The relationship between local, state, and federal criminal justice systems can be a confusing one sometimes. There are decisions made at the federal level that might carry policy requirements down to the individual city and county institutions while at other times they might be left to create their own policies.
The University of Montana Police Department (UMPD) recently saw this occur when the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated their policies around sexual assault. According to that DOJ and UMPD agreement, the DOJ provided them with recommendations on improvements around sexual assault cases which included reporting, general policies, specialized training for first responders, and many more requirements.
This shows that even if you are not working at the federal level, current events combined with federal regulations can have an effect on what you hare required to know. It can also have an effect on the curriculum being taught in Montana criminal justice courses so that they cover these types of policy changes, etc. As somebody that is entertaining the idea of selecting a criminal justice school, you should also know the state educational breakdown within the population. We have pulled that information for you directly from US census stats:
- 2014 Population Estimate: 1.023 million
- Persons under the age of 18: 22.1 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a high school degree: 92.1 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a bachelor degree: 28.7 percent
Those same statistics show Montana is right in-line with the national average of persons with a bachelor degree (28.8 percent) and actually above the national average for those with a high school degree (86 percent). If the job you wish to some day attain within criminal justice requires a bachelor level degree in criminal justice or you want to be competitive with the job market, you should understand what these state statistics show you.
Criminal Justice Degree Information for Montana
Understanding the big picture of the Montana population related to education is important but understanding what you might expect in the classroom is also very important. We looked at the University of Great Falls (located in Great Falls, Montana) and what they provide potential students information about around their criminal justice major. Here are just a few notes that graduates of their degree can expect to learn according to their website:
- The major is geared towards showing graduates how the overall criminal justice system operates. It would be much more holistic and show the relationships that occur from an agency to agency basis.
- The program will take a long look at the sociological underpinnings of the field which means that you will understand how crime operates from differing demographics and geographic areas.
- Finally, the University of Great Falls criminal justice program will provide an emphasis around the civic duty and helping others aspect of the criminal justice systems. You will analyze how different roles in the criminal justice system have different responsibilities to accomplish that.
While this is a very direct example, you can begin to get an idea of what a criminal justice degree might look like in the state of Montana. While understanding proper policy and police procedure is important, so is understanding the criminal mindset and reasoning to be effective in your future criminal justice role.
Montana Criminal Justice Organizations
We think that we do a good job of providing you information from the 50,000 foot view all the way down to the minute details you can expect to see in the criminal justice degree. We understand though that sometimes firsthand knowledge can really compliment the information we provide you. So we pulled a list of criminal justice organizations in Montana for you:
- Montana Association of Chiefs of Police
- Montana Police Protective Association
- Montana Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association
- Montana Department of Corrections
It is important that if you really want somebody to take the time in one of these Montana organizations to talk to you about their educational path, that you take the time to research whom you should be speaking with. Just sending a generic email thru a contact form might not be enough.
Montana Criminal Justice Careers
If you hare interested in trying to find that perfect criminal justice job in Montana, you first need to understand a few things before jumping right into a career search. We think those things that you need to know include finding out current trends within the state, the agency breakdown across the state (federal agencies included) as well as the future outlook around the criminal justice careers. We have gathered that information for you to make this easier to digest and decide whether a Montana criminal justice career is for you.
As criminal justice is constantly evolving and being discussed on how it should be made more effective, one of the big focal points often stretch to America has troubled youth. Montana has actually launched a Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative that aims to try and curb future incarceration rates by working more closely with troubled juveniles by utilizing the JDAI philosophy. The details are intricate but the philosophy revolves around 8 core principles:
- Data Driven Decisions
- Objective Admissions
- Alternatives to Detention
- Case Processing Reforms
- Special Detention Cases
- Reducing Racial & Ethnic Disparities
- Conditions of Confinement
This is quite a different approach that many have seen in the past which was to punish juveniles in similar manners to adults whereas the JDAI philosophy looks for alternative options to detention (aiming to rehabilitate or prevent future recidivism). We can hat say what is the right way but if you hare considering a career in juvenile detention, items like these are important to know.
Criminal Justice Agencies in Montana
Now you have an idea of the policies and trends that revolve around criminal justice careers but what about the actual places you could potentially work? We have pulled together a list of the number of different agencies to give you an idea of what the number of agencies are across the state of Montana from their criminal justice Wikipedia page.
- 8 state agencies (including the Montana Highway Patrol)
- 54 county agencies
- 52 city agencies
- 7 tribal agencies
- 2 college and university agencies
- 5 airport agencies
Montana is a unique state with some unique terrains and geographical layouts. They also have a rich history of Native Americans within the state so it shouldn hat be a surprise to see tribal agencies listed within the state breakdown. Understanding the different careers that come with different agencies will be your first step to making the right decision in the direction of your career.
Montana Criminal Justice Career Outlook
You have some of the current policy shifts and information about the agency breakdown across the state but we also wanted to touch on what is being anticipated for job growth in the state of Montana around criminal justice. We can hat cover every job so we have selected the Police and Sheriff has Patrol Officers as our example profession to pull this data. Utilizing ONET statistics for Montana we found that the median annual salary for the state in this particular job is $47,400 which is noticeably lower than the national average of $56,800.
Before you jump to conclusions about those numbers, be sure to do research into the cost of living and compare if you hare considering any other locations. Utilizing that same data, we can see that from 2012 to 2022, Montana expects to see a 13 percent growth in projected job openings which is much greater than the national median growth of 5 percent. While there is never a guarantee, often times with explosive growth you can see a lot of potential opportunity for growth (especially if you have the right background and criminal justice degree).
We hope that has helped to better understand the details around a criminal justice degree in the state of Montana. We always recommend doing your own research across several resources but believe our breakdown is one of the quicker ways to understanding what it might take to land a criminal justice job.