Criminal Justice 439

CRJU 439: Community-Based Corrections

Prerequisites: CRJU 238

Credit Hours: (3)

This course is designed to examine the variety of correctional services available in the community, as alternatives to incarceration. Emphasis will be placed on probation and parole, as well as the range of intermediate sanctions (including, but not limited to, programs such as boot camps, drug courts, electronic monitoring, etc.).


Detailed Description of Content of Course

What is “community-based corrections”?

  • continuum of criminal sanctions
  • pros and cons of community-based corrections
  • historical evolution of community-based corrections
  • the inefficiencies of correctional institutions
  • addressing the philosophies of punishment
  • the (contemporary) influence of politics

Criminal sentencing

  • sentencing strategies and offender classification
  • distinguishing pre-trial, probation, intermediate sanction, institutional, and parole programs

Pre-trial programs and their effectiveness

  • preventive detention
  • bail
  • supervised pretrial release
  • release on recognizance

Diversion programs

Probation: the most common sanction

  • history and administration
  • the pre-sentence investigation
  • probation supervision
  • intensive supervision probation

Intermediate sanctions: between probation and prison

  • shock incarceration programs
  • residential programs
  • day reporting centers
  • electronic monitoring
  • fines, restitution, and forfeiture
  • community service
  • restorative justice
  • specialized courts (community courts, drug courts, domestic violence courts, etc.)
  • innovative approaches
  • police-corrections partnerships

Institutional programs

  • work release
  • offender programming in the community
  • community programming in the institution

Parole: early release from prison

  • the history and nature of parole supervision
  • parole boards
  • parole supervision

Special populations, special programs

  • correctional treatment, generally
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • sexual offenders
  • juvenile programs
    • juvenile probation
    • juvenile boot camps
    • adventure programs


  • what do we know about community corrections?
  • how can we evaluate community corrections?
  • what is the future of community corrections?


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will primarily be conducted in a lecture-discussion format. Active learning strategies will be stressed, as will a focus on both theory and practice. Lectures and discussions may be supplemented by a variety of instructional strategies, such as: guest speakers; videos; field trips; role-playing exercises to apply theoretical concepts; and student presentations.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the history and philosophy of community-based correctional programs;
  • Understand sentencing goals and strategies, as well as offender classification strategies, that assign clients to community-based correctional programs;
  • Understand the nature of probation supervision, including:
  • the origins and administration of probation,
  • the role and preparation of the pre-sentence investigation,
  • the assessment of client risks and needs,
  • the resources available to meet client needs,
  • the nature of probation supervision (such as officer caseload, caseload management, and officer personality),
  • legal issues relevant to probation management,
  • variations in traditional probation practice (such as intensive supervision probation), and
  • research evaluating the effectiveness of probation;
  • Understand the nature of parole supervision, including:
  • the origins of parole,
  • the functions and operations of parole boards,
  • contemporary developments in parole programs (such as truth-in-sentencing),
  • the management of parole caseloads, and
  • research evaluating the effectiveness of parole;
  • Appreciate the role of intermediate sanctions in the sentencing continuum, by describing and evaluating the following types of community-oriented correctional programs:
  • diversion and pre-trial programs (such as bail and Release on Own Recognizance),
  • boot camps and other shock incarceration programs,
  • electronic monitoring programs,
  • day reporting centers,
  • halfway houses,
  • fines, forfeiture and restitution,
  • community service,
  • drug courts,
  • restorative justice programs
  • corrections-law enforcement partnerships,
  • institutional partnerships with community groups, and
  • current innovative or novel programs;
  • Examine correctional treatment and its efficacy, as well as problems and programs pertinent to special populations within community-based correctional programs, such as:
  • drug users,
  • juveniles, and
  • sex offenders; and
  • Evaluate the scholarly literature, political context, and policy implications pertaining to the variety of community-based correctional programs.


Assessment Measures

Students may be assessed using a variety of measures, such as:

  • Exams and/or quizzes;
  • Critical journal article reviews;
  • Research papers;
  • Practitioner interviews;
  • Student presentations;
  • Class discussion; and
  • Applied written exercises.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Date Action Approved by
July 2005, Reviewed by Dr. Isaac Van Patten, Department Chair