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Penologist Criminal Justice Careers

Penologists are criminal justice professionals that have researched and studied issues within correctional institutes and rehabilitation programs. These women and men are well versed in the law and legal issues that surround prisons and corrections facilities, as well as the management of the prisons and rehabilitation of the criminals within.  Focusing directly on the prisoners, a penologist can work within all levels of government, including local, state and federal jurisdictions.

Throughout a prison’s rehabilitation policies and procedures, a penologist plays a critical role as a liaison between the prison population, corrections and probation professionals and sometimes as an advocate for prisoners. Understanding the nuances within prisons and correctional facilities requires an individual with a wide range of knowledge that includes law, criminal justice, sociology and psychology. A Penologist typically holds a degree in any of those concentrations, such as a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, but may also have experience in justice administration or criminology.

Penologists that work within prisons and correctional facilities can also have a role in the creation, implementation and management of new policies that affect prisoners. Through the study of the effectiveness of different programs that focus on drug, alcohol, or occupational rehabilitation, a Penologist can help define a set of programs that can assist in the overall recovery of those incarcerated.



With several factors increasing the overall population within prisons and correctional facilities, a career in penology can be one of the more stable career paths today. With its focus on prisoners and convict rehabilitation over just the management of the prison itself, penology gives criminal justice a more humane feel, especially when it comes to the lives of inmates. The field of criminal justice is considered to be a smart choice for those looking to make a difference in the world, while pursuing a career that is not only full of challenges but opportunities.

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