The number of inmates in the nation’s jails and prisons is skyrocketing, according to a report in the New York Times. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported 1. million state and federal inmates in 2017, up from 488,000 in 1985. The cost of convicting and incarcerating offenders reached an all-time high of $167 billion in 2017. In order to control the rising cost of the correctional system, professionals with a criminal justice degree are serving as probation officers or correctional treatment specialists, helping offenders successfully rehabilitate back into society.
What is a Probation Officer?
As opposed to the punitive role of police officer, jobs with a criminal justice degree can be focused on helping offenders function successfully in society. Probation officers supervise offenders who have been placed on probation rather than being sentenced to prison. A professional with a degree in criminal justice who chooses to be a probation officer will often meet with the offender and his or her family in their home, or at the offender’s place of employment. A probation officer may also arrange for the offender to receive therapy, substance abuse counseling, or job training.
What is a Correctional Treatment Specialist?
Whereas a probation officer works with offenders in an attempt to keep them out of prison, a correctional treatment specialist works with offenders while they are in prison or in a parole agency in an attempt to prepare them to re-enter society without becoming a repeat offender. A professional with a degree in criminal justice who chooses to become a correctional treatment specialist typically creates a plan of treatment for each of his or her cases, and provides education and training programs as needed. Required Education for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Each state has specific requirements to become a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. Most states mandate a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or social work. Candidates may also be required to pass a written examination, psychological test, and physical assessment.
Many schools are now offering a criminal justice degree online. Westwood College is one possibility of an online college for a criminal justice degree. Westwood College’s degree in criminal justice is specifically designed for mid-career professionals in either administrative or hands-on roles within the criminal justice field. Deciding to complete a criminal justice degree online can be a welcomed convenience for the student who is already juggling work and family responsibilities.
Qualities for Success as a Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist
In order to work as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, a professional with a degree in criminal justice must be in good physical condition and have emotional stability. Most agencies offering these specific jobs with a criminal justice degree require applicants to be at least 21 years old and no older than 37 years old. Professionals in these occupations must also possess excellent writing skills in order to prepare the large amount of reports required for each position.
Professionals interested in a career with criminal justice degree attainment may contact Westwood College for more information. College-Pages.com is also a valuable source of information with an extensive list of available programs and educational resources.