Criminology & Criminal Defense
Crime has been a part of the human experience for thousands if not millions of years. In the modern world, that means a wide variety of careers are now available that have something to do with crime or criminals. These typically break down into two major groups: criminology and criminal defense or – more correctly – criminal justice.
Each has some similarities as well as differences, and the individual who chooses one of these careers often needs a particular set of skills and attributes. However, with such wide latitude in the two groups, there is also plenty of room for individual preferences and personal qualities.
Criminology vs. Criminal Defense/Criminal Justice
Criminology in the purest sense is the study of crime, according to Portland State University. It is a social science and many practitioners of criminology are trained in disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and psychology as well as law. The focus of the criminologist is to determine why crimes are committed and how they can be prevented, and on ways to create social responses to crime that are effective and appropriate.
Criminal defense or criminal justice is the field focused on how laws are created and enforced, and how the punishment system works. Criminal justice is related to how the legal system functions. A sociologist who studies how poverty affects criminal behavior is a good example of someone in a criminology-oriented career, while police officers, lawyers or judges are examples of individuals in criminal justice careers.