I appreciate this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself, my career aspirations, my educational plans, and what admission to the Master of Criminal Justice Program at the New Mexico State University would mean to me. For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in a career in criminal justice. When I was a younger, I wanted to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); however, that window of opportunity has now been closed by my age. Nevertheless, my career goals are to work as a probation officer and teach Criminology at a community college. To accomplish this, I hope to spend the next two years earning a graduate degree at Mexico State University.
When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go directly into college; however, a number of factors precluded this from happening. During those years when I was unable to attend college, I never lost focus on the possibility of attending college in the future. Fortunately, I was afforded this opportunity later in life and seized that opportunity. I began my college career in 2010 and am proud to say I have finished my AA and BSCJ (Summa cum laude) in just over 2 years.
My ambition to enter the probation field stems from my desire to protect the community and help facilitate the rehabilitation process while ensuring that individuals convicted of crimes are held accountable to their court ordered supervision. I believe that supervision of clients is the key to keeping our community safe. I also feel that while the monitoring of accountability is a critical component of a probation officers job, it is also important to help offenders regain a standing in the community, whether this is accomplished by assisting in the location of a job, arranging a place to live, or simply offering to assist by any reasonable method. I believe that the well-being of the community and of the offender go hand-in-hand because a well-adjusted person with a job, a place to live and other support from the community and from the Criminal Justice System is less likely to commit another crime.
Teaching is another avenue by which I can help others to achieve their goals and ambitions. The potential value and benefits of a college education are proven to be enormous. Though estimates vary, college graduates can expect to earn significantly more than non-college graduates over the course of a lifetime. In addition, a college degree opens more doors of opportunity, giving the graduate more career choices, more control over his/her future and potentially a more positive outlook on life. The more advanced the degree, the greater the opportunities and benefits. Also, the acquisition of a degree is evidence of commitment and persistence in accomplishing a goal; understanding and fulfilling all the course requirements for a degree takes intelligence, focus, determination and ability, all of which show valuable qualities in the workplace and in life. The personal satisfaction of achievement and the gratification and the rewards reaped is another intangible benefit. Finally, a college education opens new worlds of learning that the graduate can pursue as a student of life.
There are many factors that have motivated me to continue to further my college education at this time. Some of them are selfish and some of them are altruistic. I see this as a chance to grow both personally and intellectually. Like everyone else, I have needs. Besides the basic needs such as shelter, food, security, a sense of belonging, and self-worth, I also desire to learn new things, realize my potential, and help others reach theirs. Higher education, particularly the Master of Criminal Justice Program offered by New Mexico State University, is an opportunity to fulfill these needs.
I understand that my quest for this degree will not be without obstacles, however, I feel confident that I will overcome them and achieve my goals. I am highly motivated, as evidenced by my past performance in life, work and academics, and I do not want to come to the end of my life with the regret of wondering what might have been. I appreciate the enormity of this endeavor, especially when measured with the other responsibilities I have at this time in my life; however, I have no reservations about my ability to get the job done.
As you can see from my life, goals and qualifications, the Masters of Criminal Justice Program offered by New Mexico State University would be the ideal program for me. Your mission statement stressing the importance of an interdisciplinary social science approach to Criminal Justice is completely in line with my own vision of productively working within that System. As you will see from my opinion about the change most needed in the Criminal Justice System, I am focused on the interdisciplinary problems and solutions that must be addressed across America's very complex Criminal Justice System. It certainly appears from reading about New Mexico State University's Program that the University's approach to Criminal Justice has developed an interdisciplinary approach due to its half-century of experience with all aspects of the System. This well-established and thorough approach to higher education is also in line with my views and goals as a future probation officer/teacher. As I stated earlier in this essay, I believe that the well-being of the community and the well-being of the offender go hand-in-hand and involve many aspects of life; consequently, the needs of the community and of the offender require an interdisciplinary approach by judges, attorneys, probation officers, educators and the community at large.
One important facet of working productively within the System is dedication to continual improvement of the Criminal Justice System. Since no area of the Criminal Justice System is perfect, every area can be improved. I understand that in order to improve the system, I must learn from others; consequently, I have taken the liberty of researching the topics that Criminal Justice experts believe to be the most pressing topics facing the Criminal Justice System. According to my research of Criminal Justice websites, journal articles and books, perhaps the most needed improvement is the System's institutionalized assistance in breaking the cycle of substance abuse in America. On a daily basis, all levels of the Criminal Justice System must deal with either substance abuse charges or related problems such as thefts committed to obtain drug money, domestic abuse by drug abusers and probation violations by failed drug tests. As a result, the System is forced to deal with the significant impact of drug abuse in the United States. It appears that Criminal Justice experts are determined to break the cycle of substance abuse in our Nation in order to handle all the drug/alcohol-related problems faced by the System.
Through decades of intelligent observation and practice, the System is gradually realizing that merely punishing substance abuse offenders is an ineffective method of dealing with the substance abuse cycle. Consequently, the System must pay closer attention to the science of addiction and institutionalize methods of dealing with addiction throughout the System. This comprehensive view involves several measures in addition to merely sentencing substance abusers to jail. I am presenting these suggestions in no particular order of importance because I believe that they are all important. First, the System should require system-wide continuing education of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police, probation officers and all other members of the Criminal Justice System about the science of addiction. Though many members of the Criminal Justice System are very intelligent and educated, Science keeps exploring and discovering new facts about addiction; consequently, members of the Criminal Justice System should be required to keep up with the latest knowledge about drug/alcohol addiction. Secondly, the educators and the members of the Criminal…