By broad definition, criminal justice management is the oversight, management and supervision of a criminal justice system. Positions in this field can range from the police chief of a small town police department to the director of a national crime-fighting organization. A criminal justice system may include line officers, investigators, court officers, correction officers, probation and parole officers, and child welfare specialists, as well as all administrative personnel required to operate the system.
The manager of a criminal justice system will be versed in all police, security and emergency disaster procedures, usually with a college or university degree in sociology or criminal justice and/or a certificate of completion for a criminal justice program. Many educational institutions offer criminal justice management courses as part of a degree plan, or as an adjunct to an undergraduate or graduate degree. Also, some universities include courses on it in their business administration degree plans.
Criminal justice management programs include courses on crime and justice in society, criminal law and procedure, emergency planning, disaster response and management, security investigations, information security and criminal justice systems personnel management, as well as others that may be required by a specific university or college. Upon completion of the required courses, the student is granted a certificate in recognition of an officer’s commitment to improve his or her ability to supervise and manage a criminal justice system. Depending on the policies of the college or university, the graduate may have the credit hours earned applied to his or her degree plan.
Criminal justice programs have changed throughout the U.S in the past four decades as more emphasis has been placed on cooperation between courts, law enforcement agencies and correctional systems, as well as statewide and nationwide cooperation by criminal justice systems. This network has proven very effective in apprehending criminals who attempt to escape retribution for local crimes committed.
The authors of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 gave the following definition of the criminal justice system: a way for a society to “enforce the standards of conduct necessary to protect individuals and the community.” Criminal justice management took on an expanded role after the 1968 Act as administrators and managers of criminal justice systems began to look beyond their own defined areas of responsibility to share pertinent information with other systems in their efforts to curb crime.