Community Corrections Officer

Community corrections programs supervise persons, living outside of a correctional facility, who have been convicted of a crime. Community corrections includes parole and probation. Parole occurs when an incarcerated person is released from incarceration and is under a period of conditional, supervised release. Probation occurs when a person is sentenced to be supervised in the community rather than in a correctional facility. Both of these types of community corrections help to keep prisons from becoming overcrowded and are aimed at rehabilitation rather than mere punishment. 

It is the responsibility of the community corrections officer to help supervise these individuals living in the community. They provide guidance, support and opportunities for inmates who are returning to the community. Community corrections officers also make sure that inmates are accountable to the conditions of their release from incarceration, and help to ease their transition back into the community. These officers work with others in the community who have a vested interest in the successful reentry of offenders to the community. 

Community Corrections Officers may also be referred to as Probation Officers, Parole Officers, Offender Rehabilitation Coordinators, Probation Counselors, Probation & Parole Officers, Community Correction Case Managers, among other names. If you would like to learn more about the job of a community corrections officer, please keep reading.

Job Duties of a Community Corrections Officer

Depending upon the community one works for, the job responsibilities of a community corrections officer may differ from one jurisdiction to the next. As a community corrections officer, you can expect to:

  • Manage a caseload of adult offenders
  • Apply motivational interviewing skills
  • Assess criminal risk/needs in offenders under supervision
  • Refer offenders to appropriate treatment/programs
  • Monitor activities of offenders to ensure that they adhere to conditions of their release
  • Assist offenders in obtaining and maintaining employment
  • Provide ongoing support in the community for offenders
  • Help offender identify network of family and friends in community for support
  • Help offender identify pro-social interests and activities in community
  • Conduct investigations including pre-sentencing, interstate, pre-pardon, and pre-parole
  • Prepare reports
  • Maintain physical and electronic documentation relating to management of caseload
  • Monitor payment of offender’s financial obligations if required
  • Periodically screen offenders for drugs and alcohol

 

Skills a Community Corrections Officer Should Have

To be an effective community corrections officer, you should:

  • Have thorough knowledge of laws, rules, legislation, regulations, policies and procedures pertaining to offenders and the correctional system
  • Be able to provide discipline and supervision
  • Possess good writing skills
  • Possess good oral communication skills
  • Have knowledge of basic investigation techniques
  • Have knowledge of substance testing and collection methods 
  • Be able to establish and maintain good working relationships with community, families, service agencies, and other support systems
  • Be able to effectively use technology in the supervision and management of offenders

 

Education and Training for Community Corrections Officers

In order to be hired as a community corrections officer, you will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. This should be in a field such as criminal justice, corrections, social work, psychology, sociology, criminology or a related discipline. Some of the more advanced level community corrections officer positions also require experience. Certain employers will allow you to substitute a master’s degree in one of the above-mentioned fields for that experience. 

If you are hired as a community corrections officer, you will complete basic academy training before you begin working. This will teach you case management skills, physical training, control tactics, and potentially, the use of firearms, if you are authorized to carry them in your job. Other skills that you will learn in community corrections officer training may include:

  • Proper use of physical force
  • Security management
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Supervision
  • Discipline
  • Mental problems of offenders
  • Intake
  • Gangs
  • Practical law for corrections
  • Critical incident survival
  • Report writing

Qualifying for a Community Corrections Officer Job

The qualifications for a community corrections officer job will differ from one community to the next. In general, however, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree 
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Pass a psychological exam
  • Pass a medical exam
  • Pass a drug test

 

Salaries and Job Outlook for Community Corrections Officers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies Community Corrections Officers as Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. They note that, as of May 2021, the mean annual wage for community corrections officers was $63,290.  According to the BLS, the following are the average salaries for community corrections officers in each state as of May 2021:

Community Corrections Salaries by State

STATEEMPLOYMENTLEVELANNUAL MEDIAN WAGEANNUAL 75THPERCENTILEANNUAL 90THPERCENTILE
AL1030477905955069000
AK310737608179096940
AZ2350578606176076490
CA1497099090112630125560
CO2240607107500092780
CT118097760102720107190
DE380525806096062780
DCData not availableData not availableData not availableData not available
FL4630403304739053210
GA2680432204848055520
HI40602507446076410
ID690469204816060080
IL2970615107767096940
IN1850492706121076620
IA830767308039097360
KS870469204862060080
KY830387404478049810
LA920492306025075000
ME210605006082060820
MD1650602507500076410
MA1150770209776097760
MI2300710907109076410
MN1770764908447097980
MS540372004175046920
MO2440372003948046920
MT320469205936059360
NE750518605565060890
NV1030605007641076730
NH190673907355077440
NJ2650764109694096940
NM640475305252058240
NY57207641095600101180
NC3210469204776059360
ND210620307267083400
OH3070562106128076410
OK1050421004692049880
OR2110641708066091090
PA4300610007151081510
RIData not availableData not availableData not availableData not available
SCData not availableData not availableData not availableData not available
SD360499805702060380
TN2100422704886055780
TX5180475806025061610
UT790545805963065400
VT190689907500077110
VA3430443305229061280
WA2040675707729094260
WV860463004799059360
WI1370497105464059180
WY160493305685061780

*Salary data circa May 2021, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The job outlook for Community Corrections Officers is good, according to the BLS. They anticipate growth of four percent from 2020 to 2030 for this occupational classification. This represents an addition of 3500 new jobs for community corrections officers nationwide during the decade. 

Resources for Community Corrections Officers

Here are some resources for aspiring or current community corrections officers: