|Penology refers to the study of convict rehabilitation or the management of prisons or jails, so penologists will spend their time working in prisons with prisoners. They also help to maintain prison security by working to prevent disturbances including assaults, escapes, antisocial behavior and other disruptions. Penologists may work at the federal, state or local levels and can find employment in maximum- or low-security environments.|
Duties and Responsibilities
Penologists are primarily responsible for assisting with the rehabilitation of incarcerated offenders so that they can effectively reintegrate into society. Additionally, they develop or advise on empowerment/prisoner self-help programs to help prisoners work through their criminal tendencies. Programs designed by penologists may include anger management or substance abuse programs. Penologists also develop and implement prison management strategies along with inmate treatment programs that govern how prisoners are treated while encarcerated. In addition, penologists search prisoners for contraband and regularly inspect prison facilities.
In some career positions penologists are required to make recommendations that form prison policy. For example, they organize and implement activities intended to prevent disorder in the prison environment, such as drug testing. Penologists are involved in prison architecture, working with prison architects to develop schematics and floor plans best suited to meet the needs of both prisoners as well as prison management. Penologist frequently work directly with prisoners as well as other criminal justice professionals including prison guards, probation officers, parole officers and criminologists.
Penologists are required to have an intimate understanding of the corrections system. They also must have strong written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills. Penologists should be self-directed and well developed leadership skills. As Penologist often work in prisons near and with incarcertated offenders they should be physically fit and alert.
Penologists typically have a bachelor's degree in a relevant area such as psychology, criminal justice, or justice administration. Courses in penologist training programs cover topics such as punishment goals and techniques used in American prisons as well as criminal psychology, which covers the causes of miscreant behavior. Additionally, students may study the history of U.S. prisons, reasons for incarcerations, how long inmates stay in prison and the lifestyle of offenders. Students learn how to address prison overcrowding issues and work with prison budgets, and they learn about self-defense, legal restrictions, firearms proficiency and interpersonal relations.
Penologists will remain in strong demand as crime rates continue to rise and more resources are dedicated to the issue of overcrowded prison populations and the need for more effective rehabilitation programs. The positive job outlook for penologists is due in part to population growth, rising incarceration rates and legislation demanding longer prisoner sentences and minimum parole opportunities.
How to become a penologist
Criminal Justice Careers
Learn More About the Most Popular Criminal Justice Careers by Specialty
Featured Criminal Justice Articles
Explore Articles on Hot Topics in the Field of Criminal Justice
Forensic researchers in Tucson, Arizona have developed a revolutionary method that could allow scientists to predict what a person might look like using only their DNA. Scientists at the University of Arizona conducted a research project measuring the following characteristics of nearly 1,000 individuals: eye color, skin, and hair.Read more
For the first time in over a generation, the question of whether the death penalty deters murders has captured the attention of scholars, sparking an intense new debate. About 12 current reports indicate each time a convicted murderer is executed, between 3-18 homicides do not occur.Read more
Are bounty hunters legitimate law enforcement professional? There has been increasing controversy in the United States over bounty hunters, with concern voiced over the lack of control that a state has over their behavior. Court jurisdictions have permitted bounty hunters broad authority to locate and detain individuals fleeing to evade the legal process.Read more
Featured Corrections Programs
|Request Info||Ashford University Ashford University’s Mission: To provide accessible, affordable, innovative, high-quality learning opportunities and degree programs that meet the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives, professions and communities. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Request Info||American InterContinental University (AIU) You're serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelor's or master's degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7. Learn More >|
|Request Info||San Joaquin Valley College San Joaquin Valley College is an accredited private junior college committed to the professional success of its students and graduates. Founded in 1977, SJVC has campuses located throughout California-including an Online division and offers a variety of accelerated Certificate and Associate of Science degree programs in the business, medical and technical fields. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Rasmussen College At Rasmussen College, our focus has always been and will remain on making your higher education experience a successful investment. We help you achieve the success you want both in your courses and in your career. Learn More >|