug test and have a valid driver’s license.

A few states require psychological screenings to ensure the applicant has the personality for the job. Those entering this field should be familiar with a juvenile’s physical and psychological needs as well as juvenile behaviors. The knowledge of the facilities safety procedures and practices, social skills, counseling skills and behavioral management procedures are expected at the entry level. The role of a juvenile corrections officer is to help juvenile offenders learn accountability, competency development, and techniques for reintegration into society.

The duties of this occupation may include counseling juveniles and their families about attitude, conduct and relationships. They must also listen and be empathetic to juvenile offenders while helping them develop social and living skills. Juvenile detention officers must supervise these offenders at all times, conduct searches for contraband, and keep order. Officers must keep detailed reports on each juvenile during each shift. I would enjoy this profession because I want to help the youth of our society.

The field of criminal justice consists of many professionals who work to better individual lives and our society as a whole. The main objective of the American Criminal Justice System is to find a balance between individual rights and public order. This system attempts to control crime through due process. Every person who commits a crime is guaranteed the right to due process and a trial by jury are guaranteed by the 5, 6, and 14th amendments to the U. S. C Constitution. Careers in the field of Criminal Justice can be very rewarding but may be extremely stressful.