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Want to be a criminologist?

education Updated: Jun 20, 2012 17:39 IST
Syed Amir Ali Hashmi
Syed Amir Ali Hashmi
Hindustan Times
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With the increasing population, crime rates in India have increased manifold... Add to this the threat of terrorism, and you find there’s a great need for criminologists in the country. A field that is related to the study of crime and criminals, criminology takes into account the processes that go into the making and breaking of laws and society’s reaction to it.

“Students of criminology study the factors of criminality. The job of a criminologist is to conduct research, teach criminology and also explore and work out ways in which crime can be controlled,” says Meenakshi Sinha, associate professor, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science (NICFS).

In India, says Sinha, criminology is a developing field. As of now criminologists help in sensitising criminal justice functionaries (police, the judiciary, investigation agencies) through training, courses and seminars. “After completing a course in criminology, one can apply for jobs as teachers of criminology, legal studies, law and sociology. There is a requirement for people qualified in criminology in public and private sector companies or social welfare departments dealing with environmental crimes and human rights issues. One can work with NGOs dealing with crime, research organisations and private security agencies,” adds Sinha.

There are a large number of specialisations in this field. An expert in corporate crime, for example, can get a plum corporate job. Someone specialising in environmental crime can work with NGOs and organisations looking into environmental crimes. Banks can also hire criminologists to examine cases of fraud.

A few major areas of interest in this field are causes of crime, prevention of crime, crime statistics, criminal behaviour, penology, evaluation of criminal justice agencies, sociology of law, etc. and criminal careers and desistance.

What’s it about?
Criminology is related to such fields as psychology, sociology and law. Crimes stem from social, psychological and economic situations and factors. A criminologist is trained to understand these factors and can understand the mindset of a criminal. These professionals work towards the prevention of crimes.

However, in India, jobs for criminologists per se are not properly identified. In the US and UK, criminologists work in prisons, investigation agencies, and intelligence and vigilance departments

Clock Work
.
9 am: Leave for office
. 10 am: Study data on crime
. 9 pm: Leave for home

The Payoff
An MA in criminology can find a job with an NGO, teach at university level or work in the corporate world. The pay will depend on the rank. Initially, one can start with a salary of Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 per month

Skills
. Analytical skills
. Data collection should be good
. Good understanding of psychology, sociology and other factors that makes a society
. Ready to work tirelessly as report making might take a toll

How do I get there?
Both undergraduate (BA/B.Sc) and postgraduate ( MA/M.Sc) courses in criminology are offered by various institutes.The basic requirement for getting admission to an undergraduate course is Class XII with either arts or science.

For admission to a PG course, one has to be a graduate with science or arts subjects. You should also have ability to study/analyse data

Institutes
.
Banaras Hindu University,
www.bhu.ac.in
. Lucknow University,
www.lkouniv.ac.in
. University of Madras, Chennai,
www.unom.ac.in
. Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute Of Criminology And Forensic Science (NICFS), New Delhi,
nicfs.nic.in/

Pros & Cons
.

Bottlenecks in the field of research, as sometimes researchers do not have access to proper data.


.

It’s a developing subject in India and not many people are aware of it


.

A criminologist understands the mindset of a criminal and works out ways to prevent crimes, thus helping society

Take it seriously

The study of criminology needs more attention in India, says a teacher

What are the objectives of a criminologist?
His or her work involves analysis of crime, crime patterns and techniques, criminal behaviour, magnitude, nature and frequency of crime, criminal participation and the rate of victimisation, and compares the crime rate in states.

Where are they needed?
There is a need for a criminologist in almost every department that deals with criminals such as prisons, police organisations, the judiciary, investigation agencies, juvenile homes etc. There is a lot of scope in the research and policy-making fields. Here, a criminologist can help in recommending laws that can help in curtailing crimes and in understanding criminal psychology. However, in India, there is hardly any recognition for a criminologist.

What can be done to give this profession a fillip?
Jobs can also be created in the judiciary, prisons, police organisations, the CBI and RAW, etc.

Where can they work?
One can work on projects for BPR&D and UNDP. Then, NGOs, banks and teaching are good options.

Satyam Srivastava, project officer (criminology), Amity University Interviewed by Syed Amir Ali Hashmi

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