experts say the people have to make peace with the new normal. Apart from the pandemic, time also evolves the professional operations of all the sectors. On the one hand, professionals discover new solutions to issues; new challenges come to the surface.
Criminal justice is the system which ensures that justice prevails in the society. It is the structure of laws and regulations, which holds criminals accountable for their wrongdoings, and helps victims achieve their rightful due. Contrary to the general idea, criminal justice encompasses police agencies and covers other law and order aspects. Criminal justice operates at different levels to protect the citizens’ rights and assist them by providing them with their services in legal matters. Patrol officers, paralegals, commonly known as legal assistants, probation officers, and criminal investigators, all work for the criminal justice system.
The degree in law is one of the sought-after degrees, and every year students enroll in various law departments. Due to the convenience e-learning provides to its students, online education is booming for the past few years, and the current pandemic has further hiked it up. Reputable educational institutes offer online pre-law programs to register from different parts of the world. Pre Law programs prepare students for higher studies in law. A career in law attracts plenty of people, so students in flock opt for law degrees.
Criminal justice has its share of hurdles, and the following are some of the emerging challenges criminal justice professionals are facing in the ongoing year:
1. HIKE IN INCARCERATION
There is an alarming hike in the incarceration rate this year, to the extent that prisons are overwhelmed with criminals. The challenge is to house other lawbreakers as it seems that jails are running out of space. A higher incarceration rate means a more significant number of victims, which implies the lack of a judicial system. Criminal justice professionals deal with a plethora of convicts every day. Many crimes happening in a city affect the residents, and people do not feel safe while carrying out their mundane tasks. Incarceration happens only when criminal justice professionals take action and capture the criminals; however, several law offenses occur daily, which goes unnoticed. The unregistered issues are another concern for law enforcement agencies.
2. RECRUITING FOR MORE STAFF
The population has grown exponentially, and so has crime cases. In comparison, the departments of criminal justice are widely understaffed, which is why many of them have no choice but to work for extra hours. Staffing requires more training, and currently, many law agencies have not resumed regular working; hence the procedure of providing training to new officers has come to a halt. In the past, criminal justice was useful to organize seminars and workshops for regular citizens and give them essential administrative duties. This approach had somewhat eased the burden, but in the current scenario, due to the SOPs issued by governments, law, and order, people cannot commence these training sessions.
3. EXTENSIVE USE OF NARCOTICS
Boost in drug-related crimes is visible, and it continues to increase every year. More than half of the prisoners have a history of using narcotics in one way or another. Some criminals get into fights, robberies, and even murders because they were under some drug, and when it wears off, they have nothing but regrets. With the change in drug-related laws, drugs’ consumption is on the rise, putting pressure on the criminal justice system. A significant reason for road accidents is the use of some narcotics, and it is also the leading cause of the growing cases of violence. Several criminal justice professionals have been fighting for strict rules on drugs, effective policies, and new regulations to deal with drug offenders.
4. HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is the worst kind of human exploitation that has ruined millions of lives. Awareness about traffickers has made people conscious, whereas criminals have also devised new ways of abducting women and children for their greed. The use of online platforms in trapping people has become a new mantra for them. The danger of human trafficking has intensified and has opened up new opportunities for law offenders. Various criminal justice professionals have dedicated their lives to eliminating humans’ exploitation, but have seen little success so far.
COVID-19 has shifted the work mode to work-from-home, which has raised the cases of cybercrimes. Data breaches, cyberbullying, identity theft, extortion, stealing money online from bank accounts, ATM robberies all come under the umbrella of cybercrimes. Cybercriminals are technologically smart, and criminal justice professionals need to be above them, which means they should be tech savvier to catch offenders’ trail. Gathering digital evidence and collecting footprints on electronic devices are among many other challenges that law enforcement agencies face this year. Chasing cybercrime offenders takes much more time and energy, and criminal justice professionals must develop smarter strategies to reach them.
Justice is the heart of any community, and criminal justice professionals are critical players of it. Today’s criminal system faces unprecedented issues, and dealing with them is a constant struggle for law and order professionals. The job of criminal justice professionals is tough as they have to stay vigilant 24/7. Their shoulders bear the heavy responsibility of providing safety to the regular people, and a slight negligence in their duty can cause a catastrophe. A career in criminal justice fascinates youth, as many younger people aspire to bring a positive change in the community.