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Home > corrections 101 > Day 2: Where is Corrections?

Day 2: Where is Corrections?

June 23rd, 2009

If you’ve seen the popular show “Law and Order,” you’ve heard the opening narration.

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

Up until a few weeks ago, I listened to this opening credit and assumed it to be right.

However, there are actually three groups that represent the people in the criminal justice system: the police, the courts, and the third, corrections.

  • Criminals are arrested by the police, who pass them off to the courts where they are prosecuted, but what happens after that? They are put in the corrections system, a system that is commonly overlooked by the general public. There are over 150 jobs in the corrections system. Teachers are part of the system, along with librarians, carpenters, dentists, chefs, accountants, and even one title I found for an aquaculture manager. Nearly every position is required to run this separate world where inmates live, 24/7.

  • The corrections system is responsible for rehabilitating, educating, and changing the inmates so that perhaps someday they can return as safer and more productive members of their community. The corrections system is not only responsible for the inmates while they are incarcerated, they are also responsible for inmates on house arrest, parole and probation.

  • And there is a difference between parole and probation that I was not aware of until this very moment. According to, parole is the conditional release of a prison inmate after serving part, if not all, of his or her sentence, allowing the inmate to live in the community under supervision of the parole period. Probation is a sentence ordered by a judge, usually instead of, but sometimes in addition to, serving time in jail.

  • Probably the one job you hear most about in Corrections is the Corrections Officer. These are the men and women who are in contact, managing the inmates on a daily basis. They play a substantial role in the rehabilitation of the inmates because they are with them more than anyone else.

  • My next step is to find out what it is like working on the inside. I’d be curious to see what it is like to spend your days working at a jail or prison? How these brave men and women go about managing incarcerated criminals? I’d also welcome any questions you may have so while I’m doing my research I can be sure to answer them for you. So, post any questions or comments you might be thinking about, as I continue to discover this industry.

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