Needs of Various Populations Served By Criminal Justice Professionals
The criminal justice system is responsible for serving different populations that have varying social needs and requirements. First and foremost, the populations served by the criminal justice profession need to feel safe and security. The populations need to be assured of their protection and security. They need to be assured that any harm that they are exposed to is reduced or eliminate appropriately. For example, residents of a given neighborhood would expect to be protected from potential attacks by gangs by the law enforcement officers. Similarly, citizens of a given country expect to be protected against potential attacks by terrorists from a foreign country by the law enforcements officers especially the police and the military of the country.
Secondly, the populations served by the criminal justice profession expect the practitioners to be non-discriminatory when performing their duties. The populations expect criminal justice professionals such as judges and attorneys to be fair and just in their dealings and when executing their duties in the society. For example, victims of a criminal act would expect a judge to give a fair and just judgment without prejudice, biasness or discrimination. The victims would expect the judge to be indiscriminative and unbiased when delivering his judgment. Banks (2009) also affirms that the populations usually expect fair and equal treatment when seeking justice from professionals within the criminal justice system.
Thirdly, populations served by the criminal justice professionals want ethical and moral behavior among the practitioners. They expect criminal justice professionals to behave and act justly and with integrity by distancing themselves from unethical and immoral behaviors such as acts of corruption, bribery and favoritism. They expect criminal justice professionals to behave and act in a manner that conforms to the values, beliefs, traditions, norms and expectations of the communities they serve and the society as a whole.
Last but not least, populations served by criminal justice professionals want to be served by educated and knowledgeable professionals who can think critically and offer long-lasting solutions to the problems they face in the society. For example, members of a community faced with high levels of insecurity would expect the law enforcement agencies to formulate and implement appropriate solutions to the insecurity problems, for instance, by adopting community policing strategies rather than deploying traditional policing strategies when dealing with crime in the community.
How Criminal Justice Professionals Are Addressing the Needs of Various Populations They Serve
The criminal justice professionals address the needs of the various populations they serve in a number of ways. Firstly, criminal justice professional ensure that they perform their duties as required by their agencies and as expected by their clients. They perform their duties in accordance with well laid down rules and regulations such as code of conducts and code of ethics that guide and govern their conducts and actions. The criminals justice professionals strive to ensure that their conducts and actions are guided and founded on workplace ethics and legislation provided by their respective agencies or departments. For example, judges would act according to code of conducts established by the courts while police officers would act in accordance with the code of conduct established by the law enforcement department.
Secondly, the criminal justice professionals are continuously embracing education through professional development trainings in order to enable them meet and deal with the modern-day needs. According to Ferdico (2011), continuous professional development has enabled criminal justice professionals to acquire new knowledge, insights and skills that enable them deal with the ever-changing and dynamic challenges in the society as well as the diverse needs of the populations their serve more effectively and in a professional manner.
Thirdly, the criminal justice professionals strive to meet the needs of the populations they serve by increasing their awareness and acquaintance with the cultures, values, beliefs and norms of the communities they serve. Criminal justice professionals have become more sensitive and responsive to cultures and traditions of the populations they serve as well as to changes in the society. They have also strived to keep abreast of trending and current events, issues and challenges in the society. For example, they have become increasingly concerned with controversial issues such as euthanasia, age and gender discriminations and gun control in the society in order to enable them deal with such issues more precisely and effectively without taking sides.
Criminal justice professionals have also ensured that they exercise the best practices as they perform their duties and responsibilities. This has enabled criminal justice professionals to attain high levels of productivity. They have also attained effectiveness and efficiency as they carry out their duties and responsibilities hence meeting the needs of the populations they serve. Criminal justice professionals have also strived to be role models in the society by showing desired qualities. Consequently, the populations they serve are able to develop trust and confidence on them.
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Awareness of Members of Society about the Pertinent Duties and Responsibilities Associated With the Criminal Justice Profession
In my opinion, members of the society are not fully aware of the pertinent duties and responsibilities associated with the criminal justice profession. The members of the society only have a limited knowledge about the duties and responsibilities associated with the profession. They are also not aware of the challenges and difficulties faced by criminal justice professionals as they execute their duties in the society. For example, most members of the society only know that the police are responsible for preventing and controlling crime in the society. However, they do not understand the risks faced by police officers as they fight crime in the society. For instance, police officers may lose their lives when confronted by criminals or when attacked by terrorists. Similarly, victims of a crime in the society such as relatives of a person killed by thugs would not understand the reasons why a judge would make a particular judgment such as setting the suspects free rather than awarding them life imprisonment.
In my view, criminal justice professionals often carry out their duties under highly demanding and complex conditions that is not easy to understand. Moreover, the underlying factors that lead to certain actions taken by the criminal justice professionals cannot be understood easily by people outside the profession. The Anthem College also affirms that a large number of members of the society are not aware of the exact duties and responsibilities of criminal justice professionals.
In my view, the perceptions of members of the society towards criminal justice professionals are grounded on individual factors and societal issues with less regards to jobs performed by the criminal justice practitioners. For example, an individual would always defend himself when charged with crime because he strongly believes that he is right even if he is wrong. Similarly, the media also plays a significant role in the molding and modification of perceptions and attitudes of members of the society towards criminal justice professionals. For example, when the media depicts a law enforcement agency as incompetent, members of the society would also develop similar mindsets hence influencing their attitudes and perceptions about the criminal justice practitioners.
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Removal of Negative Stereotypes Associated With the Criminal Justice Profession
In my view, one of the best strategies that can be used to remove negative stereotypes associated with the criminal justice profession is public education of members of the society about the profession. This would involve conducting awareness campaigns and formal education to enlighten the populations about the profession. Through awareness campaigns and formal education, members of the society would have an opportunity to learn about the profession as well as gain a deeper understanding of its attributes, roles and duties. For example, awareness campaigns can be conducted to enlighten members of a community about the role of police with regards to crime prevention and control through community policing strategies. In my view, awareness campaigns and formal educations would enable the populations understand and appreciate the criminal justice professionals hence prevent the development of negative perceptions and stereotypes about the profession.
Secondly, negative stereotypes about the criminal justice profession can be reduced or eliminated by increasingly involving members of the public in criminal justice activities. For example, community members should be involved in crime prevention and control in the community through community policing. This would enable them gain a deeper understanding of the profession. Involving members of the society in criminal justice activities would also help in elimination of stereotypes associated with profession because the populations would feel valued and important hence appreciate the efforts made by criminal justice professionals to solve social problems faced in the society. For example, involving a family member in rehabilitation of one of their own would enable them follow up the treatment progress of the rehabilitant. Consequently, negative perceptions such incompetency of the criminal justice would be reduced or eliminated in the society. Similar, putting a criminal on community service programs would change the perceptions of members of the community towards the criminal justice system because they would recognize that the system is helping the community by putting the convict on a community service program which benefits the community.
- Anthem College. Tasks and responsibilities for criminal justice professionals. Retrieved on March 26, 2014, from http://www.anthemcollege.edu/criminal-justice-school/tasks-and-responsibilities-for-criminal-justice-professionals/.
- Banks, C. (2009). Criminal justice ethics: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
- Ferdico, J. N. (2011). Study guide for: Criminal procedure for the criminal justice professional. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.