Field of Study: Corrections
Corrections programs prepare people to work in jails and prisons. Students learn safety measures and how to work with adult and young offenders. They also learn to set up and manage programs in a jail or prison.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous literary classic, "The Scarlet Letter," begins by noting two things every town needs: a cemetery and a prison. Unfortunately, crime is a part of life. The criminal justice system dictates that offenders are punished by spending time in jail or prison. Therefore, people are needed to work at correctional facilities. These people help manage the day-to-day operations as well as work with inmates to rehabilitate them, thus preventing future crime.
In corrections programs, you study different theories about why crimes occur and why people - including juveniles, adult men, and women - commit them. You study the brain patterns and behavior of "criminal minds." In addition, you learn about the different components of the criminal justice system. You learn how courts and prisons work. You also learn about the police, parole, and probation systems. You learn about how to talk to and counsel offenders. You also learn different ways to manage difficult situations and to keep correctional facilities safe and secure.
Most corrections programs are offered through community colleges. Typically you receive a two-year degree, which allows you to work as an entry-level corrections officer at a prison, adult or juvenile detention center, or work release program. You can also work at parole or probation centers or as a bailiff at the courthouse.
Often, you can transfer your credits to a four-year school. This allows you to get a bachelor's in criminal justice or criminology. Many jobs require a four-year degree in criminal justice for entry-level corrections work, so keep this in mind.