Criminal justice degrees have taken on new heights recently with the revamped notion of the criminal justice system in general. Politicians and pundits have slowly realized that the prison system is inadequate and many of the methods for prosecution are not as justiciable as they should be. As a result, many new criminal justice graduates are learning that they will be placed in careers that involve an evolving notion of the criminal justice system, rather than the criminal justice system they have been taught. Crime is constantly changing within our own system, and to be able to match the growing rate, we need to change the criminal justice system as well.
The criminal justice system is in dire need of more reform, with increased resources that should move away from incarcerating youth or the “three strikes rule” that many states have picked up on, and move more toward more serious criminal offenses. We live in a world that is not growing any less immune to criminal behavior, and in fact is producing more criminals dues to advanced technology, economic downturns, as well as incarceration that breeds more criminals. As recent criminal justice graduates, you should join the nation-wide conversation taking place about criminal justice reform, especially since you will be working amidst much of the chaos.
Congress has been attempting to create reforms in the criminal justice system, but it has been difficult from the onset, not to mention the new problems that trying Guantanamo detainees in federal courts has brought up. The criminal justice system needs a facelift, and while it remains uncertain who can give it the proper remedy it needs, it is clear that change is inevitable. Our prison systems remain over-crowded, and many prisoners are inducted into a life of crime rather than rehabilitated after serving short sentences in a federal prison. This is not the criminal justice system we want our nation to have: we want a system that delivers justice, but also reforms incarcerated criminals at the same time.
Criminal justice degrees have already begun to take on a different meaning in recent years, as the criminal justice system has spread throughout the nation in different areas of law and justice. Doors are opening everywhere for different graduates, whether it be within the criminal justice system itself or in public policy campaigns. It is inevitable that the legislature regarding the criminal justice system will change as more funds are appropriated to keep criminals off the street and keep prisons safe.
Criminal justice degrees are becoming increasingly applicable to the domestic and international political sphere as the world has continued to move closer together through globalized relations. Criminal justice is a major part of most international relationships largely due to major intergovernmental organizations such as the UN and NATO, and other international tribunals such as the International Criminal Court, through which most war criminals are prosecuted. The International Court of Justice is the judicial branch of the UN which is responsible for settling legal disputes against states, and together with the ICC, both courts help uphold justice on an international level.
As a recent criminal justice student, it may seem near to impossible to even think about competing with other workers in the international criminal justice industry who have decades of experience in international relations, but these organizations are constantly looking for fresh minds who have been taught the most recent developments. Both the ICJ and the ICC are responsible for overseeing the many nations that are members of each tribunal, although the ICC can haul in any person accused of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. While there are difficulties in understanding the correct jurisdiction (the ICC can only go into a state to remove the accused if the state is unable or unwilling to prosecute the crime), the justice system has managed to correct many wrongs committed over the past ten years of its existence.
Thus far, the court has investigated only five instances of genocide or war crimes and has only indicted 14 individuals, although it is clear that this number will be set to rise as more nations sign onto the council. The international sphere recognized a need for a check on power and evidence of genocide after World War II, amidst the Nuremberg Trials. The UN came into existence around this time and helped assure the world that they would work to prevent any further international mishaps from occurring. International criminal justice has since worked around the clock to bring to light any atrocities that have occurred within war-torn states, as well as working to prosecute those responsible for any crimes committed.
It remains difficult to coordinate with so many different states around the world, but the many tribunals and councils that have since been enacted help many criminal justice leaders to bring back the sense of justice into the international sphere. New graduates of criminal justice are vital in the continuation of these programs as they have more insight into recent developments than many people who are currently working on specific programs within the various councils. International relations have never been more important in the modern world, and students of criminal justice should be aware that their degrees can be applied both domestically and internationally.