Corrections, probation, and parole is "a difficult, but rewarding field," according to Lake Michigan College program coordinator and advisor Robert Lane. A degree in corrections, probation, and parole leads to careers that help run the judicial system.
To be successful in corrections, probation, and parole, you need to:
- be aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react
- have knowledge of human behavior
- have good written and verbal communication skills
- be able to pick up on non-verbal cues and body language
- understand the legal system
Other skills needed include:
- Problem sensitivity - the ability to tell when something is wrong, recognizing the possibility of a problem.
- Public safety and security - knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security.
- Therapy and counseling - knowledge of principles and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical or mental problems.
State and Federal Requirements
To be hired as a corrections officer, you must comply with state and/or federal requirements. In Michigan, these include:
- Pass a physical fitness test given by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
- Have acceptable vision, hearing, general good physical health, and pass a drug screen.
- Those convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime cannot be hired. Consideration cannot be given to an applicant who is on probation, has outstanding warrants, or has a controlled substance (drug) related conviction in any jurisdiction, including drug-related military discharges.
- Those convicted of any misdemeanor will not be eligible for employment until one year after satisfactory completion of any sentence imposed, including probation.