Criminal Justice Articles

Top Ten Skills for Criminal Justice Administration

The field of criminal justice administration requires a very specific skill set.  It’s not a position that is meant for everybody and the skills it takes to be effective at it do not all come naturally.  Even though they do not all come naturally to people they can be successful in the role of criminal justice administration by learning how to effectively use the top ten skills that make for an exceptional administrator.

Organization:  There is an old saying that the left hand should always know what the right hand is doing.  That saying is definitely true in the world of criminal justice administration.  People in this field need to be organized and pay attention to detail on a daily basis.

Communication Skills:  In today’s world communication takes place in more ways than ever before.  The most common ways that people communicate professionally are:

  • Email
  • Report
  • Telephone
  • Face to face meeting
  • Text messaging

Thankfully text messaging is not a part of the criminal justice system.  However, email, reports, telephone, and face to face meetings definitely are.  When these meetings are taking place it is critical for the administrator to communicate clearly and precisely.  People should not leave meetings without confidence that they thoroughly understand their directives and missions.

Listening:  Hearing and listening are two different things.  Criminal justice administration is a very difficult job.  It can be made easier by learning effective listening skills.  Many times people are trying to tell you something.  As the administrator, it is up to you to get clarification so you receive the message.

Never Procrastinate:  Procrastination is one of those things that lead to multiple negative factors.  Stress and error are two big ones.  Jobs in this area have little acceptance for stress and practically none for tolerance.

Leadership:  Administrators are in a position of leadership.  That means it is very important to make sure that as a leader you do not let pressures and stress affect you in a way that affects your team.  It is difficult to regain control once your team starts spiraling downward.

Openness:  The best criminal justice administration professionals are open to listening to ideas, suggestions, and perspectives of peers or people under their chain of command.   Solutions are often created by a person who is experiencing something that could be better.  Be open and let the ideas in to help your department shine.

Be Tough:  You can be appreciative and receptive to feedback, input, and criticism but you should never take it personally.  There will never be a perfect justice system because nobody is perfect.  The best solution is to separate personal feelings from professional opinions and stay professional.

Show Fairness:  One of the quickest ways to lose respect from your troops is by showing favoritism to one person.  That type of behavior will often lead to losing a fair perspective on your team and its individuals.  Your job is to be an administrator and not a pal.

Know Answers:  You don’t need to know every answer off the top of your head but as an administrator you should never have that attitude that says, “That’s just the way it is.”  Every procedure, regulation, and practice is in place for a specific reason and stems from an experience.

Understand the importance and where it comes from.  If there is no specific reason the rule is in place there’s a good chance you could incorporate a more logical rule if it make sense.

Confidentiality:  Some business is private and should remain so.  That includes both personal information and professional information.

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