Correctional Treatment Specialist
The Correctional Treatment Specialist is a type of case manager that works within the corrections system to act as a liaison between corrections and social services agencies. In addition to their liaison capacity the primary responsibility of the Correctional Treatment Specialist is to design, plan and implement strategies to help convicted felons reintegrate into society after life in prison. This planning and training begins as the inmate is preparing to leave the correctional system near the end of their sentence. This can be an extremely complex process especially for felons who have been in the correctional system for long periods of time. While similar in many ways to a parole officer, the main focus of the Correctional Treatment Specialist is to empower the felon to make healthy lifestyle decisions that will increase the likelihood of a successful reintegration into society and also reduce the chance of recidivism.
Some of the daily duties and responsibilities of the Correctional Treatment Specialist will be to work as an advisor to felons and work in tandem with a probation or parole officer to implement a plan with concrete steps to reintegrate into society. Working within prison or outside of it, the Correctional Treatment Specialist helps convicts to learn what the expectations are not only from the parole board, but also ways to find education and work so they can create a successful post-prison life. The Correctional Treatment Specialist will work understand a felon’s past history both in terms of criminal background, but also their emotional and psychological profile in order to create a strength based approach to empowering their successful return to society. Often they will suggest work training, psychological counseling, anger management and addiction counseling in order to give the felon the tools they need to be successful upon their release.
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Some of the tasks that are done on a daily basis by the Correctional Treatment Specialist include but are not limited to:
- Understanding Psychological and Emotional tendencies and triggers
- Careful analysis of a felons strengths and weaknesses
- Appropriate recommendation of Counseling or Psychological services
- Working in tandem with a Parole or Probation officer to create a case plan
- Acting as a liaison between correctional and social services
- Empowering the convict to seek out education and work training upon release
- Explaining the expectations of both the parole board and society at large
- Helping the felon to connect with appropriate Social Services agencies and resources
Educational Requirements to Become a Correctional Treatment Specialist
Most employers require prospective Correctional Treatment Specialists to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Correctional Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology or a highly related field. The degrees that are more geared to the specific sub-set of issues involved with rehabilitating criminals are preferred. As is the case with most professions, having a Master’s or Doctorate will give you access to the most highly paid positions in this field including management. You will often also be required to undergo drug testing, psychological and physical testing particularly if you will be working within a prison as the psychological, emotional and physical rigors of that environment are quite intense.
How the Correctional Treatment Specialist Services Human Beings
The Correctional Treatment Specialist performs a vital function for the felons they work with. Helping them to understand their own strengths and weaknesses the Correctional Treatment Specialist helps the felon to understand what they are capable of achieving and also what support they may need in achieving those goals. By providing appropriate referrals to Psychological and Counseling resources, the felon is able to mitigate or heal their emotional and psychological issues in order to re-enter society with the support they need to overcome past causes of criminal behaviors. When combined with a strength based approach that encourages felons to seek out education and job training, the Correctional Treatment Specialist helps the felon to literally have a new lease on life and greatly increases their chances of successful reintegration into society.
How the Correctional Treatment Specialist Impacts Society
The Correctional Treatment Specialist has a much larger impact on society than might appear to be the case at first glance. By helping empower felons to address areas in need of healing while simultaneously empowering them to make new life choices through training and education, the Correctional Treatment Specialist is greatly improving the chances that the felon will reintegrate and not return to prison. Not only is the Correctional Treatment Specialist helping to reduce crime, they are also helping to reduce the tax burden caused by housing so many inmates. They are also helping to empower inmates to successfully reintegrate into society and become productive members. This is actually a triple effect of reducing crime, reducing tax burden and also helping to add newly empowered productive members of society to the populace. It is safe to say that the Correctional Treatment Specialist has a very significant impact on their community.
Salary You Can Expect as a Correctional Treatment Specialist
As a Correctional Treatment Specialist with a Bachelor’s degree you can anticipate a yearly median salary of $47,200 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics1. Of course this will vary tremendously depending on the institution that hires you. For example, Federal prisons will usually pay higher salaries than State prisons although that is not always the case. In addition, educational background and seniority will greatly impact your potential pay.
The first step to take on your journey towards becoming a Correctional Treatment Specialist is to decide what educational route you wish to take in order to qualify to apply. If you are certain that you want to have a lengthy career as a Correctional Treatment Specialist you will most likely want to get your degree in Criminal Justice, Correctional Rehabilitation or Rehabilitation Counseling. These degrees will give you the greatest depth of knowledge at the Bachelor’s level and will prepare you for the career. If you are unsure whether this will be a long term career prospect you may wish to get a degree in Psychology, Social Work, Sociology or a highly related field. This will give you more options down the road as not everyone is cut out for a career in corrections. For those who want to advance to the highest levels of Correctional Treatment you will want to pursue a Master’s or Doctorate in Criminal Justice, Correctional Rehabilitation or Rehabilitation Counseling. With one of these degrees you will be an excellent candidate for a management position either immediately after leaving school or once you have attained some professional experience. Regardless of what your eventual goals are, the first step will be finding a degree path and program that resonates with you and your long term career vision.