Communication Skills Essay

409 WordsFeb 2, 20122 Pages
Effective communication, interaction, and interpretation of conveyed messages are vital for the criminal justice system to function effectively. Misunderstandings, conflict, and undue stress are but a few of the negative outcomes associated with ineffective social interaction. Erving Goffman earlier commented on the intricacies of social interaction. Among other contributions, Goffman stressed the importance of self-awareness, stigmas, and the significance of impression management in social interactions. Goffman has contributed largely to the study of human interaction. Those working within the criminal justice system face continuous challenges in understanding, interpreting, and responding to individuals from various groups. These groups are not limited to those accused of breaking the law; the criminal justice system is composed of employees from all walks of life. Needless to say, those working within the criminal justice system must maintain a true appreciation for cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity. Anything less could result in misunderstandings and/or conflict. Communication occurs in many ways. For instance, facial expressions, body posture, verbal expressions, and hand gestures are part of many communication exchanges. Professionals, especially those working in the criminal justice system, must maintain the ability to effectively control various aspects of their communication efforts if they wish for others to accurately interpret the meaning of their message. Further, accurately interpreting the messages sent by others requires skills and abilities that extend beyond merely hearing words and understanding their literal meaning. Symbolism is present throughout the criminal justice system, from the badges worn by police officers to the gowns worn by judges in the courtroom. Symbolism extends beyond material objects when, for

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