Planning and Development of A Model Curriculum for Schools of Criminal Justice
Contracting Agency: National Institute of Corrections

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook states that employment of probation officers is expected to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020 as a result of continued growth in the demand for probation supervision services. In the current workforce, corrections staff are aging and agencies are realizing increasing retirement rates for baby boomers. Leaders in the community corrections field recognize the need to develop strategies to attract new talent to the field and sustain the community corrections workforce.

A challenge that community corrections leaders have uncovered is that colleges and universities offering studies in criminal justice offer a smaller concentration of coursework in community corrections than other concentrations of study. This is due in part to the diminishing numbers of students interested in the field. For example, there are a greater number of students choosing law enforcement careers, and consequently schools are focusing resources on this area of study.

Furthermore, corrections coursework at the undergraduate level fails to teach students about the effective correctional practices that the community corrections profession embraces to promote offender behavioral change and ultimately reduce recidivism. Community corrections leaders believe that if schools are not creating awareness around the current work of community corrections, fewer students will be interested in pursuing a career in the field.

To meet the impending workforce demand, community corrections leaders want to increase the number of undergraduate students in schools of criminal justice who are majoring in community corrections. Noting the limited exposure that undergraduate students receive on current correctional practices, a strategy is to expose students to current research-informed practices utilized by corrections professionals to facilitate offender pro-social self-change.

To address this need, NIC has funded APPA to develop a model curriculum available to colleges and universities that will expose students to the current evidenced-based practices utilized by correctional professionals to facilitate offender pro-social self-change. NIC established the Academic and Corrections Curriculum Advisory Committee to develop a plan for influencing university and colleges with schools of criminal justice to include current knowledge and skill requirements in curricula. This Advisory Committee is comprised of college faculty, college administration and community corrections professionals and will help guide the project. This project will be a collaborative venture with the NIC Community Services Division.

To accomplish the overall goal of this project, the project will be guided by the following tasks:

  • Identify and survey university/college criminal justice programming and community corrections experts to guide content for inclusion in the curriculum
  • Develop an annotated bibliography of current curricula exposing students to current evidence-based, core correctional practices available to institutions of higher learning
  • Convene meetings with the NIC Academic and Corrections Curriculum Advisory Committee to guide structure and content of the curriculum
  • Develop a detailed outline of the curriculum to be reviewed and edited by the Curriculum Advisory Committee
  • Develop curriculum following the NIC ITIP and blended learning format approaches
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