Criminal justice is the overall system of government instutions that are aimed at preventing, punishing, and deterring crime. This is usually accomplished by imposing criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts on violators of criminal laws. Thus, the idea of upholding social order and public peace is central to the criminal justice system.

Unlike civil courts, those who are accused of criminal violations have several protections against institutional abuse of prosecution procedures. These protections are mainly secured by the U.S. Constitution (such as the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination).

What Are Some Examples of Criminal Justice Careers?

Criminal justice careers involve a broad range of professions. The field of criminal justice is dependent upon the cooperation of several actors, including law enforcement and police officers, judicial officers, investigative agencies, and legal professionals.

Some examples of legal careers in criminal justice include:

  • Court Clerk
  • Court Reporter
  • Court RegisterCriminologist
  • Defense Attorney
  • Judge
  • Forensic Evidence Scientist
  • Immigration Agent
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Researcher
  • Paralegal
  • Prosecutor
  • Police/Law Enforcement Officer

Many of these careers also have a counterpart in the juvenile criminal justice system. For example, there are juvenile court judges and police officers who specialize in juvenile matters.

Why would I want to consider a Career in Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice involves several different fields, and so there is a considerable amount of opportunity for advancement in various areas of practice. Also, criminal laws basically cover the entire spectrum societal rules, and so you would be exposed to a very wide range of information and ideas. Criminal justice careers may be pursued through a variety of paths, including vocational and academic institutions.