Working in the Criminal Justice System: An Overview

- - Business

If you’re looking for a change of a career, or even trying to plot one out from scratch, you can make worse choices than considering the Criminal Justice System.

It’s not a particularly well understood sector – most people just picture lawyers and prison guards and nothing in between, but in fact the system is a big employer, requiring all sorts of skills to keep the processes of the courts, prisons and probationary services turns as they should.

Today we’re a quick look at the sector to try and help you understand it a little better so you can make an informed choice about whether working there is right for you.

A Broad Base of Workers

One thing you have to remember about the criminal justice is that, like the NHS, or the government as a whole, it’s a huge operation, and it requires a lot of people simply to keep the wheels turning as they should. As the iceberg of government needs a big civil service under the surface to support the decision making of the relatively small number of MPs who form the visible part above the water, so the Criminal Justice System requires a lot of workers who aren’t judges or lawyers to keep the whole edifice working.

It needs everyone from office administrators and secretaries to procurement officers, to make sure the great machineries of state have everything they need to keep working, with the benefit that if you’re doing one of these more generalist jobs for the Justice System, you can feel more secure than when working for a private company: these vital departments of the state are less susceptible to the turnover and restructuring of business than private companies.

Not Locking People Up

Many of the people who work in the justice system resemble social workers more than ‘guards’. The key to avoiding a broken, overloaded prison system is making sure that people don’t reoffend – that the background factors that lead them into crime, be they addiction, unemployment or mental health issues are addressed!

That means there’s a broad spread of youth offending jobs, parole officers and rehabilitation professionals to help people acquire the skills and structure they need to build a life outside prison – or under appropriate supervision, never be detained in prison in the first place. It means a job in this system can feel compassionate and constructive, and you can go to bed feeling like you’ve made a genuine, positive difference in the world with you day’s work.

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