In recent years, statistics have shown that there has been an increase in the number of people who are interested in pursuing criminal justice as a career. Other than building a rewarding career in criminal justice, these people are also contributing to the society in a positive manner. Criminal justice workers help to safeguard the society, prevent crimes, and also enforce punishment to violators of the law. It may be a little surprising but many people who get into criminal justice are not people who decided on such a career from the onset. Some of them started out working in different fields and saw criminal justice as an opportunity to change careers. People from other fields such as social work, sociology, psychology, and child and family services may be interested in earning an online criminal justice degree if they are interested in building a career in criminal justice. Social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and people who are in child and family services may want to pursue criminal justice degrees because they have a great desire to help reform the society. There are many criminal justice schools in the US that offer bachelors in criminal justice and beyond.
What is social justice? It can be quite hard to define social justice because it can be applied to various sectors of society. In a general sense, social justice promotes the equality of opportunity, equality of information, resources, and services, equality of relationships at all levels, and the preservation of human rights. Along this line, criminal justice is described as a scientific and systematic study of law enforcement and the judiciary process, including its applications. This also includes the correction and probation of criminals.
Before going deeper into the topic, let’s take a look at the definition of social justice. If you have read some social justice articles, you will know that social justice is basically an idea that protects the dignity of every human being, and it champions equal respect and human rights. In 1840, Jesuit Luigi Taparelli gave birth to the modern name and concept of social justice. Just a few years later in 1848, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati took social justice to greater heights. After the two stalwarts, there were others who had reformed and brought changes to the social justice movement. What does social justice mean? At the very base, social justice is founded on equality and human rights. One of the great social justice organizations is the International Labor Organization. The belief that all human beings have equal rights on this Earth is the platform on which social justice came into existence. Social justice is treated as human rights education by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. According to John Rawl, the following are the basic liberties that people of the society should have:
• Freedom to think and express
• Freedom of conscience in terms of religion, philosophy, and morality as it affects social relationships
• Political freedom that includes freedom of speech and press, democratic institutions, and assembly
• Freedom of association
• Freedom of integrity
• Rights according to the law
What are the jobs available for a social justice graduate? There are quite a number of career options available in the field of social justice. Some social justice jobs are prison warden, criminologist, US marshal, private security officer, federal agent, parole/probation officer, and state attorney investigator.
The job responsibilities of a probation officer include preparing the pre-sentence assessment report, interviewing the individual, monitoring the individual’s adherence to the terms of their parole, supervising the individual under punishment as well as the release of the individual from their probationary status, and most importantly, counseling of the convict and the family. In 2008, the median salary of probation officers was close to $46,000 per annum with some in the field earning as much as $78,210.
Social justice believes that all people deserve equal rights in society no matter what the background or personal history of the individual may include. Criminal justice workers are responsible for developing, structuring, and implementing the criminal justice system.
Check out these resources on social justice:
• Urban Crime in the US
• National Association of Social Workers
• Economic Justice and Social Justice
• Wages of Postsecondary Teachers in Criminal Justice