Online degrees in corrections teach students about the nation’s criminal justice system as a whole with an emphasis on how convicted criminals are punished for their crimes. In other words, these degrees discuss the operations and purposes of jails and prisons as well as the function of parole and probation once an offender is released from prison. Online corrections degrees also explore the different theories and programs associated with the American correctional system.
Students in such programs learn important skills in how correctional facilities are managed and staffed, and strategies for safely and effectively working with different types of inmate populations. These populations might include juvenile offenders, low-risk adult offenders, and adult offenders who have committed violent crimes. In recent years, the focus of such programs has shifted from a strictly punishment perspective to rehabilitation of criminal offenders and treatment of the root causes of criminal behavior. Corrections students will also explore alternatives to incarceration, like civil confinement, community service, use of tracking devices, and drug and alcohol treatment.
As part of a broader criminal justice education, students will learn about criminology, the socioeconomic factors involved in criminal activity, law enforcement, and the court system. Course work directly relating to corrections will discuss the juvenile justice system and delinquency intervention for at-risk youth, adult corrections, and community corrections.
Potential careers in corrections might include correctional officers and jailers, probation and parole officers, correctional treatment specialists, and nonprofit work in delinquency prevention programs. Correction officers have wide-ranging advancement opportunities, including supervisory and administrative positions, and even the role of correctional sergeant, who maintains security and directs the work of all correctional officers. After many years working in corrections, the most effective leaders may even advance to the position of warden.