November 7th, 2019
No matter where you reside, the criminal justice system is a prominent feature in each and every community in the United States. There are a vast amount of job opportunities in this field, from police officers, judges, and probation officers to FBI agents, blood spatter analysis, and criminal behavioral analysis, criminal justice jobs are a key component to any working society. Each community has different needs depending on its location. For example, the city of Philadelphia may have a higher crime rate than a small rural town like west chester, and may need more officers equipped for this type of action. As a criminal justice major, it’s hard to choose just one field to go into, and even harder to obtain all of the skills needed to go into the criminal justice fields. Luckily, our community has many opportunities for interactions that can help with this specific major.
As stated by Freire, “One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.” (Freire, Ch.3). I believe that this quote is suggesting that one cannot expect to excel in a certain field if they only focus on the core requirements of the major, but will succeed if they are familiar with other elements in the major. Specifying this concept to a criminal justice major, something like a ride-along, or internship specific to a criminal justice student’s field of interest would be beneficial to their overall goal. By doing an internship, students are able to be placed in an environment similar to the real world experiences outside of college. Internships would be a preparation for life outside of college, especially when it comes to criminal justice majors. Being prepared in the criminal justice field is important, as many jobs in this field require a vast knowledge of the job and subject before entering.
Another concept that relates to knowledge outside of a specific major comes from Walker Percy’s theories and works on education. Percy says “A student who has the desire to get a dogfish or a Shakespeare sonnet may have the greatest difficulty in salvaging the creature itself from the educational package in which it is presented” (Percy, pg.4). I believe Percy was stating that a student who is strictly restrained to the limits inside one specific major may have the most difficulty excelling in the major. For a criminal justice major, there are many very simple ways to explore and to get in touch with the community in order to benefit in their majors. One way could be simply to stay updated on criminal justice related news in the community. A student could learn a large amount about what a criminal justice job would be like in a specific community by familiarizing themselves with the typical happenings of the community itself. By learning and getting familiar with the typical issues and crimes in a certain area, students can prepare for what they would be dealing with after graduating and entering the criminal justice fields. If a student were looking to become a police officer in Philadelphia, reading Philly’s local news and seeing about the many on-foot chases officers in Philadelphia have to partake in may lead this student to conclude that they must work on being physically fit for that specific job. This would then put them ahead of a student who did not have this knowledge and had the same goals.
One way criminal justice students can learn outside the classroom is with “ride-alongs” with the local police department. A ride along is when a police officer takes a citizen on a shift where they can sit in the passenger seat to see what like on an average shift. Students in CRJ that want to go into the police force can request to do this with local police departments within the community. Doing this the students can get a taste of what it is like to be on the force and see what police officers actually do on shifts. Freire stated, “The solution is not to integrate them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become “beings for themselves” (Freire page 2). In this quote Freire talks about how education can cause oppression, but being out in the field with police officers can help introduce students to real world situations to learn on their own.
In conclusion, criminal justice majors have many hidden advantages in society, as they are able to acquire skills and excel in their fields just by examining their community. It is more important than ever for students to realize the importance of research and internships, as they can gain a vast amount of knowledge by participating in said activities.