Criminal Justice is an academic discipline that is very interesting for many learners across the world. Enrollment in the field of criminal justice studies has significantly been increasing over the past years. More students are evidently finding interest in studying crime. One of the most important activities students learn in the course of their criminal justice program is essay writing. The criminal justice course is focused on developing an all-around individual who has both practical and theoretical skills to combat crime and bring justice. However, you cannot attain this objective if you are not armed with effective essay writing skills. Proficiency in essay writing helps criminal justice students to develop effective reports in police, corrections, parole, probation, and social work services.
Good reporting, communication and documentation are also necessary in creating case notes, miscellaneous court documents, victim advocate reports, press releases, op-ed essays, grant applications and others. Essay writing is the cornerstone of contemporary practice in the field of criminology.
Writing a criminal justice essay may be very hectic for students. Most students often prefer a one-sided learning method. This involves acquiring concepts from the instructors but not reproducing the learned information through writing. This is an easy way of learning. However, it is not possible for the instructor to assess the extent to which the learning has influenced the students. Writing a criminal justice essay can be fun if different considerations and tips are put in place. The first aspect of the topic they are expected to write about. Besides proficiency in writing and the skills in written communication, the instructor is also testing relevance or adherence to the subject matter.
Criminal justice is a wide discipline with a broad range of topics. Depending on the area of focus, you are expected to select the most suitable topic that addresses the objectives they have. First, it is important to point out that instructors can present questions that they require the students to discuss. You may be expected to choose their own topics in some cases. The most important thing is to understand what the instructor needs and fine-tune your writing in a way that meets the objectives. In case the topic is not given, you should consider the following issues before they begin writing their essay:
It is up to you to understand the instruction requirements and appropriately choose the topic that is most suitable. Once you have chosen a good topic, you should proceed to the pre-writing preparation stage.
Even with a clear prompt and a grasp of a sea of ideas, writing an essay can be very challenging. Before you begin to write a criminal justice essay, it is important that you consider the following issues:
Review the allocated time: Every essay comes with specific instructions including the amount of time allocated. Some instructors may allocate weeks or even months for relatively small essays. Others may instruct that the essays are written and submitted the same day. It is important to evaluate the allocated time and no exactly the level of urgency. This will help plan the proceeding steps. For instance, a two-page essay that is needed in two weeks gives enough time for thorough research, drafting and proofreading.
CAUTION! Long deadlines should not translate to laziness. Rather, they should help in ensuring thoroughness.
Example: While brainstorming on death penalty, the following ideas can cross the mind: human rights, the aim of punishment, justice to the victims, ethical implications, and religion among others.
Example: Free-writing on the death penalty: I believe no one, not even the state should be granted the right to take another person’s life. I also think killing criminals implies the government would be destroying the only evidence that “crime does not pay”. How will children learn that criminals suffer?
Example: How does death penalty relates to my studies? Why would the government execute its own citizens? Isn’t death penalty an ethical/ moral issue?
Writing a criminal justice essay paper may be significantly different from any other essay writing. The terms and concepts used may have different meanings in the common language. It is important to consider the common concepts and terms before you begin writing. Some of the common concepts and terminologies you will encounter include:
Crime: An action or omission that violates the penal code. It is punishable by fine or imprisonment or sanction.
Criminal intent: A provable motivates to violate the law.
Felony: A serious crime that is punishable by over one-year imprisonment (Roberts, 2018).
Evidence: A legal proof or omission or action.
Crime scene: An environment where a crime is suspected to have occurred.
It is important to note that these are just but a few of the many terms used in criminal justice essays. The student should take time and explore some of those that apply to their essays.
After you have collected all, the necessary information from diverse databases, one should begin writing. The first step involves developing a format ad an outline. You may have the information but your essay will be meaningless if the ideas are not properly arranged. A criminal justice essay paper uses the same structure as in other disciplines. It begins with the introduction, proceeds to the body and ends at the conclusion.
This is the part where you explore the topic in a rather general fashion. You present background information on the problem, its prevalence and the impact it has created on the selected population. As previously indicated, some criminal justice essays may require students to argue and counter argue on given topic. Regardless of the topic, a criminal justice essay must begin with the introduction. You should attempt to let the reader understand the issue you are arguing about by providing a brief overview. You do not want to spend half of your paper explaining to the reader about the topic. To avoid such, be concise and relevant. Do not gather and present a lot of unnecessary information that add no value to the paper. Create a positive impression in the introduction.
Tip: Make it concise and relevant!
This is the heart of the paper. It is what earns you points. You would want to showcase your ingenuity, positive writing skills and extensive understanding of the topic in this part. The first consideration that one must make relates to paragraphing. As previously stated, it is pointless to spend time gathering ideas only to aimlessly throw them on the paper. You must organize your ideas in a way that allows for fluency and coherence.
The paragraphs you choose for your criminal justice essay should be between 100 and 150 words. This allows the reader to follow the ideas you are putting across. Students are often tempted to write extremely large paragraphs to justify they have mastered the content or concept. The positive gesture much appreciated. However, it may bring more harm than good to your paper. The readers may get lost along the way trying to understand your ideas. If you want to write a good essay, avoid the temptation of long paragraphs and lengthy sentences. You should also not forget to begin each paragraph with the topic sentence. It is the main idea that you intend to support through different arguments.
Moreover, “equality before the law” applies in every criminal justice paper. Try to present both sides of the argument in the main body. It is advisable that you consider arguments and counterarguments when compiling your information for a criminal justice system. For instance, when arguing about the death penalty, do not restrict yourself to the perspectives that support it. Also, present the arguments of those who oppose the policy. This creates the impression that you are an objective law-enforcer.
Tip: Let the Main Body Speak for You!
This is the part where you summarize the contents you have written from the introduction to the main body. Recap on the main ideas and state your position on the topic. You need to restate the thesis and explain if it is justified.
When you are done writing, proofread! Read over and over again to ascertain that the ideas you intended to put on the paper are exactly as you desired. You may put your essay paper away for a moment after you are done writing and grab a cup of coffee before you begin proofreading. The intention is to refresh your mind. Some of the proofreading techniques you may use include: