Law Enforcement vs Criminal Justice: Difference and Comparison

Law enforcement and criminal justice are the most misunderstood and interchanged terms.

Even if they are commonly used and heard in practically every case, understanding their differences could be the only solution to assist anyone confronting a court of law or an indictment.

Key Takeaways

  1. Law enforcement involves policing and maintaining public order, while criminal justice encompasses the entire legal system, including courts and corrections.
  2. Law enforcement agencies enforce laws and apprehend offenders, whereas the criminal justice system prosecutes, punishes, and rehabilitates offenders.
  3. Law enforcement care includes police officers and detectives, while criminal justice careers include lawyers, judges, and correctional officers.

Law Enforcement vs Criminal Justice 

Law enforcement refers to the agencies and individuals responsible for enforcing the law, maintaining public order, and protecting citizens. This includes agencies. Criminal justice refers to the system of rules and procedures used to prosecute and punish individuals who commit crimes. This consists of the court system.

Law Enforcement vs Criminal Justice

Law Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to law

1 / 10

A promise made without intention to perform is

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_______ is the agreement of the will of one contracting party with that of another or others, upon the object and terms of the contract

3 / 10

The correct sequence in the formation of a contract is

4 / 10

Tender is an?

5 / 10

A agrees to buy from B a certain house. It turns out that the house was dead at the time of bargain, through neither party was aware of the fact. The agreement

6 / 10

What is the name of the amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees the right to bear arms?

7 / 10

What is a resolution in legal terms?

8 / 10

The headquarters of UNESCO is at

9 / 10

What type of law deals with environmental protection and conservation?

10 / 10

What is the term for a written agreement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law?

Your score is


The investigations and apprehending of a suspect fall under the purview of law enforcement.

They’re the ones who are there from the minute a crime is perpetrated, collecting evidence, analyzing, and ultimately prepping and catching the culprit, regardless of how frustrated they are, and also to escape going to jail.

Criminal justice is bringing persons who’ve already committed these crimes to justice. A multitude of governmental departments within an organization makes up the criminal system.

The retraining of perpetrators, preventing other offences, and spiritual assistance for victims are all goals.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLaw EnforcementCriminal Justice
MeaningCriminal justice is a network of governmental policies and institutions aimed at maintaining control over the masses, discourage and reduce crime, and punish those who break the law through criminal penalties and rehabilitative programs.Criminal justice, on the other hand, includes all security agencies and the procedural components of dispensing justice.
NatureThe essence of law enforcement ties it to those who discover and catch offenders on the spot.The policemen and evecriminal justice ry other enforcement agencies established by the legal system make up law enforcement.
CompositionLaw enforcement, the court system, defense lawyers and solicitors, juries, the attorney’s office, jails, and parole agencies are all part of criminal justice.A career in Law Enforcement field includes Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff, State Tropper, and Drug Enforcement Agent.
CareersOne can deal with offenders (corrections), apprehend criminals (law enforcement), or give justice inside a court of law if their major is in crime control.Law Enforcement has no other goals than maintaining the law in the society.
Other GoalsLaw Enforcement has no other goals than maintaining the law in society.Whereas, Criminal justice also provides emotional and mental support to the victims.

What is Law Enforcement?

Law enforcement is just the practice or action of enforcing a jurisdiction’s legislation. This term is most commonly used to describe the motion of security professionals conducting direct monitoring or patrols to deter criminals from committing crimes.

It can also be seen as a structure in which some people in society systematically execute the country’s law.

Police officers carry out the enforcement (or, more broadly, security forces) and occur when the personnel identify, prevent, retrain, or penalize those who breach the legislation they are enforcing.

Courts, correctional facilities, and prisons are commonly associated with law enforcement. Nevertheless, it is primarily about using physical and specifically trained enforcement organizations to deter and penalize criminal activity.

While law enforcement is primarily responsible for preventing and prosecuting crimes, groups exist to deter a wide range of non-criminal infractions of laws and norms by imposing less severe repercussions such as detention. 

law enforcement

What is Criminal Justice?

Giving justice to those who might have committed a crime is called criminal justice. A criminal justice group comprising numerous government ministries and organizations oversees the delivery.

aimThese bodies and agencies aim to identify and apprehend lawbreakers, followed by the punishment of those who have broken the law.

Other purposes of the criminal justice system include providing moral assistance to victims of illegal activity. This is also in the duty of retraining convicts or violators.

It comprises three primary parts: law enforcement, the judicial framework, and imprisonment, all of which help ensure that the rule of law is followed.

The courts serve as a forum for settling conflicts and administering justice. When it comes to criminal justice, there seem to be a lot of key players in any courtroom. The courtroom team at work, which includes professionals and non-professionals, is critical.

criminal justice

Main Differences Between Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

  1. Whenever a police service is tasked with upholding the rules and preserving personal and government order by the legal use of force, the phrase law enforcement is employed. Criminal justice is a system of governmental legal frameworks aimed at preserving social control, deterring and deterring recidivism, and punishing lawbreakers through criminal penalties and rehabilitation programs.
  2. The essence of law enforcement is those who find and apprehend criminals on the scene. From the other end, criminal justice encompasses all law enforcement agencies and the relevant provisions of justice administration.
  3. Law enforcement is made up of police officers as well as other law enforcement entities that the judicial process has established. Criminal justice includes law enforcement through the court system, defence lawyers and prosecutors, juries, the attorney’s office, imprisonment, and correctional agencies.
  4. Police Officers, Deputy sheriffs, State troopers, and Drug Enforcement agents are all examples of law enforcement careers. If you have expertise in crime control, you can deal with convicts (adjustments), catch criminals (law enforcement), or administer justice in a courtroom.
  5. Law enforcement has no other objective except to uphold the rule of law in the community. On the other hand, criminal justice offers victims emotional and psychological assistance.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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