Criminal Justice vs Criminology: Key Differences

Criminal Justice vs Criminology

Criminal Justice vs Criminology: Criminal justice is a fairly broad term. Most people think of criminal justice as law enforcement. However, that definition leaves out the many other people who work in criminal justice and the areas they work in.

The science definition of Criminal Justice is:

“The system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts.”


What Does Criminal Justice Involve?

“[Criminal justice] is a field that encompasses the study of all aspects of crime, punishment, and related criminal justice policies and procedures. The discipline also includes the investigation of crime scenes, the construction of criminal cases against alleged offenders, the operation of courts and prisons, correctional treatment and rehabilitation, community relations between police and citizens, crime prevention approaches (including programs for at-risk youth), restitution for victims of crime as well as other related topics.”


Criminal Justice

On the other hand, a degree in criminal justice is a more broad field. It focuses on crime, punishment, and the judicial system. While criminology studies crime as a whole and what causes it, criminal justice focuses on law enforcement agencies and the court system.

Criminal justice majors learn about individuals who commit crimes and why they do so. They also learn about victims of these crimes and how to prevent them from happening again. Students who major in criminal justice must take classes in sociology and psychology to gain insights into the challenges of their field.

In addition to getting an understanding of human behavior, students will gain a wide range of skills that can be used across many different fields. The science-heavy curriculum requires that students have strong math and analytical skills. Graduates are often able to use these skills when working with government agencies or in research organizations at universities or hospitals.


Criminology is the scientific study of crime, crime behavior and its causes, impacts and responses. In other words, it aims to understand why people commit crimes and how they can be prevented or reduced. It also studies the impact of different punishments on criminals, given that criminals are human beings with feelings and rights. By comparison, Criminal Justice is a broader field that deals with the punitive aspect of criminal behaviour through law enforcement agencies such as police, courts and correctional facilities. Criminologists may work under criminal justice professionals but their job aims at understanding criminal behavior better than at ensuring such behaviours are punished according to the law.

Criminal Justice and Criminology are similar but they aren’t the same thing.

While the two fields have similar goals, they approach them in different ways. Criminal justice is more practice-based while criminology is more theory-based. Criminologists are social scientists who study the nature and causes of crime. They research everything from what causes people to commit crimes to how society can prevent it. A criminal justice professional will use the insights gained from criminological research to help solve local problems, such as a spike in burglary rates or a rise in gang violence.

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What Are the Types of Criminal Justice Professions?

You could become a police officer, detective or criminal investigator who works to enforce the law and inform the public. Other careers are in the field of forensic science. Forensic science technicians work with police departments to discover who committed a crime and how they committed it.

If you’re more interested in working directly with offenders, consider becoming a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. You’ll work closely with offenders on parole, sometimes even going into their homes for meetings.

Some criminal justice professionals work under the judicial branch of government. Lawyers represent clients during legal proceedings and trials, while paralegals analyze and organize evidence for cases and prepare documents for lawyers to use during trials or other proceedings. Court reporters keep a record of all legal proceedings, from court sessions and hearings to depositions.

There are also careers that support other branches of government by maintaining order within courtrooms or protecting judges, such as bailiffs or correctional officers/jailers. Private detectives may also perform tasks similar to those done by police officers, such as investigating crimes at businesses or in private residences; some also assist lawyers during litigation cases.

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Where Can You Work in Criminal Justice?

If you have an interest in working in criminal justice, then you’re bound to find a career field that fits your interests. Here are some of the most popular areas for criminal justice job prospects:

  • State, local and federal law enforcement agencies
  • State and federal prisons and jails
  • Court systems
  • Correctional facilities
  • Probation and parole programs
  • Private security firms
  • Private investigation agencies
  • State and federal intelligence agencies

How Much Do Criminal Justice Jobs Pay?

Average salaries for criminal justice jobs vary according to the type of job, location, experience, and education. Some of the highest-paying criminal justice careers include lawyers, law enforcement officers, judges and corrections officers. According to the 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average annual salaries are:

  • Lawyers: $133,470
  • Judges: $134,690
  • Police and Detectives: $61,600
  • Corrections Officers and Bailiffs: $43,510

A career in criminal justice can be exciting and rewarding.

With so many opportunities in the field of criminal justice, a career in this field can be very rewarding. You can work in a variety of settings such as courts, jails, prisons, law enforcement agencies, and forensic labs. You can also work for local, state or federal agencies. The possibilities are vast and you have the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life. The criminal justice system is a complex system that includes law enforcement agencies at all levels (local, state and federal), prosecutors and defenders at the trial level, corrections systems at the county and state levels (jails and prisons) and appellate courts at the state and federal level.

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Criminology is the study of the causes and consequences of crime.

Criminology is the study of crime and why people break the law. By examining, understanding and responding to the causes of crime, criminologists can work toward preventing and controlling crime. To do this, criminological research focuses on determining why some people commit criminal acts and others don’t; what factors contribute to criminals committing more or fewer crimes; how we might prevent people from becoming criminals in the first place; and how society responds to criminal behavior.

Criminology is a field of study that brings together many disciplines—including psychology, sociology, public policy, law, economics and even biology—to examine patterns in crime. Many criminologists also study how society responds to different types of criminal behavior through things like law enforcement practices, sentencing policies and rehabilitation programs. Criminologists may also investigate topics like white-collar crime (crime committed by individuals or organizations for financial gain), mass incarceration and corporate or government malfeasance.

Criminologists are interested in studying many different aspects of crime, including its forms, sources, and causes.

You will learn many different things as you study criminology. One aspect of your education will involve examining the ways in which crimes are classified, according to their types and motives.

There are many different forms of crime that criminologists are interested in studying. Research in this field involves investigating violent crimes like murder and rape, as well as financial crimes such as embezzlement or fraud. Criminologists also study white collar crime, which is a type of non-violent crime involving deception for financial gain. White collar offenses include tax evasion and insider trading, among others.

Criminologists are also interested in learning about the various sources of crime; here, they often study social factors like race and gender, cultural factors such as religion or ethnicity, and biological factors related to genetics or neurobiology.

Criminologists study not only the nature and characteristics of crimes, but also the characteristics of criminals, and the impact of crime on both victims and society.

Criminologists study not only the nature and characteristics of crimes, but also the characteristics of criminals, and the impact of crime on both victims and society. Criminologists are interested in why certain groups in society commit more crime than others.

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They study the causes of crime by examining a wide range of factors that may affect criminal behavior. These factors include psychological disorders, social conditions such as poverty or racism, cultural aspects of criminal activity, and family circumstances including parental neglect.

Criminologists are also interested in understanding the consequences of crime on both an individual (victim) and societal level. They may look at issues such as why some victims choose to not report crimes to police or why some people do not continue pursuing compensation for their victimization through legal services organizations. Criminologists can help inform better public policy regarding how governments allocate resources to deal with crime prevention strategies or justice systems policies.

Criminology is an interdisciplinary field that draws on many scientific disciplines to help understand crime.

Apart from the study of crime, criminology draws on many disciplines such as psychology, biology and sociology. The causes and consequences of crime are complex and varied, so understanding them requires knowledge of many different fields. Criminology is a combination of these different fields which makes it an interdisciplinary field.

Criminology is a challenging but rewarding field to study.

The field of criminology is challenging for a number of reasons. For example, it throws you into the world of criminal activity, which exposes you to some of our most brutal and disturbing behaviors. Criminologists are often confronted with exceptionally dark scenarios and must endure them in order to resolve cases and bring criminals to justice. This can be emotionally taxing work. In addition, solving crimes requires intense attention to detail; criminologists must be able to piece together tiny bits of information that, taken together, form a much larger picture than they could on their own. And when it comes to their professional lives, criminologists have high stakes: since they’re tasked with finding and convicting criminals who should be brought to justice or who pose a threat to public safety, they carry enormous responsibility on their shoulders at all times.

However difficult it may be at times, the field of criminology is also immensely rewarding for those who study it. There aren’t many careers more meaningful than one in which you’re helping people feel safer from crime—and especially from violent crime—every single day. Criminologists become an integral part of their communities by protecting them from harm and helping make society safer for everyone. They get immense satisfaction from bringing criminals to justice and preventing more crimes from taking place by doing so; however difficult it may be at times, the field of criminology is also immensely rewarding for those who study it.

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