New Certificate Program to Advance Corrections Careers

January 22, 2015

Greenfield Community College’s new Corrections Certificate Program is part of a community solution to reducing incarceration. The nine-course Certificate focuses on inmate management, treatment, and re-entry into the community and fits within the nationally recognized Transition from Jail to Community Model (TJC) currently in use at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The Program prepares students for employment in the corrections field, increases the knowledge of people already employed as corrections officers, and gives them career enhancement opportunities. All credits earned toward the Corrections Certificate can be applied to GCC’s Associate in Science degrees in Criminal Justice. Students may start taking courses toward the Certificate this spring and the first Certificates will be awarded at the end of the 2015 fall semester.

Kathleen M. Vranos, GCC’s Dean of Business & Information Technology, Professional Studies, and Social Sciences, said, “For those who want to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community and make an impact on the lives of individuals, the Corrections Certificate offers access to a rewarding career pathway with strong compensation. GCC’s new Corrections Certificate challenges the inevitability of repeat offenders.”

David Lanoie, GCC adjunct faculty member in Criminal Justice and former Superintendent of the Franklin County House of Corrections, and Walter Nieliwocki, Coordinator of the GCC Criminal Justice Program, developed the Certificate after reviewing corrections-related certificate programs nationwide. The Corrections Certificate includes existing GCC courses in criminal justice, law, sociology, psychology, and communications as well as a new course taught by Lanoie on Contemporary Inmate Management and Treatment Practices. Lanoie brings his experience working with Sheriff Christopher Donelan in applying the TJC model as a holistic approach to assisting inmates in successfully returning to the community. Franklin County is one of only six counties in the U.S. identified by the National Institute of Corrections with TJC status.

Lanoie said, “Franklin County and Hampshire County’s Houses of Correction use an assessment and clinical model for managing and treating inmates that has been proven by research to assist them in dealing with the underlying issues that lead to criminal behavior. This Certificate gives current and future corrections staff a broader perspective of their role in the corrections system and helps develop corrections staff who are well-rounded individuals with an understanding of both the security and treatment of inmates.”

Applauding the new Certificate, Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan said, “The timing of this is perfect because of the transformation going on at the Franklin County House of Corrections. Gone are the days of jail guards counting heads and enforcing discipline. Modern corrections officers are part of a comprehensive team that includes social workers and clinicians and they are as engaged in changing inmates lives as anyone else at the House of Corrections.”

Walter Nieliwocki, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program, said, “Corrections is very meaningful and rewarding work. This Certificate, part of GCC’s ongoing commitment to our community’s needs, will give students the opportunity to move toward an interesting career with excellent pay. For those already working in corrections, there are employer financial incentives for those who further their education through such programs as GCC’s Correction Certificate.”

It’s not too late to get started toward making an impact in our community. For information about the Corrections Certificate visit gcc.mass.edu/corrections/. contact Walter Nieliwocki at 413-775-1136, nieliwocki@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82