Criminal justice degree seekers may learn about urban issues
Criminal justice degree programs may give students the opportunity to study urban issues prevalent in the U.S. However, understanding these challenges requires examining their history along with their development over an extended period of time.
For this reason, educators may teach students pursuing degrees in criminal justice about the impact homelessness, poverty and geography on urban problems. Research provides insight into the issues’ origin and nature, as outlined by the resources below.
Homeless people face risks including food deprivation, leaving them susceptible to physical and mental harm. Authorities must understand local, state and federal rules and regulations to apply consistent enforcement.
Impact on prison system — The National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) notes homelessness increases the likelihood of incarceration. Roughly 15 percent of U.S. inmates were homeless in the year prior to their arrest, according to a 2011 NHCHC policy statement. Laws prohibit homeless people from sleeping or collecting money in public spaces, a problem seen in many major cities. The urban difficulty can impact incarceration rates across the country, which may make it useful for criminal justice degree seekers to study it.
Criminalizing Crisis — The National Housing Institute (NHI) released Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in the United States, a report examining the government’s actions to criminalize homeless people’s activities, in November 2011. The report revealed laws criminalizing homeless are increasing in the U.S. The NHI found 40 percent of homeless individuals slept in public places among the 234 cities surveyed. Homelessness remains an ongoing problem, but regulations have been implemented to rectify the urban issue.
Teenage homelessness — Congress passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to help reduce teenage homelessness. The act assists at-risk youth by providing states’ juvenile justice systems with increased funding to rehabilitate youth criminals. Institutions such as Covenant House, a nonprofit organization, have provided housing to homeless teenagers following the act’s creation. Law enforcement officials can teach teenagers how to become viable members of society while offering them a place to live. The government implemented the act to lower teenage recidivism rates as well, reducing the risk that child offenders could return to prison as adults.
The U.S. justice system ensures rights to all, regardless of economic status. The survival instinct can lead people to commit crimes in an effort to survive. Students can learn about the issues facing impoverished Americans during their coursework towards their degrees in criminal justice.
The impoverished family — Poverty impacts children and adults on a daily basis. Impoverished adults may be unable to support their children, which can lead Child Protective Services to take them away from their parents. Incarcerated adults can lose their kids to Child Protective Services as well. Criminal justice students can study the short-term and long-term effects of poverty on families.
Geographical factors play a role in the criminal justice system. Environment shapes a person’s character and can contribute to a person’s decision to become involved in criminal activity. Criminal justice students can gain a better understanding of the effects one’s environment can have on his or her decisions.
Routine activity theory — Offenders seek attractive targets to commit crimes, and environmental influences are instrumental in eliciting criminal activity. The theory notes guardians, handlers and managers are involved in crimes. A guardian protects his or her property, while a handler may influence a manager, the potential offender, to commit the crime. People can study the impact of each party involved in the routine activity theory while pursuing degrees in criminal justice.
New safety measures — The National Institute of Justice states that environmental factors can impact crime rates. Therefore, neighborhoods can institute safety guidelines to protect their properties. Criminal justice students can learn simple and easy ways people can reduce criminal activity.
Neighborhood Watch program — Many communities use Neighborhood Watch plans to deter crime. The crime-prevention program encourages community members to work together by teaching them ways to make neighborhoods safer. Students can examine a Neighborhood Watch’s impact on U.S. crime rates since its inception by using this resource.