Pursuing and Navigating a Career in Criminal Justice

Author(s): Michael Pittaro

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2021

Pages: 168


Details: Electronic Delivery EBOOK | 180 days |


Pursuing and Navigating a Career in Criminal Justice is a practical, “must-have” book for those considering a career in criminal justice as well as providing helpful advice and guidance to those already working in the profession who may be confronted with the widely unaddressed realities associated with burnout, suicidal thoughts, posttraumatic stress disorder, poor coping mechanisms, and a withering ability to continue effectively safeguarding our physical and emotional wellbeing. More specifically, this book provides “real-life” guidance and insight into pursuing a career in criminal justice along with successfully navigating the foreseen and unforeseen challenges of working with today’s criminal offenders, crime victims, citizens, colleagues, administrators, and the media.  It is undeniably one of the most comprehensive books available authored by Dr. Michael Pittaro, a highly respected criminal justice professor with nearly 40 years of field, supervisory, teaching, and training experience, including serving internationally as a highly sought after out subject matter expert.

Dr. Pittaro takes readers on an insightful journey working alongside criminal offenders with extensive histories of addiction, mental illness, sexual deviance, and a host of reprehensible acts of violence. Having always been fascinated with understanding the “why” to so many questions about crime, criminality, and victimization, Dr. Pittaro chose to pursue a career in higher education to provide answers to those questions. He has helped thousands of undergraduate students pursue their dream careers by taking on a no holds-barred approach to teaching by “keeping it real” in explaining the pros and cons of working within this profession. Dr. Pittaro strongly believes that teaching and training should not rely exclusively on research but also augmented with real-life experiences from those who work or have worked in criminal justice. This book is intended provide you with what you need to enter the criminal justice workforce with an emphasis on the so-called “soft skills” to not only excel and move up through the ranks, but also help in understanding and explaining what you must do to survive (literally and metaphorically) in a profession that can quite demanding and dangerous.  

Each chapter includes valuable input from Dr. Pittaro along with advice and guidance from well-respected criminal justice professionals working in law enforcement, corrections, probation, parole, and other public safety professions based on the lessons they learned in their careers. The passages within each chapter are filled with “real-talk” from those who have “walked the walk” working the frontlines along with indispensable constructive advice and guidance from today’s criminal justice leaders.   

Chapter 1 – Everyone has a story, so here’s my story

Chapter 2 – Advice and guidance when searching for a career in criminal justice

  • Criminal justice career opportunities
    • Local government
    • State government
    • Federal government
    • Nonprofit sector
    • Private, for-profit sector

             How to find a position in criminal justice

  • Professional organizations / Networking
  • Social media
    • Using social media to your advantage
      • Linked
  • Volunteering
    Professional References
  • Variety / diversity of professional references
  • Consider the source before requesting a recommendation letter
  • Schooling and employment histories matter
    • ALL Past Employers could become references
    • High school teachers could become references
    • College professors could become references
  • Recommendation letters
    • Who should you contact?
    • What you should have them include in the letter
  • Resumes
    • What to include and exclude on a resume

Chapter 3 – Experience and Education: Why they matter

  • Education beyond a high school degree
    • Associate vs. bachelor’s degree
    • Choosing a major or dual-major
    • Do you also need a minor and/or a concentration? If so, in what?
    • University accreditation: National v. regional and why it matters
    • Tolerance / multiculturalism
    • Open-mindedness, critical thinking, improved interpersonal communication skills
    • Lateral transfers / promotions
  • Work Experience
    • Why you shouldn’t dismiss prior / current employment unrelated to criminal justice
    • How to leverage prior / current employment related to criminal justice to future career goals
      • Stepping-stone positions
  • Military experience
    • Advantages
    • Honorable vs. dishonorable discharge
    • DD214

Chapter 4 – The long, drawn-out, exhaustive pre-employment process

  • Now that you’ve found a position that interests you, it’s time to apply for the position
  • The application
  • Paper v. online
  • The written exam
    • Study guides / courses
    • Passing score: Why your ranking score is important

           The oral interview(s) – What do you bring to the table?

  • Panel interviews
  • Multiple interviews
  • What to wear and not wear
  • What to say and not say
  • Nervousness is normal but keep your composure and exude confidence
  • Know the job you’re applying for, know the organization, and know your interviewer(s)
  • Background investigation
    • Collecting and storing important documents commonly requested by background investigators
    • Be prepared to disclose everything.
    • Unearthing and acknowledging the skeletons in the closet
    • Privacy – does not exist during the background investigation stage.
  • Polygraph evaluation
    • Common areas of interest
    • Lying / omitting can and will have a detrimental impact on future career opportunities.
  • Psychological evaluation
    • Current state of mind
    • Overanalyzing each question
  • Medical evaluation
    • Pre-existing conditions
    • Correctable
    • Psychiatric / psychological diagnosis / medication disclosure
  • Drug screening
    • Hair, blood, and/or urine testing
    • Alcohol usage
    • Illicit v licit substances
      • Misusing prescriptions
  • Physical fitness assessment
    • Do not wait - Start getting ready now
    • Strive to exceed all minimum qualifications
  • Driving record
  • Financial records

Social media scrutinization

  • Red flags concerning what you post / like on social media / groups
  • Suggested taboo topics to avoid
  • Pictures – subject to interpretation by background investigators
    • Acceptable v nonacceptable pictures

       Conditional employment letter

  • Don’t quit your day job, just yet

Chapter 5 – The academy and probationary period – what to do and not do

  • Hone your interpersonal communication skills
    • Writing and communicating are skills that are improved with practice.
  • Your personal life is no longer personal.
  • Everything you say and do can be used against you
  • Follow the Chain of Command
  • Rely on Your Training
  • When in doubt, ask questions.
  • De-escalation – use your words
  • Rely on your training
  • If it doesn’t seem right, it’s likely not.
    • Your intuition
  • Ethical boundaries / moral compass
  • Interpreting body language
  • The importance of self-regulation
    • Always remain in control of your words, behaviors, and actions
  • Continuing education – keeping up with changes
  • Whining and complaining – don’t be that person
  • Stay away from and out of drama
  • Report early – not on time
  • The importance of documentation
    • Specific
    • Factual
    • Choice of words
  • Physical dangers
  • Communicable diseases

Chapter 6 - Complacency, morality, and ethics

  • Complacency – The bad “C” word
  • Morality
  • Ethics
  • Confidence
  • Mindful of manipulation, deception, and trickery
  • Avoid toxic relationships
  • Professionalism on and off the job

Chapter 7 – Emotional Intelligence – Why it’s Important.

  • The five components
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-regulation
    • Social kills
    • Empathy
    • Motivation
  • Embracing the soft skills

Chapter 8 – Stress / Burnout: They may seem relentless but they’re controllable

  • Burnout
    • Signs / symptoms
    • Importance of mental self-care
  • Stress
    • Acute, eustress, and chronic stress
    • Physical impact
    • Emotional impact
    • Social / Relational impact

Chapter 9 – Depression / posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Signs / Symptoms
    • Emotional
    • Physical
  • Minimizing Burnout
    • Emotional
    • Physical
  • Therapy / Medication

Chapter 10 – Self-Destructive, Negative Coping Strategies

  • Excessive / problem-drinking
  • Prescription drug misuse
  • Illicit drug use
  • Projected aggression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Corruption

Chapter 11 - Positive Physical Coping Mechanisms

  • Physical exercise
  • Diet / nutrition
  • Hobbies

Chapter 12 – Positive Psychological / Emotional Coping Mechanisms

  • Resiliency strategies
    • Change the narrative
    • Face your fears
    • Practice self-compassion
    • Meditate
  • Emotion-focused coping skills
  • Mindfulness
  • Humor
  • Spirituality
  • Communication
  • Hobbies

Chapter 13 – Transformational Leadership Practices

  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Individualized consideration
  • Inspirational motivation
  • Idealized influence

Transformational leadership using emotional intelligence

Why mentors are important

Chapter 14 – Concluding Chapter

Michael Pittaro

Dr. Michael Pittaro is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice with American Military University. Before pursuing a career in higher education, Dr. Pittaro worked in corrections administration; has served as the Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol facility; and as Executive Director of a crime prevention agency. He has been teaching for the past 19 years while also serving internationally as an author, editor, and subject matter expert. Dr. Pittaro holds a BS in Criminal Justice; an MPA in Public Administration; and a PhD in criminal justice. He resides in Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania with his wife, Christina, and their 5 children.

Related ISBN's: 9781792465116, 9781792484094




ISBN 9781792465116

Details Electronic Delivery EBOOK 180 days