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Massachusetts Criminal Justice Programs

There are in the neighborhood of 50 schools in Massachusetts that offer criminal justice programs, ranging from associate degree to doctorate. Whether you are interested in forensic science, homeland security/terrorism, paralegal studies, law enforcement, or correctional administration, there’s a program for you in Massachusetts.

Criminal Justice Careers in Massachusetts

Criminal justice is an umbrella term that includes three areas: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Although all three branches work together, each has its own particular focus.

Law Enforcement Careers in Massachusetts

This branch includes jobs such as police officer, police detective, sheriff, and private detective. The goal of these individuals is to keep communities safe through surveillance, apprehension and arrest of suspects, and investigation of crimes.

CareerCareer Outlook Massachusetts 2018 Median Salary
Police officers+5%$68,030
Private detectives and investigatorsNo data available$54,340

All data from Career One Stop.

Jobs in the Massachusetts Courts

The court system takes over once a suspect is arrested. Judges determine whether cases should go to trial, lawyers (including prosecutors), with the help of paralegals, defend or prosecute suspects who do go to trial, and judges often determine sentences.

CareerCareer Outlook Massachusetts 2018 Median Salary
Paralegals and legal assistants+14%$56,660

All data from Career One Stop.

Careers in the Corrections System of Massachusetts

Corrections is the branch of the criminal justice system that enforces the sentences handed down by the courts. Corrections officers supervise prisons and jails, probation officers oversee those who were found guilty but not incarcerated, and correctional counselors work with offenders to help with rehabilitation and reintegration.

CareerCareer Outlook Massachusetts 2018 Median Salary
Correctional officers and jailers­–8%$69,560
Probation officersNo data available$66,260

All data from Career One Stop.

Criminal Justice Education Resources in Massachusetts

While researching schools, you might benefit from referring to the resources that follow. These organizations can provide the steps for entering a particular field, and sometimes oversee required programs.

Police Officer
The Massachusetts state government page has a section that outlines the steps for becoming a police officer. You’ll find information about the requirements for training, testing, age, and others, as well as an application packet.

State Trooper
You can find information about how to become a state trooper on the Mass.gov website. The site. In addition to requirements, the page has a detailed list of the responsibilities of a state trooper.

Correctional Officer
The Massachusetts Department of Civil Service offers information about becoming a correctional officer. The steps are similar to those for becoming a police officer or state trooper; however, a correctional officer candidate will need to take a correctional officer exam.

Probation Officer
The Mass.gov page for probation officers can initially help you decide whether the career of probation officer is right for you. It describes the duties and working conditions for this career. You will also find information about requirements and exams.

Investigators, Prosecutors, Forensic Scientists
The Criminal Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office investigates and prosecutes a range of criminal cases. Although your educational path will vary depending on the job you are interested in, this site is a useful resource for learning about criminal justice in Massachusetts overall, including the areas of focus within the bureau.

Innovations in Criminal Justice in Massachusetts

In 2018, a new Massachusetts law significantly overhauled the state’s criminal justice system. Massachusetts bill S.2371 removed mandatory sentencing for some low-level drug crimes, made 12 the minimum age a child can be held criminally responsible, and eradicated some records for juvenile and now-legalized crimes, among other things.

No matter what area in criminal justice you want to study, it’s helpful to stay up to date on policies and system reforms that may change the way you do your job.error:SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate

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Main Criminal Justice Governmental Agencies and Entities in Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts has created agencies and other entities to regulate the activities in different areas of criminal justice. Visit the website of each to become more familiar with these important organizations.

  • Office of the Attorney General: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office advocates and acts as a resource for the people of Massachusetts. The office is tasked with protecting consumers, fighting fraud and corruption, investigating and prosecuting crime, and protecting the rights of the citizens of Massachusetts. Jobs within the state Attorney General’s office include paralegals, attorneys, assistant attorneys, prosecutors, and analysts.
  • Criminal Bureau: The bureau is an organization within the Attorney General’s Office. It investigates and prosecutes a wide range of criminal cases that include corruption, fraud, organized crime, major narcotic offenses, insurance and unemployment fraud, and internet crimes. The bureau’s work is supported by a team of state police detectives. Jobs offered within the bureau include assistant attorneys general, paralegals, state police troopers, forensic scientists, and victim witness advocates.
  • Department of Correction: The Department of Correction oversees the state prison system. With 16 institutions across the state, the department provides care, custody, and programming for those in the system to prepare them for safe and successful reentry into the community. Jobs offered within the department include correction officers, correctional program officers, parole officers, and support staff.
  • Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS): DCJIS coordinates state law enforcement information and criminal records systems, as well as the Firearms Records Bureau (FRB) and the post-conviction victim notification program. DCJIS serves law enforcement personnel, crime victims, government entities, private organizations, employers, firearm dealers, firearm license holders, and the general public. This department offers jobs like computer forensic examiner and intelligence analyst.
  • Department of State Police: The Massachusetts State Police is the statewide law enforcement agency. It’s tasked with staffing facilities and maintaining investigative, tactical, and support units throughout the state. The agency has five divisions: Field Services, Investigative Services, Standards and Training, Homeland Security, and Administration and Finance. Police officers must graduate from the State Police Academy to be considered for employment.
  • Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association (MSA): The MSA raises awareness of issues affecting sheriffs’ offices. The MSA holds offices in counties across the state, ensuring consistency and quality of oversight. The position of sheriff in Massachusetts is an elected position, though many sheriffs begin with other careers in law enforcement.
  • Massachusetts Court System: The Massachusetts court system encompasses several different types of courts. Legal cases brought to the state court system will first be heard in one of seven trial courts, and proceed from there. Jobs within the Massachusetts court system include staff attorneys, administrative attorneys, probation officers, and probation case specialists.
  • Juvenile Court Department: The Massachusetts state Juvenile Court Department handles civil and criminal matters statewide that involve children. Cases include youthful offenders, care and protection, adoption, guardianship, termination of parental rights, and delinquency cases, among others. Jobs within the juvenile court system include case specialists, psychiatrists, law clerks, and probation officers.
  • State Police Crime Laboratory (MSPCL): MSPCL is a state agency that provides forensic services for the criminal justice system. Their employees attend to crime scenes, perform laboratory testing, and serve as expert witnesses in court cases. People who work here may include forensic scientists, computer forensics examiners, intelligence analysts, and state police.

Resources for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals in Massachusetts

The following Massachusetts organizations represent various types of criminal justice professions. Use them to find educational resources, job opportunities, and information about networking events.

  • Criminal Justice Policy Coalition: CJPC is a nonprofit organization that works to advance progressive criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. CJPC seeks to establish dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders and advocate for better community protection policies.
  • Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association: The association helps maintain the highest standards of ethics, integrity, community interaction, and professional conduct among police personnel. MCOPA aims to foster greater cooperation among police leaders and organizations and promotes recruitment and training.
  • Massachusetts Coalition of Police: MCOP is the state’s largest law enforcement union. The organization assists and advocates for the welfare of its member police officers.
  • Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts: MACA is a nonprofit representing crime analysts from the Northeastern United States. The organization advocates for effective training, ongoing education, and communication among members to ensure the highest professional standards within the field of law enforcement.
  • Massachusetts Police Association: The MPA represents police officers working in Massachusetts. They provide legislative overviews and advocacy, legal defense, community events, fundraisers, and a scholarship program for children of current or former members of the MPA.
  • The Correctional Association of Massachusetts: CAM is a professional association that provides professional development for people working in all areas of corrections. It has regular meetings that offer networking opportunities and offers two scholarship scholarships.
  • Citizens for Juvenile Justice: CfJJ is a nonprofit advocating for statewide juvenile justice reform. Their work stresses that children and adults are different, and how the state’s justice system should place emphasis on rehabilitation and healthy development for children.

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