25 May 2022


Social Work in Education and Criminal Justice

Format: Other

Academic level: University

Paper type: Coursework

Words: 1063

Pages: 3

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Social workers play an important role in our society. They work with people and families to support them during difficult times and ensure that vulnerable individuals are safeguarded from harm. Essentially, the role of social workers is to provide the necessary help and support with the primary objective of improving outcomes in people’s lives. The social workers usually maintain professional relationships with the members of the community, acting as guides and advocates. At times, the social workers need to use their professional judgment to make tough decisions that may not often be well received by those they are trying to assist. Social workers play a significant role in educational settings. They provide services to students to enhance their general well-being in school. They help in dealing with problems such as discipline, violence, school shootings, drugs, gangs, cheating and harassment. 

Currently, school discipline is a tougher problem than ever. This is because of the nationwide increase in troubled families and disorderly kids. In fact, most schools, particularly those in inner cities, have students who are literally violent felons. Additionally, school principals lack the tools for dealing with such discipline cases because their hands are tied regarding expulsion (Dupper & Montgomery, 2008). Therefore, the social workers help in finding ways to help students with behavior issues and discipline. They also guide teachers on the best classroom management skills. Additionally, the social workers help to plan and implement academic interventions and create manageable academic goals.

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Violence in schools is commonplace and it is widely held to have become a serious problem in educational settings. Violence between school students as well as physical attacks by students on school staff has become a trend in schools (Edmond et al., 2006). Acts of violence can disrupt learning and may affect student safety and performance negatively. Social workers are instrumental in promoting the value of a community approach in aiding troubled students before they act out in violence. This is because mental health issues are chiefly attributed to the increase in violence in schools. The social workers help in screening for mental health concerns and identifying the needed services. This ensures that violence is reduced in schools hence promoting safety in schools. 

School shootings are a major problem in American schools. The increasing cases of bullying and passion for revenge among students may be a contributing factor. The problem is compounded by the easy access to guns by the students. Additionally, mental problems contribute to the problem of school shooting (Teasley, 2004). The social workers play a significant role in prevention of such ugly incidents in schools by helping in identifying and addressing students’ mental health issues early on and help students, teachers and staff deal with problems that may arise, particularly the aftermath of a violent incident. 

Drug use in American schools is currently on the rise. Drug abuse in schools may lead to violence, truancy or even dropping out of school. Social workers play a significant role in dealing with drug abuse in schools by acting as substance abuse educators (Gifford et al., 2010). They help the struggling students by ensuring that they get access to appropriate treatment. 

Gangs have become a growing problem in schools. Such gangs promote racism and violence in schools. Social workers help in working within schools to decrease students’ overall participation in gang activity. The develop programs and activities that help in discouraging students from engaging in gang activity. 

Cheating among students has become a serious crisis in American schools. Cheating affects academic integrity negatively and academic administrators are struggling to thwart it. The social workers work with students to identify the motivations for cheating in order to find appropriate mitigations for such motivations. For instance, low self-esteem may be a motivation and the social workers can help to address the self-esteem issues of the affected students. 

Harassment is prevalent in most American schools. Students harass other students, teachers harass students and to some extent, students harass teachers. Social workers play a significant role in dealing with harassment in schools (Agresta, 2004). They convene groups of stakeholders such as students, teachers and parents as well as religious leaders and discuss the various measures that can be employed in effectively dealing with harassment. 


Edmond, T., Megivern, D., Williams, C., Rochman, E., & Howard, M. (2006). Integrating evidence-based practice and social work field education. Journal of Social Work Education , 42 (2), 377-396.

Dupper, D. R., & Montgomery Dingus, A. E. (2008). Corporal punishment in US public schools: A continuing challenge for school social workers. Children & Schools , 30 (4), 243-250.

Teasley, M. L. (2004). Absenteeism and truancy: Risk, protection, and best practice implications for school social workers. Children & Schools , 26 (2), 117-128.

Gifford, E. J., Wells, R., Bai, Y., Troop, T. O., Miller, S., & Babinski, L. M. (2010). Pairing Nurses and Social Workers in Schools: North Carolina's School‐Based Child and Family Support Teams. Journal of School Health , 80 (2), 104-107.

Agresta, J. (2004). Professional role perceptions of school social workers, psychologists, and counselors. Children & Schools , 26 (3), 151-163.

Social in Criminal Justice

Social workers play a significant role in criminal justice. The growing number of incarcerated Americans as well as the high percentage of recidivism has necessitated a significant increase in the number of diversion programs and services for the incarcerated prisoners and their families (Halliday et al., 2009). As such, the social workers play a crucial role throughout the criminal justice system. They evaluate and testify as expert witnesses in domestic violence, child abuse as well as elder abuse cases. Social workers also provide guidance to the courts in cases involving child custody hence promoting the welfare of children. The social workers work with at risk youths and adults through diversion programs and probations with the objective avoiding the need for incarceration. In addition, the social workers provide clinical and case management services, particularly to victims and perpetrators through the court system (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). They also carry out pre and post-release programs for the prisoners and their families in order to ease the transition to the community and prevent recidivism among former offenders. The criminal justice social workers provide consultation to judges, attorneys, judges and law enforcement, make diagnoses and treatment recommendations as well as serve as mediators. Therefore, they help a victim of crime to easily navigate the complexity of the legal system and obtain justice.

There are various principles utilized by social workers in aiding offenders and their families. These principles include service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence (Clark, 2000). Firstly, social workers elevate service to others above self-interest and help people in need and address social problems. They are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their skills with no expectation of financial returns. Secondly, social workers challenge social justice. They strive to ensure access to needed information, services and resources. They are concerned with equality of opportunity as well as meaningful participation in decision making for all people. Thirdly, social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. As such, they treat every individual in a caring and respectful fashion, with the individual differences and cultural diversity in mind. Fourthly, the social workers recognize the central significance of human relationships. They understand that the relationships between and among people are an important vehicle for change. Fifthly, social workers conduct themselves in a trustworthy manner. As such, they are of their profession’s mission, values, ethical principles and ethical standards. Finally, the social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop their professional expertise.


Halliday, S., Burns, N., Hutton, N., McNeill, F., & Tata, C. (2009). Street‐Level Bureaucracy, Interprofessional Relations, and Coping Mechanisms: A Study of Criminal Justice Social Workers in the Sentencing Process. Law & Policy , 31 (4), 405-428.

Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2010). Rehabilitating criminal justice policy and practice. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law , 16 (1), 39.

Clark, C. L. (2000). Social work ethics: Politics, principles and practice . Macmillan Press.

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