The Role of a Social Worker in Corrections

The ultimate aim of correction is to identify and prevent delinquent or criminal behavior of the offending population. Correction by social workers is possible in the case of all types of offenders. However, offenders who are placed on probation and parole are more likely to benefit from correctional social work. Social workers who indulge in the correctional process among offenders should possess knowledge regarding the dynamics of human behavior and they should be trained in strategies and interventions that will promote socially acceptable behavior and participation in community living. For this, it is essential that the social worker realizes how the values and behavioral patterns of the offender differ from that of the community. The social worker aims to assist the offender and the goal of correctional social work “is to utilize the knowledge and skills of the profession in a corrective manner, to rehabilitate the offender, to help him to help himself, so that he can return to and become a part of his society and to lead a constructive life” (Kumar &amp. Devasia, 2009, p. 232). Correctional social work thus stresses on smooth social functioning and socially acceptable behavior among the offender population. The correctional social worker acts as a catalyst agent who initiates desirable social and behavioral changes among his clients.
The primary aim of social work services is to promote the social functioning of individuals and strengthen healthy social interactions among them. An effective social worker can accomplish these goals through three social work functions: “restoration of impaired capacity, provision of individual and social resources and prevention of social dysfunction” (Kumar &amp. Devasia, 2009, p. 226). In the correctional setting, social workers need to assess the offenders and assist them for effective social functioning and timely rehabilitation.