- Crisis intervention skills
- Conflict mediation
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Keen knowledge of the law and courts system
- Problem solving ability
- Risk taking orientation
“Criminal justice is a field that requires quick thinking, professionalism, and attention to detail. The following are skills emphasized in criminal justice programs and are essential to a successful career in criminal justice. Many are beneficial in both the law enforcement and corrections sides of this career area.
Communications skills are important in any career, but in a criminal justice environment, they can be the difference between peacefully settling disputes and preventing an escalation into violence. Here is a list of major communications skills critical to this field:
- Active listening, which is giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points made, asking appropriate questions, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Negotiation and the ability to bring others together and to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion to encourage a change in mindset or behavior.
- Speaking to others in a way that conveys information they can understand and act upon.
In addition, reading comprehension and effective writing tools are important for communicating with colleagues, some of whom work in different areas and may not be familiar with one another’s job responsibilities.
Strong social skills are also key in a criminal justice environment. Social perceptiveness is the awareness and understanding of other people’s reactions in a given situation. It can help predict trigger events and plan ahead. The ability to use critical thinking—using logic and reasoning— is an important tool for identifying strengths and weaknesses in tense situations. Similarly, complex problem-solving skills help identify complex problems and effectively review information to develop and evaluate options, and implement the best solutions. Finally, judgment and decision-making skills consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions and choosing appropriate ones.
Other practical skills can be strengthened to maximize success in this field:
- Coordination — Adjusting actions and reactions
- Instructing — Teaching or training others how to do something
- Monitoring — Self-monitoring/self-assessment, as well as other individuals or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people”