What's the Difference Between Criminology and Criminal Justice?

All too often, I see questions from people asking, "what's the difference between criminal justice and criminology?" Sometimes it's from job seekers, sometimes it's from people trying to decide on a college major, and sometimes it's just from the curious minded. Whatever the source, it's easy to get confused because the difference are subtle but distinct.

What is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime.

It is a social science and a subset of sociology. Criminologists research, study, analyze and advise on all aspects of deviant human behavior, from the cause of crime to the consequences. The study of criminology informs our understanding of how, why, when and where crime occurs and suggests policies and procedures to respond to and prevent it.

What is Criminal Justice?

Essentially, criminal justice is the application of criminology. Whereas criminology is the study of crime, criminal justice describes the societal response to crime. The criminal justice system is comprised of multiple components that enforce laws, investigate crimes, try and punish criminals and rehabilitate those convicted.

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