Sociology, Psychology and Criminal justice

Sociology is the study of the behaviors of a society. It looks at how specific aspects such as religion, ethnicity, gender, and economic status affect society in general and how the people in a society relate and interact with each other. Psychology studies the human mind. Unlike sociology that studies society in general, psychology studies how the minds of individuals operate. It looks at different aspects such as stress, anger, sadness, and love. Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have committed injustices. Criminal justice systems are government institutions that create and enforce laws. They identify criminals, prosecute, punish and rehabilitate them.

Criminology is a branch of sociology that accesses the causes of criminal behavior in society. Criminologists work closely with psychologists and sociologists to understand the conditions favoring crime to thrive. They access the mental processes of criminals at the individual and societal level. Sociologists and psychologists are also interdependent. Psychologists seek to understand how society affects the mental processes of an individual. Sociologists analyze how mental processes in an individual affect interaction with others.

Criminal justice systems are categorized into various sections; police, courts, and rehabilitative centers. The police are the first contact. After an injustice is committed. The prosecutor reports it to the police. The police make an arrest. The person is later arraigned in court. The court comprises of both professional and non-professional staff. This includes judges, lawyers, and clerks. The accused is allowed to plead guilty or not guilty. A trial process follows. The prosecutor provides evidence against the accused. The defense lawyer defends the accused.

Judgment is given by a judge or a panel of judges. Court cases are faced by several challenges such as bribery and discrimination. Some people argue that the rules in courts discriminate against the layman and reduces courts to a battle between lawyers. According to them, judgments offered are based on the charisma and eloquence of the lawyers, not on the truth.
After the accused is found guilty. He is punished. There are different ways of punishment; monetary, execution and imprisonment. Prisons were established to detain offenders and rehabilitate them. In most prisons, the prisoners are trained new skills that they can use once they are out of prison.

Psychology, sociology and criminal justice are correlated. Sociologists draw information from psychologists to understand how individual mental processes affect social interactions and psychologists seek to understand how social interactions affect the mental processes of individuals. Criminal justice is the provision of justice to criminals.  Criminology is a part of sociology. Criminology entails rehabilitating and punishing criminals. Criminologists work with both sociologists and psychologists to look at what causes crimes at the individual level and in society. They analyze the factors that make it easy for crime to thrive.


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Hagan, Frank E., and Frank E. Hagan. Research methods in criminal justice and criminology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.

Taylor‐Gooby, Peter, and Jens O. Zinn. “Current directions in risk research: new developments in psychology and sociology.” Risk Analysis: An International Journal 26.2 (2006): 397-411.


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