At Humber College in Toronto, transformation is at the centre of its Policing and Criminal Justice programs. This renewed focus is a result of the challenges faced by many racialized and marginalized communities over the past decade. As technology drives transparency and a collective push for justice, it’s become abundantly clear that law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system needs to change.
Not only do police services and justice departments need to adjust the way they respond to crimes but they also need to adapt to new expectations from their communities. This is why Humber places emphasis on embracing innovation, cross-sector collaboration, workforce transformation and digital initiatives.
“This global transformation goes back to the advancement of technology,” says Jessica Rumboldt, a professor in the Faculty of Social and Community Services at Humber College. “With the internet and social media, there are so many spaces for people to share their experiences and opinions. I think we’re finally recognizing that we need to start incorporating the voices of those with lived experiences rather than lumping all experiences into one group. The criminal justice system needs to change its perspective and provide a space for these voices.”
Like many other professors at Humber, Rumboldt remains active in the field, sharing her experiences with students while providing them with up-to-date information. She is currently completing her postdoctoral degree in Indigenous homelessness at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.
When she’s at Humber, Rumboldt can be found teaching courses on restorative justice. This unique approach seeks to foster reconciliation through the communication between those who have been harmed and those who have taken responsibility for causing the harm. Restorative justice is capable of transforming communities and tackling pressing issues like prison overpopulation and the re-victimization of victims by insensitive court proceedings.
“We need the justice department to adapt and evolve instead of resorting to punishment. This means adopting a comprehensive human rights framework and establishing different standards and ways of criminal justice as a whole,” says Rumboldt.
The Humber Faculty for Social and Community Services encompasses a range of degree and diploma programs in the field of justice services. Students who graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice will be equipped with the skills needed to pursue professions such as a victim services worker, court officer, insurance fraud investigator or policy analyst. Increasingly, graduates of the Criminal Justice degree also continue their education by pursuing graduate and law school degrees.
The Community and Justice Services diploma program is also offered at Humber and graduates can go on to become a community justice worker, border officer or law enforcement officer.
Those interested in the field of policing can gain insight into the profession of policing through the Police Foundations diploma program. Throughout this course, students will focus on crucial topics like police oversight, diversity, and equity, accountability and ethics in policing. This program is offered on a full-time and online part-time basis.
In the Criminal Justice degree, students will gain a thorough understanding of the perspectives of special populations and marginalized groups who come into contact with the criminal justice system. Humber’s Indigenous Peoples and the Criminal Justice System course explores Canada’s colonial legacy and the criminalization of cultural practices, expropriation of land and more.
“I think this curriculum shift stems from the fact that the social positions and living conditions of certain groups has become an area of interest among the public,” she says. “These courses aim to uncover the ways that the Canadian justice system lacks progress, which has influenced the denial of justice for many.”
It’s become crucial that people working within the field of policing and criminal justice can recognize why specific groups are overrepresented and the systemic inequities that have resulted in this reality. Instead of solely responding to violent crimes and driving violations shared over the radio, law enforcement officers must now embrace advanced technology and public opinion.
“There are so many incredible opportunities within the realm of criminal justice where students can push for change and engage with the community in a meaningful way,” says Rumboldt. “Humber graduates can take a social justice approach and work together toward a brighter future. They can really make a positive difference.”
In addition to providing their classes with a breadth of knowledge, the faculty at Humber works to ensure that students are career-ready upon graduation. Many of the part-time and full-time programs available at Humber include a work placement, which helps students gain relevant experience while connecting with other industry professionals.
For more information about Humber’s approach to criminal justice and community services, as well as career opportunities in these fields, visit communityservices.humber.ca.
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