Understanding Careers in Criminal Justice

Careers in criminal justice are largely unrecognized for the respect they deserve by the general public.  As a result, most Americans do not understand the amount of work that goes into criminal justice degrees nor the hardships many encounter within their career.  Deciding on a career in criminal justice may mean that you will not be respected for the contribution you are making to society, but knowing that your career helps preserve the balance of society.

Most careers in criminal justice are comprised of law enforcement (police officers, detectives, government agents) or judicial careers (county clerks, legal assistants).  Most law enforcement careers are known for their lack of respect within the community: police officers are often illustrated as ego-trip careers in which post citizens are unwilling to look beyond.  Contrary to this belief, law enforcement agents play a vital role in securing the peace within most communities. Without such agents, chaos would ensue as criminals would run amuck and drugs would easily be trafficked within borders.  Since we have agents in place to prevent this from happening, modern society can function without any major disruptions aside from those we cannot predict. 

Law enforcement agents perform a vital role in the community, from picking up repeat offenders, to protecting the streets from wrongdoers.  The majority of the American population does not consider this to be that vital of a commitment after having an unfortunate run-in with a law enforcement officer.  Getting pulled over for a traffic citation, however, is vastly different from more serious criminal offenses that officers must endure.  Therefore, most citizens assume that police officers spend all their time pulling people over for the most minute infractions (expired inspection stickers); as a result, this has impacted the popular perspective of most law enforcement officers.  However, when we find that are home is burglarized, what is the first number that we call?  Therefore, the career of a law enforcement agent is almost double-sided, as many people seem to nearly loathe these agents but call on the same officers when they are in need. 

Other careers in criminal justice involve less prominent positions, such as legal assistants or clerks, although they are involved with the same manner of upholding the law.  Legal assistants are part of the criminal justice sector in a different way than law enforcement agents, although they too help prosecute the wrongdoers of society.  Similar to law enforcement agents, legal assistants are often lumped into the same pile as that of lawyers, including the misconception that they are dishonest in their dealings.  However, they play an important part in the criminal justice community in making sure that criminals are justly punished for the wrongs they commit.  While careers in criminal justice are only truly understood by those who are within the field, slowly they are gaining the recognition they deserve.