When you think about the field of criminal justice, you probably imagine a police officer or corrections officer. In reality, this field has positions in every type of business in America. Criminal justice professionals are the people who keep our airports safe, help run our court system and keep our computer networks safe.
Robert White never thought he would have a career in criminal justice, but his desire to make a difference and spark reform won out. He got a degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix and continued on to get an MBA. Today he is an adjunct professor in criminal justice for Everest College, teaching the next wave of students.
White also serves as CASA, a court appointed special advocate, providing advocacy for abused and neglected children.
What made you seek out a career in criminal justice?
“I was always interested in law. I wanted to change the face of the criminal and get the system to look at the person behind the crime. Many of the people who end up in the system are good people who just made a mistake. I have high hopes that the system can change how they look at people, inside and out.”
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry?
“The biggest challenge is definitely people’s prejudices and preconceived notions. You may see a man who has a lot a tattoos, maybe an earring and think he is some kind of troublemaker, when in reality he is a mechanical engineer.”
“Many of the people in the system are treated based on appearances and prejudices, not the basic rule of law. We need to be more objective and restore integrity to the system.”
What opportunities do you see for jobs in the field of criminal justice?
“It is really so broad. The jobs aren’t just for cops and caseworkers. There are jobs in Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Border Patrol, private security and internet security.”
What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career in criminal justice?
“Make it your passion. Don’t go into this field for the money. Realize you are going to have to take the good with bad. Do your research and seek out internships or volunteer opportunities so you can see where you fit in. Once you are in, make sure to find a hobby outside of your career to keep you balanced.”
Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Christa has been a Las Vegas resident for more than 20 years. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.