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Legal & Law Programs ►Corrections Specialist Professional Certification & Externship Program

Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity

The Corrections Specialist

The Corrections Specialist Professional program provides students the basic competencies involved in a position in a corrections facility and/or provide insight for counselors, attorneys and other legal aides additional information and theory related to the US corrections system. In fact, many legal assistants, law enforcement professionals, court and corrections officials have acquired a background understanding in Correction, Rehabilitation, Parole and basic Policing in order to better inform their positions and every day actions on the job. An increasingly complex field with the growing privatization of correctional facilities and multifaceted discussions on federal sentencing mandates, addiction and other socio-economic issues, a career in Corrections is not only challenging but can be immensely rewarding as well.

The Corrections Specialist Program

The US Criminal Justice system is a complex web of interconnected authorities, facilities, issues and concerns. One of the most important facets of criminal justice is the Corrections System that houses, monitors and reintegrates individuals – adults and juveniles – under supervision of the law. The criminal laws and penal system that determine corrections requirements, the various stresses on the largest corrections system in the world here in the US as well as the various issues, concerns and considerations for rehabilitating and reintegrating individuals back into society require a fundamental understanding of the entire system in order to successfully take on the roles and responsibilities of professionals working in the Corrections system. This program takes students through the ins and outs of the US Corrections system and the laws that govern it alongside the individual, political and societal issues.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Define terms related to corrections
  • Assess the purpose,implementation,and effectiveness of corrections
  • Trace the historical evolution of the correctional system
  • Examine the organization of corrections and challenges faced by the correctional system
  • Compare and contrast the various clients of a correctional facility
  • Examine challenges faced by the correctional system
  • Analyze prison life and the effects it can have on individuals and society
  • Appraise the legal rights of inmates and the use of capital punishment Analyze the probation and parole process
  • Analyze the juvenile court and juvenile justice system
  • Summarize the history and administration of probation and parole
  • Defend the importance of presentence investigation in the sentencing process
  • Examine the basic models for administering parole
  • Analyze the role of rehabilitation in probation and parole and related supervisory officers
  • Use Microsoft Office


  • Define corrections
  • Identify the role of corrections in the criminal justice system
  • Describe the theories of crime and its causes
  • Examine the sentencing goals of corrections
  • Discuss the sentencing and the correctional process


  • Define terms related to correctional options
  • Define intermediate sanctions
  • Compare and contrast advantages and disadvantages to various types of intermediate sanctions
  • Describe the role and functions of jails
  • Describe the organization and operation of jails and the probation system
  • Discuss the history of jails
  • Examine issues related to jails and the probation system


  • Define terms related to prisons
  • Examine the differences between federal and state prison systems
  • Identify types of public and private correctional systems
  • Define the role and mission of prisons
  • Debate the effectiveness of prisons
  • Discuss the role of prisons in the history of the U.S. criminal justice system
  • Analyze challenges faced by the current correctional system


  • Define terms related to parole and prisoner reentry into society
  • Examine the steps involved in the parole process
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of parole
  • Compare programs that assist prisoners to reenter the community
  • Trace the historical development of parole in the United States
  • Identify challenges of prisoner reentry to the community


  • Define terms related to corrections
  • Identify programs for the adult offender
  • Identify the characteristics of an adult offender
  • Compare and contrast the differences and similarities between male and female offenders
  • Analyze the challenges to providing effective programs for adult offenders


  • Define special offenders
  • Examine issues related to the juvenile justice system
  • Define the categories of juvenile defenders
  • Identify the needs of special offenders
  • Trace the development of the juvenile justice system
  • Examine issues related to the juvenile justice system
  • Describe the challenges to dealing with special offenders


  • Define terms related to prison management
  • Examine how prisons are organized
  • Explain the mission of a correctional institution
  • Analyze the methods used by prisons to control inmate behavior
  • Question the validity of programs within a prison
  • Describe the historical evolution of prisons
  • Identify the challenges of prison management
  • Trace the development of prisons


  • Define terms related to prison subculture
  • Examine the impact that a prison environment can have on inmates
  • Identify the challenges prisons face in attempting to create a positive environment for both staff and inmates
  • Discuss theories on inmate culture
  • Describe the function of humor in prison
  • Describe the historical evolution of women's prisons


  • Define terms related to prison employees
  • Define the jobs of prison staff
  • Discuss the culture and organizational hierarchy for prison staff


  • Define terms related to legal rights of inmates and capital punishment
  • Discuss how the legal rights of inmates have evolved
  • Map the history of capital punishment
  • Identify the source of all inmate rights
  • Describe the laws that provide specific rights to inmates
  • Review litigation for capital punishment
  • Debate the pros and cons of capital punishment


  • Identify challenges faced by the correctional system
  • Examine the role of politics to deal with the challenges faced by the correctional system
  • Describe population sizes of prisons and jails
  • Question the usefulness of correctional treatment programs


  • Discuss future challenges faced by the correctional system
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of the current state of correctional practice


  • Explain the American criminal justice system
  • Define crime and criminal
  • Describe historical responses to crime
  • Describe the Classical, Neoclassical, and Positive approaches to responding to crime
  • Describe the steps in the American criminal justice system
  • Examine why probation and parole are important in the criminal justice process


  • Outline the history of the juvenile court
  • Identify the common hearings held in juvenile court
  • Describe the procedures in juvenile court
  • Explain the purpose of a predisposition report by providing examples of the type of information it contains
  • Analyze several different models of how juveniles are handled at the disposition stage of the juvenile court process
  • Define status offenders
  • Describe how juveniles can be waived to adult court
  • Examine how legal decisions have impacted juveniles' due process


  • Identify the various juvenile dispositions that are available
  • Describe juvenile probation supervision
  • Describe the various juvenile treatment options and facilities
  • Describe youth authority services
  • Describe the goals and process of juvenile aftercare and parole
  • Explain the administration of juvenile services
  • Identify the challenges that occur when a juvenile is tried in adult court


  • Describe the federal and state court systems
  • Outline the history of probation
  • Describe the administration of probation
  • Identify when probation can be granted
  • Identify common conditions of probation
  • Describe the objective of probation supervision
  • Describe what can happen when probation is violated


  • Explain the purposes of the PSI report
  • Outline the content of a PSI report
  • Describe how to gather information for a PSI report
  • Differentiate between short and long form PSI reports
  • Assess the impact of sentencing guidelines and mandatory sentences on the PSI report
  • Explain plea bargaining and the preplea investigation
  • Examine the controversy regarding confidentiality of the PSI report
  • Describe the criticisms of the PSI report


  • Examine America's prison crisis
  • Describe early prisons and prison systems
  • Describe the various systems of convict labor
  • Explain the concept of the “Big House” prison and the evolution of a corrections approach
  • Describe contemporary correctional institutions and the issues within them
  • Analyze how various court decisions have impacted prison management
  • Describe community-based corrections and private prisons


  • Define parole and provide early examples of its use
  • Outline how parole was developed in the United States
  • Describe how the different models for dealing with crime can affect the availability of parole
  • Define indeterminate and determinate sentencing
  • Describe the effect of determinate sentencing on prosecutorial discretion and disparate justice
  • Describe the reality of why parole is currently used in the United States


  • Explain how parole services are administered
  • Define conditional release
  • Describe the role of the parole board
  • Explain parole board procedures
  • List the responsibilities of institutional and field services parole staff
  • Describe conditions of parole and how the length of supervision is determined
  • Explain the different types of parole violations and the revocation process
  • Identify the different types of clemency
  • Examine how legal decisions have impacted parole


  • Define rehabilitation theory
  • Explain psychoanalytic theory
  • Describe the aspects of social casework
  • Describe the learning theory and behavior modification modes of rehabilitation
  • Examine how group work can play a role in rehabilitation
  • Explain sociological theories of crime causation as they relate to rehabilitation


  • Identify the tasks of probation and parole officers
  • Examine the agency models and how they impact the role of probation and parole officers
  • Analyze how probation and parole officers can serve as agents of rehabilitation, advocates, and law enforcement agents
  • Describe how probation and parole officers are selected
  • Identify the personal qualities of probation and parole officers
  • Explain how volunteers assist in probation
  • Describe the legal liabilities of probation and parole officers


  • Explain how classification is used in probation and parole
  • Describe the case assignment process
  • Outline the initial interview
  • Explain pretrial and ongoing supervision
  • Explain the correlation between offender employment and recidivism
  • Examine how the stigma of conviction affects ex-offenders
  • Describe restorative justice
  • Describe community justice


  • Analyze the impact of substance abuse on probation and parole
  • Examine the issues associated with offenders who have HIV or AIDS
  • Explain how sex offenders need to be treated and supervised differently than other offenders
  • Describe how DWI or DUI offenders strain the corrections system
  • Explain how mentally handicapped offenders present supervision problems
  • Describe how states use work release programs and halfway houses
  • Describe how states cooperate through interstate compacts
  • Explain extensive probation and parole supervision
  • Examine the research findings regarding intensive supervision
  • Analyze the difficulty in determining the success or failure of probation and parole
  • Describe how felony probation differs from less serious offenses
  • Identify the goals of each model of probation and parole

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so. works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.