Criminal Justice Work: The Basics

When you’re looking for a job, you need to take a lot into account. Your skills and qualifications – whether they’re skills you have now and need to show off to your best advantage in CVs, application forms and interview, or skills you need to acquire before you can go after the job of your dreams. You also need to think about the relevant experience you have, and that’s not necessarily related to your education or professional work. If you’re trying to transition to a career that’s previously been a passion for you, whether that’s a creative job or work with a charity, you may well need to lean heavily on interests you have outside of work: designing sets for an amateur theatre or volunteering with a local homeless charity could both be very useful when you’re applying for a job that doesn’t relate directly to your career to date and you shouldn’t be shy on referring to projects you’ve worked on simply because you weren’t paid for them!

Finally, you do need to think about pay and benefits! If you find your dream job advertised, but the pay is radically below what you’ve been paid to date, or indeed below what you need to meet your monthly outgoings comfortably, you need to think hard before going for it. Unless you have someway to make up the shortfall or reduce your costs, pursuing that job in the long term could have serious consequences!

One of the most secure employers in the UK is the public sector: it’s far rarer for mass redundancies to affect the NHS, for example, than it is for a private business to go under and leave people unemployed. Public sector pensions are also notoriously robust.

One area of the public sector that is often overlooked is the Criminal Justice System, and it’s well worth considering. People tend to see a monolith: prisons and guards, but there’s a great deal more to it than that, and it can cater for you whatever your skills are and whatever your experience. As well as people employed to guard prisoners, there are probation officers, people working in youth offending jobs, working to ensure people don’t enter the system in the first place or don’t return to it. There are an army of administrators, HR and back office staff keeping the whole machine going, and then those providing pastoral care: giving prisoners the skills they need to ensure prison is a reformative experience, not something that drags them deeper into crime and re-offence.

Matching your skills and experience to the available jobs in criminal justice will show you just how much is perfect for you and the possibilities that are on offer!