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Michigan Criminal Justice Programs

Cities and towns across Michigan have launched community policing initiatives to foster cooperation between law enforcement and the people they serve. For example, the state police formed a Community Service Troopers squad tasked with public outreach. That’s just one part of sweeping statewide reforms that will impact nearly everyone in the field. Michiganders studying criminal justice will begin their careers with an opportunity to affect that change firsthand.

Criminal Justice Careers in Michigan

Michigan’s vast and sprawling criminal justice system is divided into three branches, each of which relies on the other to function: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. These three broad umbrella groups include many careers within. Each career comes with its own personal and educational requirements, salaries, and responsibilities.

Law Enforcement Careers in Michigan

Law enforcement professionals such as police and state troopers are the tip of the criminal justice spear. They patrol streets, highways, and communities. They’re likely to be among the first people you see at the scene of an accident, emergency, or crime. Their duties include:

  • Conducting investigations
  • Pursuing and arresting criminal suspects
  • Preventing and responding to crime
  • Providing security at events
  • Enforcing court orders and traffic laws
  • Keeping the peace
  • Aiding citizens in distress
  • Enforcing the laws of the state of Michigan

The following table examines the median salary and job outlook over the next decade for some of the most common law enforcement professions.

Career Career Outlook  Annual Median Salary
Police officers +7% $57,690
Private detectives and investigators +9% $50,620

All data from Career One Stop.

Michigan Court System Careers

After they’re arrested and processed by law enforcement, criminal suspects then head to the courts to receive due process. This is where they’re given the opportunity to dispute their charges and plead their cases. Likewise, criminal justice professionals in the courts argue the case of the state and pursue the charges brought by law enforcement. These professionals include prosecutors and their supporting staff, as well as judges, who serve as neutral referees tasked with ensuring procedures are followed and trials are fair.

This table looks at median salaries and job growth projections for popular careers in the courts.

Career Career Outlook  Annual Median Salary
Paralegals and legal assistants +15% $47,420
Prosecutors +7% $94,990

All data from Career One Stop.

Corrections Careers in Michigan

Corrections professionals take responsibility for criminal offenders once they’re found guilty in the courts. In some cases, that means working with those who are incarcerated in a jail or prison. In other cases, corrections professionals are responsible for managing state-ordered criminal supervision, like probation or parole programs. This table looks at the median salaries and job growth projections for the most common corrections professions.

Career Career Outlook Annual Median Salary
Correctional officers and jailers –9% $56,330
Probation officers +5% $64,840

All data from Career One Stop.

Criminal Justice Education Resources in Michigan

Criminal justice is a large and sprawling field with many different career opportunities in Michigan—so many, in fact, that it would be impossible to provide educational resources for all of them. The following list, however, contains resources relating to the most common and most popular criminal justice careers in the state.

  • Corrections: Michigan DOC Training Division
    Careers include corrections officer, parole officer, and probation officer.
    Provides information about standards for new employees, requirements, and the screening and application process.
  • Police officers: Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
    Careers include all types of law enforcement officers.
    Provides general information on becoming a police officer, licensing, minimum selection standards, pre-enrollment physical fitness standards, and required examinations.
  • State police officers: Michigan State Police Careers Page
    Careers include State Police officers, motor carrier officers, state properties security officers, and non-law enforcement civilians.
    Provides information specific to each career, including what each path entails, application requirements, and the hiring process.
  • Justice system: Department of the Attorney General Employment Page
    Careers include attorney, department analyst, legal assistant, legal secretary, paralegal, attorney general investigator, and departmental technician.
    Provides detailed information about each career, including minimum requirements, how to apply, educational standards, and job descriptions.

Innovations in Criminal Justice in Michigan

There are several initiatives that have recently been enacted in Michigan or that are poised to go into effect. These changes could have dramatic implications for criminal justice professionals in the state.

The first deals with civil asset forfeiture, a highly controversial policy that allows law enforcement to seize money, cars, and other assets from citizens without probable cause that a crime has been committed. In 2019 Michigan joined more than a dozen other states in requiring the due process of securing a criminal conviction before assets can be seized. At a bare minimum, this would require retraining of law enforcement professionals, but it could also reduce the resources agencies have at their disposal for hiring and training.

Lawmakers also introduced legislation that would lift the automatic ban on convicted felons receiving state-issued employment licenses. If enacted, it could provide many new employment opportunities in corrections for parole counselors tasked with helping convicted criminals navigate this system. The legislation could affect court professionals as well since individual cases would likely be heard.

Finally, the state is considering sweeping bail and jail reform. Although Michigan’s prison population has declined, the state has seen an enormous increase in the population of its jails, where suspects—who are presumed innocent—are held if they aren’t granted or can’t make bail. This system has long confined poor suspects while allowing those with resources to purchase their freedom while awaiting trial. Bail and jail reform would dramatically decrease Michigan’s jail population, which is likely a root cause for the –9% job growth projections for corrections officers over the next decade.

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Main Criminal Justice Governmental Agencies and Entities in Michigan

The following organizations hire, manage, train, and employ a large number of Michigan’s criminal justice employees across all three branches of the field.

  • Department of the Attorney General: The A.G. is both the top lawyer and the chief law enforcement officer in the state of Michigan. The office is dedicated to safeguarding the public and prosecuting crimes.
  • Department of Corrections: There are two major branches under the Michigan DOC. The Correctional Facilities Administration is charged with running the state’s jails and prisons. The Field Operations Administration runs Michigan’s probation, parole, and other state supervision programs.
  • Michigan State Police: The Michigan State Police provides statewide public safety and law enforcement services. Among its responsibilities are investigating missing persons and children, identity theft, and maintaining the state’s sex offender registry list.

Resources for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals in Michigan

Here’s a look at the organizations that represent and advocate for many of Michigan’s criminal justice professionals. As a student, you can use these resources to network, learn, and get a feel for what these occupations are really like from the people who are living it on the ground.

  • Michigan Association of Police Organizations: With more than 10,000 full-time members, the MAPO is the state’s largest organization representing Michigan law enforcement. It includes members from more than a dozen police groups.
  • Michigan Fraternal Order of Police: The Michigan state lodge of the national FOP consists of more than 10,000 members across 54 lodges in Michigan. One of the strongest voices for police in the state, its members are part of a 345,000-strong national FOP network.
  • Police Officers Association of Michigan: The POAM is a labor union that provides services like grievance processing, negotiations, arbitration, and legislative representation.
  • Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police: This registered nonprofit organizes and advocates for the top-ranking officers of Michigan’s police organizations.
  • Michigan Corrections Association: The MCA represents, provides resources to, and advocates for both the state’s corrections professionals as well as for those working in Michigan’s forensic psychiatric centers.
  • Michigan Sheriffs’ Association: The MSA is the oldest law enforcement organization in the state. It provides training, education, and programs for Michigan’s sheriffs and deputies and for the general public.
  • Michigan State Police Troopers Association: The MSPTA is a labor organization that serves as the exclusive representative of State Police troopers and sergeants in Michigan.

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