Criminal Justice Schools by State

The Toll of Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence

Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence affects men and women of all ages, economic status and ethnicity across the world. As one of the least reported crimes, the data that is collected provides a staggering look into the effects of these violent acts that manifest in sexual, psychological and physical scarring.

Intimate partner violence not only affects the victim, but entire families and communities. The CDC reports that due to domestic or intimate partner violence, the average costs of healthcare for women is over twice the rate of men that have experienced domestic violence. These costs are attributed to the medical care required for battered women, the loss of wages or production at work, as well as increased costs when considering household and childcare duties. Total costs associated with intimate partner abuse exceeded $5.8 billion in 2003 with over $4 billion attributed to the mental health and medical care of victims of domestic violence.

Specialized training for law enforcement officers is available to help educate communities about the impact of intimate partner violence. These officers often have a degree in criminal justice and are trained to look for physical signs of abuse when confronting potential domestic violence situations in homes as well as understand the psychological tactics used by abusers that include coercion, intimidation, threats, harassment and isolation. Still, domestic and intimate partner violence remains one of the least reported crimes, yet continues to have a strong impact on the lives and wellbeing of its victims, families, friends and communities at large.

Domestic and intimate partner violence affects communities regardless of age, social or economic status, ethnicity or religion. Men and women can be victims of these crimes that impact both mental and physical health. As domestic and intimate partner violence remains a large factor in the economic impact within communities, more law enforcement agencies are encouraging officers to learn about this influence and how to best facilitate healthy interactions and provide services to victims.

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Private Prisons in the U.S.

A prison provides the basic needs to those convicted of crimes, including shelter, food and clothing. The men and women sentenced to these correctional facilities come from all walks of life and “do time” in order to amend for crimes committed, or as a means of providing security to the public by removing criminals from communities. With the current state of overcrowded prisons across the U.S., many states have turned to private companies that specialize in prisons and correctional facilities to help with this large population of convicted criminals and those awaiting trial or even deportation.

The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, from first-time, non-violent offenders to hardened criminals with high rates of recidivism, or those that pose an immediate threat to the general public. As immigration concerns rise, men and women that are discovered living in the U.S. illegally are often detained in prisons until the deportation process has finished, as well, leading to even higher numbers of inmates in an already overpopulated corrections system. Because of this growing criminal population, state- and federal-run prisons are at capacity and turning to private companies that promise to provide the same level of treatment to prisoners at a lower cost.

Private prisons are not subject to the same guidelines and transparency as public prisons. The corporations that run these correctional facilities develop programs and procedures that are similar in nature to public prisons, but are thought to be geared more toward the least violent offenders. Since private prisons can offer lower wages than state or federal facilities, corrections officers and other staff are often paid less than those working within public prison and corrections facilities. This includes even those correctional officers with a degree in criminal justice and corrections. Private prisons are also subject to more issues with corruption, as evidenced in the case of two judges caught sentencing juveniles into youth detention centers for first-time, non-violent crimes, in exchange for compensation from the company running those facilities.

While solutions to the prison overcrowding problem continue to evade those charged with the rehabilitation of prisoners, alternative solutions to private prisons continue to develop. Measures including home monitoring devices, drug courts, education and job-training programs are finding better outcomes for non-violent offenders. Rather than relying on corporate-run facilities to provide corrections services, many states have begun to seek alternatives to the prison overpopulation problem through proactive means.

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Kaplan University Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice professionals work within a wide range of jobs and career paths, from administration to law enforcement to public policy and beyond. These jobs vary according to law enforcement or investigation organizations, departments and government levels. Criminal justice professionals are relied upon for critical analysis, investigation and data interpretation skills. It is these acute abilities that require the strong foundation of a quality education. For the recent high school graduate, or professional thinking of changing careers, obtaining these skills and knowledge can be the beginning of a fascinating career in criminal justice. Kaplan University Online offers an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice degree to those seeking entry-level careers within the criminal justice field.

The Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University Online exposes students to practicing professionals in the criminal justice field and imparts an overview of the theories and development behind the U.S. criminal justice system. The Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University Online focuses strongly on criminology, criminal law and investigations, terrorism and counter-terrorism. As an initial view into criminal justice professions, these studies allow students to attain entry-level careers in all areas of criminal justice including law enforcement, corrections, homeland security and within public agencies. In May 2008, median annual wages of detectives and criminal investigators were $51,410, while supervisors made a median $75,490. Career outlook for those in criminal justice, especially investigations and administration, is expected to continue to grow at an average rate, opening up opportunities in all levels of the criminal justice system.

Criminal justice education can lead to rewarding careers that focus on the safety and security of people on local, national and global levels. The Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University Online gives students the education and skills to understand the foundations and theories of the criminal justice system, introducing these students to an exciting career that gives back to others.

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What is a Criminologist?

The study of crime and its effects on the population requires a specialized level of insight and analysis into psychology, sociology and the criminal justice system. Professional criminologists can be found in local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, helping to solve or deter crimes based on evaluations of people, crime scenes and public policy. A criminologist is not necessarily a law enforcement or police officer, but provides data and statistics that can prove invaluable in any criminal justice situation.

Criminology is a research-based, scientific study of crimes as they relate to individuals, property, business and other global concerns. This includes the psychology behind criminal motivations, physical and other evidence collected from crime scenes, data from forensic scientists and the theories of law, crime and sociological impact of crime. Criminologists often provide a full-spectrum analysis of a single crime or the response within different demographics that may be “at risk” for criminal behavior. Criminologists can work on an academic level, generating reports and responses to new data collected regarding crime and criminals, or work within the guidelines of criminal investigations through law enforcement. Criminologists may also help devise new rehabilitation programs or make recommendations that alter laws and public policy.

As a multi-disciplinary field, criminologists can have an educational background in psychology or sociology. Recently, many brick and mortar or online colleges or universities offer degrees that specialize in criminology. In fact, many professionals within law enforcement pursue a criminologist career through an online degree in criminology. Some states require a criminologist to pass a licensure test, proving the necessary skills and level of education has been attained. A criminologist typically earns $30,000 - $60,000 annually, depending on level of experience and location.

Criminology is a challenging field that relies on research and data in order to help solve crimes, reduce crime rates and protect the lives and property of others. Many enjoy the diverse range of tasks involved in a criminology career, as well as the self-satisfaction of helping others live safely. These professionals are instrumental in courtrooms, law enforcement agencies and within the criminal justice system as a whole.

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St. Joseph University Post Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security

Homeland Security is a challenging and fast-paced area of the U.S. government that protects citizens, borders and other interests around the world. Homeland security professionals may have military or law enforcement experience and work within the Federal government, protecting the population from terrorism and the catastrophic damage that can be caused by the actions of those wishing to interrupt and harm the lives of innocent people.

Homeland Security professionals are required to pass physical and psychological evaluations as well as have a solid educational foundation in criminal justice. The Homeland Security Degree from St. Joseph University gives graduate-level instruction to those who wish to pursue a career within Homeland Security. This online certificate program enhances the knowledge attained in criminal justice programs with a Homeland Security focus including the foundation of Homeland Security, sociology of disasters, threats and strategies of terrorism and risk assessment. In addition, the graduate student may choose two electives, including forensic financial analysis and multicultural and diversity studies. The Post Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security from St. Joseph University also allows the student to attain a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with only 12 additional hours and is a flexible way to enhance professional development within the criminal justice field. Finally, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Saint Joseph's University among the top 15 master's universities in the north for the 13th consecutive year, proving the quality of education provided to students.

Careers in Homeland Security are expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade, and the average, entry-level salary is around $43,000 annually. Homeland Security professionals can work for the Federal government as well as independently for government contractors or as consultants. For the criminal justice professional interested in a career that affects national security both within the U.S. and around the world, The Post Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security from St. Joseph University provides the skills and education needed to compete, help others and create a global environment of safety and security.

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Drug Courts in the U.S.

Efforts to reduce crime in the U.S. have recently focused on the rehabilitation of criminals to prevent multiple convictions within the court system. The high rate of repeated non-violent crimes among prisoners with drug-related offenses has inspired the development of drug courts. The idea for these courts originated in Miami in 1989, in response to the growing problems related to crack-cocaine, and are currently operating in all 50 states. With the success of drug courts across the country, communities are focusing on the benefits of these programs and the efforts of law enforcement, corrections and probation officers, social services, mental health services and substance abuse treatment professionals to provide a full-range program that monitors and rehabilitates criminals, reducing the recidivism rate significantly as compared to those that did not participate in a drug court program.

Drug court programs focus on various populations affected by drug and alcohol abuse including adults, juveniles, families, veterans, American Indians, DWI offenders and more. The key components of drug courts are defined by the Department of Justice as:

  1. Drug Courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
  2. Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety. Participants must waive their due process rights to a speedy trial and sign a pre-emptive confession before being allowed to participate.
  3. Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the Drug Court program.
  4. Drug Courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
  5. Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.
  6. A coordinated strategy governs Drug Court responses to participant’s compliance.
  7. Ongoing judicial interaction with each Drug Court participant is essential.
  8. Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.
  9. Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective Drug Court planning, implementation, and operations.
  10. Forging partnerships among Drug Courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances Drug Court effectiveness.

In addition, the Department of Justice has recognized that 1.2 million offenders in the criminal justice system could be eligible for drug court. In areas like Baltimore, Maryland, where the recidivism rate was reported at 48% among drug court participants, in comparison to the 64% rate reported by those sentenced by a traditional court, these figures indicate the success of drug courts. Probation and Corrections Officers play a large role in the rehabilitation of those in drug courts, providing assistance, support, monitoring and accountability to the offenders.

For the convicted offender, family and loved ones, drug courts provide the necessary support and monitoring to help establish strong ties to living as a productive citizen. The success of drug courts is represented in all areas of the country, providing a proactive means to end the problems of non-violent, drug-related crime.

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