You may complete your
project as either a Word document or as a presentation. Your investigation will be 4–5 pages or approximately 10–15 slides. From your investigation into each of
the branches, you will be able to reflect on and determine a potential career path within the criminal justice field.
If you choose to follow a presentation format, these are some recommended programs: PowerPoint, Prezi, Pixxa Perspective, or Haiku Deck. In your
presentation, be sure to utilize the speaker notes section of each slide for the bulk of the content. The speaker’s notes are to be used to explain why you put the
information on the slide, and you will be assessed heavily on this information. The speaker notes are the words you would say if you were presenting the slides
to an audience. The tone of these notes should be professional. View this document for additional details on guidelines for presentations.
You will now be investigating three major areas involving the three branches of criminal justice. Before you proceed, consider your career aspirations in criminal
justice and where you might possibly see yourself upon completion of your degree. After each section, you will be given the chance to reflect upon your decision
based on your findings.
The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final
submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Two, Four, and Five. The final product will be submitted in Module Seven.
In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
Describe how the three branches of criminal justice operate as a cohesive system by analyzing their collaboration and communication practices
Identify the impacts of historical aspects of law enforcement, courts, and corrections on shaping the current role of the criminal justice practitioner
Illustrate how the use of emerging technology impacts the performance of the criminal justice practitioner
Apply basic principles of criminal and constitutional law to common criminal justice situations in a way that adheres to ethical and professional standards
Differentiate between the roles of practitioners in each of the three branches of the criminal justice system for making informed career path decisions
Choosing a career within the criminal justice field is a major, life-changing decision. Once you complete your criminal justice degree, you are then considered a
criminal justice professional. From this point forward, you will be evaluated, assessed, and analyzed as a person who is dedicated to a profession where your
actions are always being scrutinized. There is a tremendous weight and responsibility on those who choose this path, and you must learn whether or not you are
capable of doing what is required of these professionals. By the end of this course, you should know whether or not you should stay with this major. This
assessment will act as a guide as you investigate the three branches of criminal justice to make a decision concerning your career path. The specific branches you
will be examining are law enforcement, courts, and corrections. In investigating these, you should be able to decide where your interests lie within the criminal
justice field and whether or not you would like to continue on your potential career path.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:
I. Communication and Collaboration
The branches of criminal justice may appear to function autonomously, but there is a lot of interaction and collaboration between them. In this part of
the career investigation, you will need to think about some scenarios where communication and collaboration would be required for these branches to
function effectively and which branch appears to be more in line with how you approach communication and collaboration.
a) How does the ability to conduct legal searches differ between the police officer, probation officer, and prison guard in the performance of their
duties? Give an example of interagency collaboration when conducting a legal search.
b) A police officer was conducting an investigation involving an incarcerated prisoner. The police officer would like to know who the prisoner spoke
to on the phone and who visited him. Describe who the police officer would need to collaborate with to obtain that information, explaining why.
c) Lou, a suspect the officer was investigating in a burglary case, was just convicted for that crime. Prior to his sentence, a pre-sentence report
must be conducted. Who is most likely to conduct the investigation: the police officer, probation officer, or the prison guard? Who will he or she
collaborate with to complete the report? Support your response by explaining how this process impacts interagency collaboration.
d) Use the case study you selected for Milestone One, where communication and collaboration were driving factors, and discuss the impact of that
case in reshaping the role of the corrections practitioner.
e) Based on your findings regarding the differences in how each branch communicates with each other, which career path is most in line with your
communication and collaboration practices and why?
As technology evolves, criminal justice organizations need to be on the cutting edge of what is available to aid them in their investigations. In this part of
the career investigation, you will need to think about the use of emerging technology in some scenarios involving each of the criminal justice branches to
see which of the branches utilizes technology that interests you the most.
a) A police officer is assigned to conduct a burglary investigation. He describes the scene and says they found drops of blood, a hammer,
shoeprints, and a handprint. What types of technology are available for him, and how does the technology impact his ability to conduct a
b) A prison guard is assigned to the visitors’ entrance at the prison. What types of technology are available to him, and how does the technology
impact his ability to prevent visitors from smuggling in contraband?
c) A probation officer has been told that due to overcrowding in the state prison, nonviolent offenders will be released and put on probation.
What types of technology are available to her, and how does the technology impact her ability to maintain contact with these probationers?
d) Use the case study you selected for Milestone Two, where the use of technology was a driving factor, and discuss the impact of that case in
reshaping the role of the law enforcement practitioner.
e) Based on the differences in available and emerging technology in each of the branches, which career path uses technology that you have the
most interest in learning and utilizing, and why?
III. Ethical and Professional Practice
When people see criminal justice practitioners, they expect them to have strong ethical beliefs and act professionally at all times. In this part of the
career investigation, you will now think about some scenarios where each of the branches must act ethically and professionally to see which of the
professions fits best with how you think and act. Read the following scenarios and answer each prompt.
a) While on duty, a uniformed police officer went to a crowded neighborhood deli at lunchtime to buy a sandwich. The deli owner, Ari, told the
officer that it was on the house and payment was not necessary. What professional and ethical standards should be in place from the police
department to assist this officer in his decision making, and why should they be put in place?
b) A prison guard was assigned to patrol Cell Block 4. One of the guard’s high school buddies, Ray, is incarcerated on the same cell block for
possession of narcotics. Cigarettes are not allowed on prison property. While the guard was patrolling the cell block, Ray was smoking a
cigarette. If Ray is reported by the guard, he will not be eligible for parole. Ray pleads the guard to not report him. What professional and ethical
standards should be in place from the prison administration to assist this guard with decision making, and why should they be put in place?
c) What basic principle of constitutional law must a police officer, but not always a probation officer, follow when conducting an ethical and legal
search of a probationer’s house? Explain why this law is applicable to this situation.
d) Use the case study you selected for Milestone Three, where ethics or professional practice was a driving factor, and discuss the impact of that
case in reshaping the role of the practitioner in the court system.
e) Based on the ethical and professional practices of each of the branches, which career path is most in line with your ethical beliefs and
professional disposition, and why?
IV. Career Revision
Based on your investigation of the three branches of criminal justice, describe how your findings solidified or changed your career aspirations. If you
have opted to choose a different career path entirely than criminal justice, explain why.
Guidelines for Submission: You may complete your project as either a Word document or as a presentation. Your career path investigation essay should be 4–5
pages, double-spaced, and use 12-point Times New Roman font, or your presentation should be between 10 and 15 slides, with speaker notes. The speaker
notes are the words you would say if you were presenting the slides to an audience. The tone of these notes should be professional.