2 minute read

Careers in Criminal Justice: Corrections

Corrections, Probation, And Parole, Careers In Jails And Correctional Institutions, Careers In Probation And Parole

The criminal justice system is composed of the agencies of police, courts, and corrections. The corrections system, representing the community's response to suspected and convicted juvenile and adult offenders, is a significant component of criminal justice. Corrections agencies, operating at local, municipal, state, and federal levels, include jails, prisons with varying degrees of security, and a wide array of quasi-institutional as well as community-based programs. Among the most frequently applied community-based programs are probation, parole, and halfway houses, easing the transition of offenders from prison or jail to the community. Recent rapid expansions of intermediate sanctions have provided corrections with a widening range of community-based options. They include home detention, electronic monitoring, intensive supervision probation and parole programs, restitution, community service, substance abuse monitoring, fines, day reporting programs, shock incarceration, and regimented discipline programs more commonly known as boot camps. Juvenile corrections programs operate on the parens patriae principle, under which local, state, and federal jurisdictions assume responsibility for juveniles in order to protect "the child's best interest." As such, it is the role of juvenile corrections to "treat" and "help" the children in their charge, whether they are "dependent and neglected," in "need of supervision," or deemed "delinquent." By contrast, the penal sanctions imposed on convicted adult offenders serve a multiplicity of purposes ranging from deterrence and incapacitation to punishment and rehabilitation.

Even though people are the most effective resource for helping offenders and for effecting crime control and crime reduction, they remain underutilized and, for the most part, inappropriately applied in corrections. Major manpower problems range from a continuing shortage of specialized professional personnel, to poor working conditions, to unsound utilization of available human and scarce fiscal resources. Of all the components of criminal justice, the corrections system suffers the poorest image and is characterized by mission conflict. System fragmentation is yet another serious problem. Given the multiplicity of overlapping but seldom intercommunicating agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, planning, resource allocation, restructuring, and standardization have been next to impossible. As a result of these problems, correctional manpower has developed haphazardly. There has never been a national manpower strategy, nor has there been a systematic study of correctional employment. It is the purpose of this article to discuss the historical development of correctional careers, to describe the current job market and job requirements, and to review employment conditions for workers in correctional institutions, probation, and parole. Additional topics of discussion are career development and opportunities, salaries, and unionization in the professions.


Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law