Career Opportunities in Criminal Justice

Thinking about a career in criminal justice? Perhaps you’d like to patrol the streets and arrest suspects, investigate crimes using high technology, or even help convicted offenders to rebuild their lives. In the United States there are a wide variety of criminal justice careers to choose from:

o Private detectives and investigators assist individuals, businesses, and attorneys by collecting and analyzing information.

o Probation officers-in some states called community supervision officers-supervise people who have been placed on probation.

o Correctional treatment specialists-also known as case managers-counsel offenders and create rehabilitation plans for them when they return to regular life.

o Parole officers supervise offenders who have been released from prison on parole.

o Pretrial services officers conduct pretrial investigations, which help determine whether persons who have been arrested should be released before their trial.

o Uniformed police officers have general law enforcement duties.

o Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are county law enforcement officers.

o State police officers-also called state troopers or highway patrol officers-work for a state government and patrol highways to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations.

o Detectives are investigators who gather information and evidence for criminal cases.

o Fish and game wardens enforce state and local hunting, fishing, and boating laws.

o Federal law enforcement opportunities include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Air Marshals, and many others.

o Many Federal agencies employ police and special agents, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Service, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service.

o Many Federal agencies employ police and special agents, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Service, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service.

What are your prospects? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts steady job growth for many law enforcement careers through the next decade. Career prospects may vary according to the exact profession. Opportunities in local police departments, for example, are predicted to be excellent for individuals who meet personal, psychological, and physical qualifications. Opportunities are also expected to be excellent for qualified computer forensic investigators.

Wages and benefits for criminal justice graduates can be impressive. For example, in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report of May, 2006, police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $47,460. Median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $58,260, while median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $69,310. Not too shabby!

Criminal justice degree training can help. People who want to enter the field of criminal justice can often begin their careers after earning associate degrees or certifications from dedicated criminal justice schools. The more you study, the further you might go. Criminal justice degrees, both bachelors and masters, are offered through many online and on-campus schools throughout the country. There are also federal and state safety training centers that offer ongoing courses to working professionals in counterterrorism, self-defense, and crowd control.

Many graduates of criminal justice degree programs find work as private security consultants for banking institutions, manufacturing and high-tech companies, and government agencies. With additional training they may go on to other careers, attending law school and becoming public defenders or prosecutors.

How do you get started?

The best way to research your options is to go online to a free college directory website like the one below. You can enter the search terms that are appropriate for you (such as “criminal justice, Miami, Florida,” or “online court reporter degrees”). You’ll be presented with free information about the programs that meet your criteria. Compare features such as financial aid, career services, and flexible schedules. Narrow down your choices and make your application. In less time than you think you could be training for a rewarding new career.

’13 Federal Cuts to Justice Programs

Failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan in Washington by the end of the year may result in more cuts to criminal justice programs, according to a report released from the National Criminal Justice Association and the Vera Institute of Justice.

The cuts are a part of a process known as “sequestration,” part of the Budget Control Act passed by Congress in August 2011, which will mandate across-the-board cuts if Congress doesn’t resolve budget issues by the end of the year.

If a plan is not reached, all domestic federal discretionary spending, including for criminal justice programs, will face 8.2 percent cuts starting Jan. 2, 2012, and yearly reductions until the fiscal year 2021.

The report, based on national survey results of 714 responses from government and private organizations, found that U.S. Department of Justice funding to criminal justice agencies and nonprofit service providers has dropped by 43 per cent in the last two years.

Over three-quarters of the agencies and providers reported that their federal aid funding has steadily declined, while about 14 per cent said that the amounts of their grants had been cut by more than half.

Officials say that additional cuts to public safety grants could cripple efforts at the state and local level. More than half of the organizations that responded said that on average they had lost equivalent to 3.4 full-time employees.

Cuts to federal criminal justice grants will mean that substance abuse programs, victims’ advocates, drug task forces and other law enforcement programs could cease to exist now or in the near future. Major programs involved include Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners, federal juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“The drug and meth problem are at epidemic levels and resources to combat the scourge are diminishing, which makes it difficult to fight and morale is very low,” wrote a Kentucky law enforcement representative. “Officers are overworked… it’s hard to estimate the devastation these cuts will make to an already horrible condition.”

Federal funding for state and local anti-crime efforts is “at a historically low level,” according to the Criminal Justice Association and Vera Institute.

“We have already reduced our work force by a third due to cutbacks in funding. To put it simply, further funding cuts of seven to nine percent yearly (as sequestration requires) will eventually put us out of business… There will be no one in our district to step up and do the job we have been doing,” wrote a Tennessee drug and violent crimes task force.

Of the effects already felt by the decrease in funding, the following were reported:

•Tucson’s police department was forced to eliminated 194 sworn and 40.5 civilian positions, including dispatchers and crime scene investigators, because of lack of funding.

•Sarasota County, Florida, had to eliminate three jobs at a center for mental health and case management for troubled youth. If the center were to close down, police who now wait just 15 minutes to drop off detained youth at the center would have to hold the detained themselves for up to six hours.

•A Pennsylvania agency said the government budget cuts for various services push these services by default onto local police. Funding for a drug task force, for example, was reduced, shutting down investigations for two months. This, they reported, permitted open drug sales, retail thefts, burglary and other thefts to increase and placed stress on police resources.

•In Carroll County, Ohio, the Sheriff’s Office reported that cuts since 2010 to justice assistance grants caused road patrol to be cut from two officers to one, and incident reports have increased in Carroll County by 32.3 percent. “Loss of personnel will cause lengthier response times and diminish overall security for county residents,” they forewarn.

“Victims and citizens do not want to hear that their safety is being jeopardized due to lack of funds and resources,” responded the Wilton Manors Police Department, in Florida.

“[P]rograms have already been cut 43 percent and those cuts have already had an effect on public safety,” commented Elizabeth Pyke, director of government affairs at the National Criminal Justice Association. The additional cuts mandated by sequestration, according to the report, “could leave the federal-state-local public safety partnership virtually unfunded by 2021.”

Sequestration will be addressed when members of Congress reconvene in Washington, D.C. following the November elections.

What Is Business Law?

Everything that relates to our society is governed by laws and business is no exception. Business law or commercial law is simply a body of law that governs every aspect with regards to conducting a business. This covers but not limited to the commerce of the sea, transportation of goods, guarantees, marine life and natural disasters pertaining to the economic status and business relations, life of the people concerned, employment, intellectual property, insurances and conformities of partnerships. Business may differ for each state or country but there are international codes followed to ensure equal distribution of economic power among nations.

In some countries, civil codes that cover comprehensive statements of their commercial law are being followed. They are usually regulated by the congress with its power to regulate interstate commerce. In the United States, unions are formed to promote a uniform body of commercial law which has resulted in the adoption of the uniform commercial code which is currently being followed by the 50 states and other US territories.

Business law is applicable to both small and big. With its broad coverage, several branches of it are categorized to avoid confusion and to promote formality in the process. One of these branches of law is the advertising law. This law ensures that products are being advertised truthfully and to protect the consumers from false promises. Another notable law is the employment and labor law. This law protects the employees working for a firm. This includes health insurances, discrimination and harassment protection, child labor, household employment, posters, employment termination, wage and hour laws, final paychecks and compensation for work. Business law also has its own set of finance law that protects all scale of business establishments. This helps small firms from the harassment of big companies and to level the ground of competition and promote a healthy market. There is also a law that protects and governs online businesses. This covers the financial and legal liabilities incurred in the areas of privacy, security, taxation and copyright issues. Business law also includes a set of environmental regulations. All businesses are required to follow a set of rules and regulations when affecting the natural environment. Any harm done to the environment is not permitted except in some rare cases. Employee’s healthy and safety is also covered by the law.

Before you start your own business, you should always familiarize yourself with the different laws to avoid legal liabilities and to protect yourself from fraudulent attacks. A strong understanding of the laws will reflect the way you handle your business and will determine your success eventually.