Regents approve bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and rehabilitation

February 7, 2014

Beginning in the fall, students will be able to pursue a new undergraduate major at the University of Wisconsin-Stout that will lead to jobs as probation and parole agents, correctional treatment specialists and in juvenile services and court programs.

Kyle KleistThe UW System Board of Regents on Friday unanimously approved UW-Stout offering a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and rehabilitation. The first students will be enrolled next fall.

Kyle Kleist, program director in vocational rehabilitation in the department of rehabilitation and counseling, was instrumental in developing the new program. He said the new major, now a concentration, "focuses on rehabilitation of the offender, rather than punishment and incarceration."

The rehabilitation model "emphasizes education and training to promote positive behavioral change as well as recognition of the underlying factors that commonly lead to unlawful behavior," Kleist said.

Mary Hopkins-Best, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, said "treatment and rehabilitation of offenders is essential to reduce recidivism and increase the likelihood of community reintegration."

Mary Hopkins-BestThe new program, she added, "will be the first of its kind in the Midwest. Graduates will be uniquely prepared to identify and provide for the rehabilitation needs of offenders as well as prevention services."

Kleist said the job outlook for graduates will be bright, with an 18 percent growth rate forecast from 2010 to 2020 nationally in the areas of law enforcement; probation and parole officers; and correctional treatment specialists.

Enrollment in the new major is forecast to be 100 the first year, growing to 150 in five years. More than 100 students are enrolled in the criminal justice concentration.

More information on the program is available here.

This will be the 45th undergraduate major at UW-Stout, Wisconsin's Polytechnic University. Enrollment information is available here.