Criminal Justice Career Values

Career Values

Though we might tend to equate criminal justice with punishment and authority, a successful criminal justice system is characterized by a number of optimistic values.

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Unfortunately a select few criminal justice professionals do not hold these morals. But those professionals working in law enforcement, correctional, judicial and legislative systems, who serve as positive role models, embrace these ideals.

If you are wondering whether you should complete an educational program towards a criminal justice career, consider how important the values listed below are to you.


  • Equality refers to everyone (no matter their race, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability etc.) having fundamental human rights and being treated fairly, with impartiality and respect.


  • All branches of the criminal justice system strive to protect society from offenders who have or could commit crimes that harm a person’s safety or their property.
  • Protection under the legal justice system also can come in other forms, such as protecting innocent individuals who have been wrongfully convicted (where uncovering the truth is ideally a paramount goal).

Access to Justice

  • “Upholding the laws of the United States is the solemn responsibility entrusted to us by the American people,” states The U.S. Department of Justice describing its core value Equal Justice Under the Law. “We enforce these laws fairly and uniformly to ensure that all Americans receive equal protection and justice under the law.”
  • Consider that all suspects have the equal right to a fair trial, as well as other due process concepts.


  • Integrity refers to honesty and abiding by ethical or moral principles.
  • Criminal justice professionals are expected to exhibit integrity through showing respect to everyone they deal with, through upholding the integrity of the law and through carrying out their professional duties in an open, correct and truthful manner.
  • For example, a detective coercing a confession or a corrections officer using excessive force are not demonstrating integrity.

Are these values important to you?

How else may they be interpreted?

What criminal justice values are we missing?

Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you?