Online classes for parole officers may be part of a program in criminal justice, psychology, sociology or social work at the associate, bachelor's or even master's degree level. Lessons cover parole and probation, crime and delinquency, communication and reporting skills, as well as various facets of the criminal justice system and ethics in corrections. Students learn to monitor parolees in order to make sure that court-ordered terms of early release from incarceration are being met. Parole officers may work at the local or state level. Federal parole officers exist but are not as common as state parole officers.
Online Parole Officer Courses
The most common online parole officer courses are summarized below.
- Parole and Probation Course: This course provides an overview of the history, structure and foundations of parole and probation while explaining the difference between the two. The role of the parole and probation officer is evaluated in depth as students discuss responsibilities like undertaking investigations, reporting and presenting to the courts and helping parolees reintegrate into society. Lectures may cover parole statutes and types of mandates that can be imposed upon parolees as conditions of release.
- Corrections Course: An overview of the criminal justice system is provided in this course with a focus on the correctional system and its practices. Probation, incarceration and parole are addressed, along with different correctional approaches, such as punitive and rehabilitative measures. Correctional operations, administration, careers, services and civil liability are also covered.
- Crime and Delinquency Course: This course considers different theoretical frameworks for examining crime, its characteristics, the categorization of offenses and society's response to crime. Risk factors for criminal activity, such as family violence and substance abuse, are evaluated. Deviance in relation to factors such as race, class, age and gender are also discussed.
- Professional Communications in the Criminal Justice Field Course: This course discusses the range of communication skills required of the parole officer, including effectively writing and presenting reports, performing discreet investigations and effectively communicating with parolees. Ethical and privacy issues that arise in the profession are examined, along with issues that may result from the sometimes conflicting goals corrections, rehabilitation, individual rights and public safety.
- Ethical Behavior in Criminal Justice: Students study what the professional standards for ethical behavior are in criminal justice. They also learn how to make appropriate decisions based on these standards. Personal ethical responsibilities, including conduct codes and laws, are investigated as well.