Cambrian College extends virtual reach in Corrections
Those considering a career in the criminal justice system will have new learning options to consider in September, 2012.
Beginning this fall, half of Cambrian College’s Community and Justice Services program will be available online, allowing students living outside of Sudbury to study in their home communities.
“Our initial rationale for increasing online learning options in Community and Justice Services was to make it easier for people from Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay to access our program. There are large correctional institutions in each of those areas, and people see that job opportunities are opening up. Cambrian is the closest community college that offers Community and Justice Services, but distance was still an issue for many prospective students,” explained Jean Brown, dean of Cambrian’s Schools of Justice, Community Services, and General Studies.
“We wanted to make sure that someone with a passion for the justice system and a dream of having a good job in their home town could access our program. With half of the courses available online, students will only need to be on campus for two semesters, or about eight months. It’s going to make it possible for more students to enroll, earn credits, and complete placements anywhere.”
Cambrian’s two-year Community and Justice Services diploma program prepares students for careers that contribute to public safety in the field of corrections.
Correctional workers are responsible for the care, custody, and treatment of offenders in institutions and in the community.
They may work with adults or youth in prisons, halfway houses, group homes, or for private agencies.
Part of the appeal of the program is that it allows students to explore different work settings.
Kylie Pratt is completing her second semester, and said the guided tours of various facilities are valuable, since she is still determining where she would like to start her career.
“I applied to the program because I knew I loved law,” she explained. “But I am still learning about the differences between working with youth and adults, and I am still deciding what type of setting is best for me.”
Pratt agreed that adding online courses would benefit some students.
Although the 18-year-old said she is glad that she moved from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury for school, she said some of her classmates live in Espanola and McKerrow, commuting two hours each day.
“Even if they could do a few courses online, it could save them money and travel time, and they could still take some classes with us and go on group tours,” she explained.
First-year students Matt Francisco and Tyson Clark said that they are pleased to hear that new students completing online courses will still be able to join class tours.
They said that in their first semester, they visited several provincial and federal institutions, including Cecil Facer in Sudbury, Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, and Fenbrook and Beaver Creek in Gravenhurst.
Professor and Program Coordinator Cynthia Booth said program staff will also arrange for facility tours and placements for students living in other communities, wherever possible.
“This was always about making our program an option for people who never thought they could do it,” Booth said. “Taking our courses online can deliver cost savings for students in terms of transportation, living expenses, or time away from a full-time job. It could allow someone who’s currently working in the corrections field to upgrade their credentials using a shorter leave of absence. It opens so many doors.”
Employment prospects in corrections look promising right now because of increasing inmate populations and an aging workforce.
In August, Correctional Service Canada (CSC), which manages 57 federal institutions across the country, announced that “as a result of recent government legislation, the number of inmates inside Canada’s federal penitentiaries is growing and this period of growth is expected to continue.”
Further, the ministry states that “CSC is building new living units in many of its existing institutions, adding double-bunks to cells in some facilities and hiring more than 4,000 staff.”
Statistics Canada reports that 76 percent of correctional workers have a postsecondary education, over 94 percent of them work full-time, and on average they earn over $50,000 per year.
For complete details about the Community and Justice Services program at Cambrian College, email Cynthia Booth at email@example.com, or call (705) 566-8101, extension 7846.