Advanced Correctional Practice for Complex Populations

Ontario College Graduate Certificate | Code: 1412

Please note:

This program is no longer accepting new applicants. If you are currently enrolled in the program, please contact our OntarioLearn team about plans for completion.

To effectively participate in remote learning, students in this program must have reliable Internet access and meet these device requirements.

About the program

Conestoga's Ontario Graduate Certificate in Advanced Correctional Practice with Complex Populations is for graduates from various backgrounds seeking to join the correctional workforce and for correctional staff seeking to enhance their professional development.
In order to address the changing face of corrections, and the challenges in working in this demanding environment, all levels of correctional staff need the knowledge, skills and abilities to understand and effect change with complex offender populations. This includes working with offenders from the following groups within correctional environments: mental health issues and trauma; substance abuse; women; Aboriginals; and seniors. Additional competencies will be developed in the areas of: ethical conduct, judgement and decision making; communication and inter-personal relations; crisis management; and leadership.
This program will prepare graduates for complexity capable practice within correctional institutions and community corrections. The program's integrated design rests on a core foundation of: leading-edge theory and research; applied learning for skills development; and a framework for inter-professional practice in today's correctional settings.
This program is delivered through online courses enabling students to balance work-study commitments.

Program information

All courses must be completed within 7 years of acceptance into the program.

Admission requirements

  • A two- or three-year diploma or a degree from an accredited college or university with a specialty in human, health or social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, criminology), justice, social justice, social work, or other health, human service, or community focused fields or equivalent.

  • three to five (3 - 5) years of related full-time formal work experience. Related experience may include work in a corrections, law enforcement or community justice agency (e.g., youth worker, security officer, or similar work) and/or work with a justice-related community agency, social/human services, a police organization, or research work in the justice field.

Note re: admission requirements

Applicants possessing degrees/diplomas from institutions where the language of instruction was not English will be required to provide test scores as evidence of their English language proficiency. Test scores, if required, would be a minimum of TOEFL iBT 88; IELTS 6.5 with no bands less than 6.0; CAEL 70 with no sub-test band scores less than 60; PTE Academic 58; Conestoga English Language Test (CELT) Band 6; or equivalent scores in other recognized standard tests of English.

We offer a language program for students whose English language skills are below the standard required for admission but all other admission criteria have been met. An applicant will be eligible for admission to the graduate certificate program after completion of level 4 of the General Arts and Science - English Language Studies (ELS) program with an overall grade average of 80% and no grade less than 75%. Placement in the ELS program is determined by scores on an in-house English language test or TOEFL or IELTS.

Admission procedures

  • Submit a completed Conestoga College Program Application Form.
  • Attach proof of Admission Requirements.
  • Final selection is made following an assessment of the admission requirements.

Program requirements

  • This is not a cohort-based program. Students may complete the courses in any order. Students may apply to the program at any point; but, in order to be awarded the certificate, they will need to apply to give evidence that they have completed all the requirements.
  • Please note that an unclear criminal record may result in the inability of the student to be competitive for careers in institutional or community corrections. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability

Graduate opportunities

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website:

Program outcomes

  • Develop plans for correctional service delivery to complex populations based on evaluation of existent and new practices.
  • Use relevant case management principles and techniques to support positive functioning of complex populations involved in the justice system.
  • Communicate using techniques that engage offenders with complex needs and minimize the need for crisis intervention.
  • Develop and implement ongoing, effective strategies for personal, professional and inter-professional collaborations that support correction services quality and improvement.
  • Analyze documents, policies and programs required in correctional practice in order to exercise judgment and make decisions in an ethical manner.
  • Conduct work with offenders with complex needs involved in the justice system in accordance with guidelines, policy and regulatory standards, provincial and federal correctional policies and Canadian legislation.
  • Develop and follow evidence-based strategies and plans for professional development, personal well-being and resilience.
  • Synthesize theory and evidence-based research into correctional service principles and practices applicable to complex populations in the justice system.
  • Analyze situational and root causes of behaviour as a basis for offender management and intervention
  • Select and apply appropriate conflict resolution and negotiation strategies that prevent and resolve conflicts with offenders with complex needs based on analysis of conflict and power relationships
  • Evaluate and challenge ideas, cultural values and assumptions, structures and norms in correctional practice in order to develop sensitivity to different perspectives regarding complex populations involved with the justice system.

Program contact

Continuing Education
Upcoming Registrations

Mark your calendar for our upcoming registration dates, so you can plan your future.

Winter Registration: Opens November 1, 2021
Spring Registration: Opens February 7, 2022