The Criminal Justice System of England and Wales includes such organisations as the police, the courts, and The Crown Prosecution Service and refers broadly to the way in which they operate on a national and local level to control crime and to uphold law. Although, such phenomena as 9/11 and 7/7, the recent popularity of the Wire, and the tabloid media’s zeal for disclosing “information” about criminal/terrorist networks has promoted the need to debate and question the powers and the systems used by our law enforcers, there are other reasons for people with an interest in crime to consider studying a Criminal Justice degree.
The first thing for prospective Criminal Justice students to acknowledge is the diverse range of career opportunities open to an individual after graduation. A Criminal Justice degree is not only well-suited to someone who might like to work as a ‘bobby on the beat’ in a small town police station, or for the CID in a more fast-paced city environment. There is also every reason that a graduate may be able to embark on a career in law, possibly as a barrister or lawyer. Additionally, there is also the chance to focus on community-based work, such as rehabilitation for juveniles or ex-offenders.
However, Criminal Justice degrees not only teach how to enforce and uphold laws, but there is also almost as much of a focus on the analysis of why crime exists in the first place. This might include study of the social and economic implications on areas of high crime and why extremes and types vary from place to place. There is also considerable study of the notion of criminality, and the important acknowledgment of the scale of crime.
A Criminal Justice degree today will also typically deal with the most relevant and recent areas of law and crime. These might include human rights, racism, terrorism, and the key issues therein. It is also possible to study such a future-orientated subject in the most up to date manner via home study or a course online, as well as by more traditional means.
Yet, perhaps one of the most important aspects of studying Criminal Justice is the responsibility gained when graduating and moving into a law-based job. Whilst being overseen by government bodies such as The Ministry of Justice and The Home Office, the future of law and the Criminal Justice system is very much in the hands of the ground-level enforcers and community workers who view crime first hand.