Today our world is filled with crime. The people committing these crimes must have a consequence for their illegal actions. The system in place to keeping everything fair and safe is called the criminal justice system. This was put in place to ensure there is fairness and justice served to people who break the laws set up by the government.
Criminal justice is one of the most important majors one can study due to the necessity to keep the streets safe and clean. From street cops, to state troopers all the way to criminal psychologists the criminal justice system is a very important part of modern society as it keeps us safe from murders, rapists and various other criminals. The street cops are the ones that are out on our streets protecting every citizen. It can be as simple as writing a parking ticket on a car that is illegally parked, to arresting murderers and rapist in a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. The cops are the ones that are keeping our streets more safe for families everywhere. The main thing I want to learn about Criminal Justice is where I can go with my degree. By studying criminal justice I would like to be able to pursue my dreams of becoming a Drug enforcement agent so that I can help make neighborhoods safe and take bad people off the public streets.
The mission of Franklin Pierce Universities Criminal Justice Program is to produce graduates who have demonstrated competency in administration of justice, corrections, criminological theory, and law enforcement the program provides students with essential knowledge in the areas of policing, courts and corrections within a solid liberal arts framework. Special attention is given to career roles, social interaction and social forces that contribute to social order, conflict and social change (5). Criminal justice majors are also required to pass two competency exams accessing proficiency and mastery of course material. One of these exams is to be taken as a part of Sophomore Seminar, and the other as a part of Senior Seminar (5). There are a total of fifteen required courses in order to be a criminal justice major which include Juvenile Justice (CJ203), Criminology ( SO410), and Race and Ethnic Relations (SO205). There are also a total of nine electives three of which must be taken. In order to pursue a minor, there are seven courses which must be taken and one research course from a list of three. As with any major you must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to receive a degree.
The Criminal Justice System is a set of legal and social institutions used to enforce a defined set of rules limitations (3). This system in the United States is divided into three subsections: Federal, State, and Military. Each state’s criminal justice department is then divided again into separate juvenile and adult systems (3). The system begins when the crime is committed and observed which leads to an investigation and arrest here the accused enters the system. The first step is after the arrest is made the criminal is held in jail until they can go to Criminal court, this usually happens within twenty four hours of the arrest unless it’s a weekend. In that case the trial will be held on Monday. While the prisoner is waiting for trial they get brought to central booking where their fingerprints and photograph are taken. At this time your fingerprint report is brought up to check the criminal history of the accused if they have any. From this the accused is brought to court for arraignment. This is where the charges will be brought up that are being accused. During the arraignment the lawyer of the accused and the prosecutor may discus possibilities of settling outside of court without a trial needed. Plea bargain may also be developed. A plea bargain can always be different for instance the prosecutor may ask for the accused to plead guilty in exchange for the promise to recommend a particular sentence to the judge that may be less than what was predicted. Also if there are many charges being brought against the accused a plea bargain may be do have some of the other if not all of the less serious charges dropped. This happens if say the accused robs a store and fleas breaking many traffic laws and driving laws. A plea bargain may be to drop the traffic violations and keep the robbery. After the plea barging is set between the accused and the prosecutor the judge must approve them before they are put in place. This can either be accepted and the charges could be less severe or the accused can reject it and plead not guilty. Before the arraignment the accused has the choice to have a lawyer present or if they cannot afford one the state will issue a public defender. One problem with having a public defender is sometimes lack of skill and knowledge in the court room. Another problem could be little to no care for the case. The best option is to use a lawyer that has taken on similar cases and won. The third choice in representation is for the accused to represent themselves acting as their own lawyer even though this is not the best option in most cases. If however the accused was given a public defender and is unsatisfied with the representation and work of the public defender the accused may ask the judge to appoint a new lawyer or to hire a paid lawyer on your own expense. There must however be a valid reason for a new lawyer; otherwise the judge will not grant the permission of the accused to have a new lawyer.
The quick break down of how the four parts of the system following one’s entry into the system are as followed; these steps are prosecution, adjudication, sentencing and corrections. Prosecution starts when charges are filed and the accused makes their initial court appearance. Following this is the preliminary hearing, for a felony charge the defendant is brought before a grand jury (4). Following this is the adjudication which is the legal process of resolving a dispute (1). The first part of this aspect of the system is the arraignment and a chance for the defendant to plead innocent or guilty. Following the arraignment is the trial and conviction. If Convicted the convict is then sentenced, and can have the chance to appeal. After the sentencing one enters the corrections system. Here depending on their crime can be sent to prison or put on to probation. If sent to prison in the upcoming years the convicted is will be eligible for parole leading to their release (4).
A Criminal Justice degree leaves an array of available jobs. The obvious jobs available in this field are police officer, detective, criminal investigator and state trooper. Other possible jobs include corrections, parole, or probation officers, warden, lawyer, and court administrative. If you work for the Federal government possibilities open up positions at the CIA, FBI, Customs, Secret Service, Border Patrol, and Drug Enforcement (2). The highest paid careers are most of the time found at the Federal government level. A state trooper for instance will make more that a town street cop mainly because of the amount of work they must do and also who is paying their salary. With a higher salary however come more responsibility and more power in the criminal justice system. Like any career people must work their way up the ladder to get a higher pay and more responsibilities. A graduate from college with a criminal justice career cannot just become a judge the next day. Nor can a police academy graduate become chief of police in a week. They must show hard work and put the time and effort into the job. And prove that they have the skills and dedication to be at the position that they are at.
By studying Criminal Justice I am hoping to become one of Boston’s finest. Like many young boys since I was little I have wanted to be a police officer. It started when I was young and my father was a police officer in Maryland and I got to hear all the stories he had. They were so interesting and intense I wanted to do it myself. Even when I would watch television shows like “Cops” I would get so interested in it and wanted to make it my career. Working in Boston I feel would be an exciting life to live. Boston is an incredible city and with amount of activity and neighborhoods, there would never be a dull moment. I would particularly like to work as a Drug Enforcement Agent. I think the most enjoyment I could get out of this field would be to work undercover in drug trafficking operations helping in the effort to reduce the amount of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine circulating throughout the city. There is also a lot of job security with being a police officer because there will always be crime. People will always be breaking laws and doing wrong on society. This in hand increases the need of police officers to reduce the amount of crime and wrong in our society. My main reason for becoming a cop though has nothing to do with the money or the security. My main reason is that I want to be able to clean up the streets and to help people in our society. Even in my short amount of years I have seen so much corruption and wrong that I feel I need to do my part and become a police officer. Franklin Pierce University’s Criminal Justice program gives me all the available resources necessary to pursue this dream and I am looking forward to continuing my studies here.
- “Adjudication Legal Definition of Adjudication. Adjudication Synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.” Legal Dictionary. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. .
- “Criminal Justice Careers /Jobs Information.” Direct Degree | Associate, Bachelor and Online Degree Programs. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. .
- “Criminal Justice System – Structural And Theoretical Components Of Criminal Justice Systems, The Systems In Operation, The Importance Of Viewing Criminal Justice As A System.” Law Library – American Law and Legal Information. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. .
- “Criminal Justice System Processing Flowchart.” Research Brought To Life : Florida State University College of Criminology & Criminal Justice. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. .
- “Franklin Pierce University Academic Catalog 2009-2010