While the recession KO’d some industries entirely, other fields are showing staying power in the twelfth round. One of these is criminal justice.
According to a March 20 Wall Street Journal article entitled “More Ex-Cons on the Streets, Fewer Jobs,” many states that are struggling to make their budgets are releasing prisoners from their sentences early. These states are finding it’s less expensive to rehabilitate criminals outside of prison rather than in, and are therefore taking those savings and applying them to criminal rehabilitation programs.
The result is that opportunities for probation officers and correctional treatments specialists, two groups that work to help offenders succeed, are growing rapidly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19 percent growth in these fields through 2018, or faster than average.
If you’re interested in the criminal justice field and want a job where you can make a difference, here are details on these growing opportunities (and how to get started).
Correctional Treatment Specialists
Correctional treatment specialists, known also as case managers or correctional counselors, work with offenders in jails, prisons, and on the streets. They monitor their progress, plan education and training programs to develop their job skills, and help them find ways to cope with psychological issues (such as anger management, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse). Correctional treatment specialists may work closely with probation and parole officers to ensure an offender’s success once he or she completes the sentence.
Both probation and parole officers work with citizens who have been convicted of breaking the law. They work with these individuals, their families, and their neighborhood organizations to help them become productive members of society and stay in compliance with the law and the terms of their probation or parole. The main difference between the two is that parole officers work with offenders who have been released from prison, while probation officers work with those who have received probation as a sentence.
Another career that’s an important part of this system is the role of the correctional officers. While offenders are serving time in prison, jail or other correctional facilities, they are supervised and monitored on a daily basis by correctional officers. These professionals work in a tough environment that can be great preparation for other careers in law enforcement.
Both of these positions usually require a bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, psychology, or related field. To find out more about criminal justice degrees and schools offering these programs, visit our criminal justice degree programs page.