Preparing Community Supervision Officers through Undergraduate Education: A Study of Academic and Practitioner Expectations


Although community corrections courses have existed in universities for decades, studies have yet to explore whether the depth and breadth of academic preparation is meeting practitioner needs. In many jurisdictions across the country, community supervision officers receive little pre-service training, making classroom learning a very important component for job preparation. Using survey data collected from members of the American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and American Probation and Parole Association, this study examines university faculty and community corrections practitioner expectations regarding topical coverage in undergraduate coursework relevant to the community corrections field. Results indicate that both groups, especially practitioners, gave the strongest preference to coverage of universally applicable job skills such as critical thinking, written and oral communication, and organizational and listening skills. Practitioners generally expected classroom learning to be more in depth and applied than faculty members. Some of the most substantial gaps in expectations were found for daily routine items such as interview skills with offenders, on-the-job decision-making, providing courtroom testimony, and stress coping.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

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Journal of criminal justice education 28