13 Content Areas of An Online Criminal Justice Diploma

Written by: 
Daymar College

Do you have an analytical mind and a high regard for the law? The criminal justice field is experiencing significant growth and this, combined with advances in technology, makes now a great time to think about earning your online Criminal Justice diploma. An online Criminal Justice diploma program will focus on 13 specific content areas. They include:

#1: Corrections

There are two types of careers in Corrections: the administrator, and the supervisor of those who have committed a crime. Correctional administration specialists work in correctional institutions to evaluate the progress of an inmate. The correctional administration specialist career includes administrative tasks such as preparing progress reports, managing files, and reporting information about the inmates to a supervisor.

Those who supervise criminals are detention officers, probation officers, parole officers and bailiffs. Detention officers work in correctional facilities and juvenile detention centers guarding individuals who have been convicted of a crime. Detention officers maintain order and assist in processing prisoners in jails and prisons. Probation officers monitor those who are on probation. Parole officers perform similar duties, however they supervise offenders after they have been paroled from prison. Probation and parole officers keep in contact with prisoners to ensure they adhere to the terms of the parole or probation. Parole and probation officers also help convicts secure jobs, housing, and further education. Bailiffs provide security in courtrooms and make sure that jurors and observers adhere to the rules of conduct during court proceedings.

#2: Private and Industrial Security

Many companies are employing security professionals to protect property and people from fire, theft, vandalism and illegal activity. Jobs in the private and industrial security field include those who are security officers and security services managers.
A security guard monitors to prevent criminal activity on a company’s premises. They are responsible for maintaining the safety of employees, residents, and guests. The security guard learns protection and defense methods, writing reports, delivering first aid, and handling emergency situations.
A security services manager will oversee the measures taken to protect an organization’s information systems and physical property. They may assess security risks and develop internal controls to ensure employee safety. The security services manager is also responsible for conducting investigations into security breaches and selecting surveillance technologies.

#3: Rules of Evidence

Evidence covers the burden of proof, admissibility, relevance, weight and sufficiency of what should be admitted into record during a legal proceeding. The Federal Rules of Evidence govern the admissibility of evidence in federal trials. There are four general types of evidence:

Real Evidence – a tangible piece of evidence or object that does not stand alone. Real evidence is usually heard during witness testimony or after lab proceedings.
Demonstrative Evidence – a model of what likely happened at a given time and place.
Documentary Evidence – a letter, blog post or other document used as evidence of a crime.
Testimonials – a formal statement testifying to someone’s character and qualification.

#4: Law Enforcement Operations

Law enforcement careers include police officers, customs agents, secret service agents, park rangers and border patrol agents. Law enforcement agents work in a variety of settings and perform tasks including responding to emergencies, writing reports, completing paperwork and testifying in court.

Police officers uphold the law and protect citizens and property. Police officers also issue tickets and citations, arrest criminals, and compile reports. Customs agents are responsible for keeping terrorists and weapons out of the U.S. and preventing illegal immigration and smuggling. Customs agents can also work the border as border patrol agents. Secret Service agents not only protect the President, but they also fight the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Park Rangers protect the designated outdoor areas to make sure campers, hikers, and visitors follow the rules.

#5: Ethics and Professionalism

A code of conduct is a mandate law enforcement officers use to perform their duties. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has a code of conduct that states, “As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.” This code of conduct includes acting impartially, exercising discretion, using only necessary force and maintaining confidentiality, integrity, and a professional image at all times.

#6: Criminal Investigations

Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts. These facts are used to identify, locate and prove the guilt of an accused criminal. Police officers and detectives actively investigate criminal activity by conducting interviews, making arrests and studying crime scenes.

#7: Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is the habitual committing of criminal acts or offenses by a youth. Juvenile corrections specialists arrange for a safe environment and assist with mediation of juveniles. They develop resolutions, retain youth files, and provide assistance. A youth corrections officer’s job titles include juvenile detention officer, youth correctional counselor, youth parole officer, and youth probation officer.

#8: Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement. A critical thinker will raise vital questions and problems, gather relevant information, come to well-reasoned conclusions and tests these conclusions against evidence and testimony.

#9: Police Report Writing

In law enforcement, report writing is a part of everyday operations. Police report writing has a process that will be learned during a Criminal Justice program. Proper report writing starts for law enforcement when they first arrive on the scene; they then set the scene, evidence is collected, pictures are taken, statements are obtained from witnesses, victims, and the suspect, property is recovered, and finally, any facts needed to be documented in the case are recorded. This clear and complete procedure for police report writing will ensure that the suspect will be given due process by the law.

#10: Criminal Law

Criminal Law is the body of law related to crime. Most criminal law is established by statute and laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law focuses on conduct perceived as threatening, or otherwise endangering the health and safety of people. The objectives of criminal law, according to Wikipedia include:

Retribution – criminals should be punished in some way to balance the scales.
Deterrence – to impose a penalty that will discourage the person from criminal behavior. By imposing a penalty on those who commit crime, others are discouraged from committing those same crimes.
Incapacitation – keeping criminals away from the public in an effort to protect the public from a criminal’s further misconduct.
Rehabilitation – transforming a criminal into a valuable member of the community and to prevent further crimes from happening.
Restoration – to repair any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender to return the victim to their original state, before the injury.

#11: Introduction to Criminal Justice

A typical introduction to criminal justice includes naming the three parts of the American criminal justice system. Defining due process, identifying the amendments that make up due process, explaining the focus of due process, and defining probable cause. The three parts of the American criminal justice system include law enforcement, adjudication, and corrections. Due process is the fair treatment through the normal judicial system. Probable cause is the legal standard law enforcement has to make an arrest, conduct a personal search or obtain a warrant for arrest.

#12: Computer Applications

The use of computers in law enforcement includes indexing and retrieving information from a database, using software to analyze faces and identify finger prints, to connect to the Internet, and for communication between law enforcement individuals. Law enforcement also uses mobile computing devices to take notes, access records, and contact colleagues.

#13: Victimology

The study of victims of crime and the psychological effects they have on those victims. A victim is a person who has been harmed by a perpetrator. The perpetrator is the criminal offender. Many victims of crime suffer from emotional distress including fear, anxiety, nervousness, self-blame, anger, shame and difficulty sleeping.

Do these 13 key areas of criminal justice interest you? The online Criminal Justice Diploma program is designed to prepare current and future employees for the fast-paced changes encountered in the criminal justice industry, and to provide Criminal Justice students with the knowledge, skills, training and attitude required to gain an entry-level position within the criminal justice system.