The Key to Understanding Criminal Justice
When most people think of Criminal Justice, they think of the courts, the FBI, and the prison system. But Professor William Morrissette, head of the Bay State College's Criminal Justice program, wants students to think bigger, and for that they have to think about social justice as well.
According to Morrissette, social justice is, "everyone in society getting equal opportunity and equal treatment." As Morrissette sees it, when people enter the criminal justice system, understanding how and why they got there is essential. "Criminal justice operates in a very dynamic world environment," Morrissette says, "and we need to understand those dynamics in order to serve the community."
How does that work in the program? Morrissette has some ideas.
- Students understand their past history. "Many of our students have experienced exactly what we're talking about," Morrissette says. "And they need to come to terms with their personal experience so that they can begin to balance that against coming into a profession in criminal justice."
- Students get a full understanding of the national conversation. With so many current events revolving around criminal justice issues, Bay State's innovative approach gives students access to larger concerns.
- Students come away with a great understanding of the system and how to navigate it. Morrissette wants the Criminal Justice program to help show students how to navigate the U.S. democratic system, and to see it in an international context. "If they can come away and look at the concept of social justice both nationally and internationally," Morrissette says, "that's really my goal."
- Students get access to fascinating criminal justice jobs. Many students enter the court systems working in probation and parole, with prisoner re-entry, juvenile diversion programs and victim advocate positions.
Students will come away from the Criminal Justice program with a broader understanding of social justice and inequality and how they work, preparing students for our complicated world. As Morrissette puts it, "MY job is to make sure that they understand the world they're walking into, number one, and that they have the skills to navigate that complex environment."