The Criminal Justice Field of Practice (FOP) is characterized by social work practice in the juvenile
justice system and the adult criminal justice system. The FOP strongly supports the criminal justice
system dual focus on public safety and public health. This dual focus on public safety and public
health is consistent with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Article 3. Everyone has
the right to life, liberty and security of person. The Criminal Justice FOP is designed for students
interested in providing social work services to offenders, and victim and survivors. It prepares social
workers to provide primarily micro level interventions to these criminal justice-involved
populations. The goals of this specialization are to prepare social workers to balance rehabilitation
and retribution, treatment and punishment, and understand the relationships between reentry
and homelessness, reentry and public health, and criminal justice and health and mental health,
among others. Elective course allow students a great deal of flexibility to focus on learning needs
and areas of specialization within the criminal justice system such as substance abuse, health, mental
health, trauma-informed care, cognitive behavior therapy; and special populations such as youth,
women and older offenders.
Range of Clientele: Any individual(s) who has criminal justice system involvement, specifically with
one or more of the four components of the criminal justice system: legislation, law enforcement,
courts and/or corrections. Criminal justice-involved populations can be youth, adults, individuals,
families or groups.
Field Placement Opportunities:
Field placements will provide experiential learning specific to the role of social work in the criminal justice system. Field placements range from: (1) criminal justice settings such as courts and corrections, (2) agencies that provide social services primarily to criminal justice-involved populations; and (3) agencies that serve a wide variety of populations including some that have criminal justice involvement. In this way, students can concentrate on their learning needs and type of setting they prefer for specialization.