Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Writing in Justice Administration

by Dr. BC Franson

Students should care about writing because it represents how they are viewed by their superiors.  Correction agents and law enforcement officers writing will be viewed by lawyers and judges and can determine the freedom of an individual. Writing is valuable because each player within the justice system has a role to play and to communicate what has happened to the court there is some type of writing that must be completed.  

Types of writing in Justice Administration

Many of the documents written in the criminal justice field are reports – practical accounts of events.  Other documents would rely on using scholarly sources to make an argument.  Most of the writing is digital now with the court system in MN being fully on line.

Examples include: 

  • Corrections: many reports such as bail studies, Pre-Sentence Investigations (PSI), probation violations.  Upper management would have to write grants or proposals to local government, also policies and procedures.
  • Law Enforcement: police reports.  Upper management would have to write grants or proposals to local government, also policies and procedures.
  • Court Personnel: varied reports.

Writing in the Justice Administration classroom

For corrections the students write a PSI.  For law enforcement they write police reports and comparison papers looking at two sides of an issue.  For criminal law they write a complaint (which is a charging document written by prosecutors which is directly linked to a police report).  For our introduction course we have students write crime reports trying to get them to think critically about what information is included and what is missing in a standard news report.  In our management course we have students write resumes, cover letters of their own and literature reviews.

These documents are some of the same reports they will write in their employment and if they are not writing them they are reading them and they should understand the purpose and connection each report has to the other.  

Overall, students should be able to write to a level where they can use scholarly sources to make an argument that change needs to occur. This could revolve around the need for an agency to secure funding, the need to get authority from a higher level to make systematic change or just explain what their agency has done and why.   


Justice Administration: Disciplinary Perspective

Reading in Justice Administration

Research in Justice Administration

Documentation in Justice Administration