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Utilizing Colleges and Universities as a Correctional Resource: Are Colleges Friend or Foe?

NCJ Number
American Jails Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: September/October 1999 Pages: 17-22
Sheila Hallman-Warner
Date Published
October 1999
5 pages
This article addresses the importance of having college-educated correctional staff and the value of education versus work experience.
Potential conflict can occur with regard to the emphasis on education versus experience, and the solution is an appropriate balance between the two. Achieving such a balance is particularly important because attracting qualified and competent correctional staff is a challenge. Many correctional agencies have been faced with high turnover rates due to the perceived low status of being a correctional officer. Staff turnover translates into additional costs to correctional facilities through the screening of applicants, time-consuming interviews, background investigations, and training. College education is important for several reasons, one of which is that it helps individuals determine whether the field of corrections is the field they want to pursue as a career choice. College education also helps individuals work with young and violent offenders, special needs offenders, and culturally diverse populations, and prepares them to deal with legal liability issues and ethical dilemmas. Various facets of college education programs designed to prepare correctional staff are discussed, the field of corrections is examined in relation to occupation versus profession, and specific benefits of higher education to individuals and correctional agencies are identified.