Criminal Justice vs Criminology: Difference and Comparison

Law has become an indispensable part of our lives. It is necessary to ensure harmonious coexistence in society. Several fields assure the integrity of the laws within a country.

Criminal Justice and Criminology are two distinct fields related to law enforcement.  While the two may seem similar, they have considerably different characteristics.

Key Takeaways

  1. Criminal justice concerns the legal system and how it responds to crime.
  2. Criminology is concerned with the causes and consequences of crime.
  3. Criminal justice focuses more on practical applications, while criminology is more theoretical.

Criminal Justice vs Criminology 

The difference between criminal justice and criminology is that the criminal justice system ensures law enforcement and punishment of the non-conformers of the law. In contrast, criminology studies the societal aspect of a crime. It conducts detailed research and investigation to analyse why a particular crime took place and its effects on society. 

Criminal Justice vs Criminology

Criminal Justice is the culmination of the laws, institutions, and procedures that occur before, after or during a crime.

A criminal justice official must be prepared to work in any of the numerous agencies of crime and law enforcement. Additionally, the criminal justice system follows a law enforcement procedure for the punishment of criminals. 

Criminology refers to the aspect of psychology that deals with the societal impacts of a crime.  Criminologists are not engaged in solving one case at a time. Instead, they look at multiple criminal offences and analyse the behaviour of the defendants.

The word criminology draws its origin from the Latin word crimen, meaning accusation. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCriminal Justice Criminology 
DefinitionCriminal Justice refers to the provision of justice to those individuals who have committed criminal activity. Criminology is a branch of psychology that deals with crime from a social perspective. 
Career PathsThe career paths in criminal justice include correctional officers, detectives, police, probation officers, and wardens. The career paths in criminology include ATF agent, victim advocate, DEA agent, CIA agent, researcher, corporate security specialist, homeland security agent, and INS agent.
Number of CasesCriminal Justice System works on one case at one time.  Criminology works on multiple cases at one time. 
FocusThe Criminal Justice System focuses on the law enforcement system. Criminology focuses on the sociological and psychological perspective of criminal activity. 
Ideal/ThoughtThe system follows two ideals: criminals, such as an attorney, have certain rights, and the court should punish criminals following a set procedure.There are three major schools of thought in criminology: the Positivist School, Chicago School, and Classical School.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal Justice refers to the provision of justice to those individuals who have committed criminal activity. There are three main parts of the criminal justice system.

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These include agencies of law enforcement like the police, courts and accompanying defence lawyers and prosecution, and agencies of imprisonment such as jails. 

Criminal Justice refers to the practical application of criminology. It consists of several branches and departments that take into account the practices of criminology.

The career paths in criminal justice include correctional officers, detectives, police, probation officers, and wardens. Additionally, career paths in criminal justice and criminology may sometimes overlap. 

In the criminal justice system, the defendant comes into contact with the police officers at first. Then, the defendant is presented in the court, where the case evaluation takes place, and justice is served.

If found guilty, the defendant is then jailed or put into rehabilitation centres as ordered by the court. Moreover, the administration of punishment takes various forms in practicality. 

In conclusion, criminal justice is the culmination of the laws, institutions, and procedures that occur before, after or during a crime.

The system follows two ideals: criminals have certain rights, such as an attorney, and the court should punish criminals following a set procedure. Thus, the criminal justice system ensures punishment to the non-conformers of the law. 

What is Criminology?

Criminology is a branch of psychology that deals with crime from a social perspective. It studies the occurrence of crime and its cause and impact on society.

The main aim of criminology is to conduct a detailed analysis of why a particular crime occurs. The word criminology draws its origin from the Latin word crimen, meaning accusation. 

 It depends on extensive research conducted by political scientists, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists, psychiatrists, social anthropologists, biologists, and law scholars. Some criminologists also study the behavioural patterns of potential criminals.

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They are responsible for conducting in-depth research and investigation before making conclusions. 

Criminology includes the study of several concepts. Some of the examples are studying the nature of crime and criminals, social response to crime, and the functioning of law enforcement agencies.

There are three prominent schools of thought in criminology: the Positivist School, Chicago School, and Classical School.

Criminologists play a vital role in the provision of justice to criminals who are not guilty.

The career paths in criminology include ATF agent, victim advocate, DEA agent, CIA agent, researcher, corporate security specialist, homeland security agent, and INS agent. In conclusion, criminology studies various aspects of a committed crime.

Main Differences Between Criminal Justice and Criminology

  1. Criminal Justice refers to the provision of justice to those individuals who have committed criminal activity. On the other hand, criminology is a branch of psychology that deals with crime from a social perspective. 
  2. The Criminal Justice System focuses on the law enforcement system. In contrast, criminology focuses on criminal activity’s sociological and psychological perspectives.
  3. The career paths in criminal justice include correctional officers, detectives, police, probation officers, and wardens. On the other hand, the career paths in criminology are ATF agent, victim advocate, DEA agent, CIA agent, researcher, corporate security specialist, homeland security agent, and INS agent.
  4. The system follows two ideals: criminals, such as an attorney, have certain rights, and the court should punish criminals following a set procedure. Conversely, there are three prominent schools of thought in criminology: the Positivist School, Chicago School, and Classical School.
  5. The Criminal Justice System works on one case at one time. In contrast, criminology works on multiple cases at one time. 
Difference Between Criminal Justice and Criminology
References
  1. https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/abstractdb/AbstractDBDetails.aspx?id=186177 
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=JVB3AAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=criminology&ots=mOLhr6HUBd&sig=aspsh6_CdrVpR46b-CyNuTlB6aI  

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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12 thoughts on “Criminal Justice vs Criminology: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Understanding the main differences between criminal justice and criminology is essential in appreciating their distinct roles in the legal system.

    Reply
  2. The main differences outlined between criminal justice and criminology provide a comprehensive understanding of their unique focuses and applications.

    Reply
  3. This article provides a comprehensive overview of criminal justice and criminology, highlighting their significance and functions.

    Reply
  4. The clear comparison between criminal justice and criminology is very beneficial in understanding the focal aspects of each field.

    Reply
  5. The distinction between the career paths in criminal justice and criminology provides valuable insights into the diverse nature of each field.

    Reply
    • I found the explanation about the criminal justice system very informative in understanding the practical application of criminology.

      Reply
  6. This article provides a detailed differentiation between criminal justice and criminology, outlining their functions and significances.

    Reply

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