The criminal justice system may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of substance use disorders (SUDs) counseling, but an estimated 65 percent of the U.S. prison population has an active substance use disorder. What’s more, nonviolent drug convictions contribute to almost half a million incarcerations per year, according to research from the Prison Policy Initiative.
It is clear that drug use and abuse will only continue to affect thousands of people in correctional institutions unless those incarcerated individuals struggling with SUDs receive more educated, onsite support.
Correctional personnel and criminal justice professionals can be the first line of help, but many may not feel fully prepared to take on this critical role. If you find yourself in this position—needing a formal SUDs education, but not wanting to pursue a Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) license—you are not alone. Gaining SUDs training and knowledge through a flexible certificate program can be the pathway for criminal justice professionals like yourself to build the confidence and skills to provide high-quality care.
Who in the Criminal Justice System Benefits from Substance Use Disorders Counseling Education?
A scientifically proven approach to decreasing repeated drug use and crime once incarcerated individuals return to their community is to provide comprehensive SUDs treatment within the jail and prison systems. Various criminal justice professionals, as well as community members, can benefit from SUDs education and training, including:
- Probation and parole agents
- Treatment court coordinators
- Jail or prison program support
- Jail or prison staff
- Diversion program coordinators
- Drop-in center case managers
With this specific group of professionals in mind, the 100% online UW-Madison Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate program, offered through the UW Flexible Option, includes 360 hours of specialized SUDs education, designed to be completed in 24 weeks or less. The certificate program is taught by industry expert, Kristin Deprey, MS, LPC, CSAC, ICS, who started her career working in the correctional system providing treatment to incarcerated individuals.
Get a UW Flexible Option Degree Guide
Download an introductory guide (PDF) to the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option programs, including details about costs, admission requirements, and more.
What Will I Learn by Earning a Substance Use Disorders Counseling Certificate?
By earning the UW-Madison Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate, you’ll complete readings, case studies, quizzes, and a summative exam where you apply all the SUDs knowledge you’ve learned at the end of the program. The well-rounded certificate dives into a variety of best practices, some of which relate directly to the work of criminal justice professionals:
- The family system’s role in recovery
- Collaboration with community-based SUDs support
- Examination of what substance use disorders really mean
- Working with individuals in early recovery
This course will help increase your competency in recognizing and responding to substance use disorders, including when to refer for substance use treatment and how to respond to family questions and concerns about use.”
—Kristin Deprey, expert instructor of the UW-Madison Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate
Equip Yourself with a Substance Use Disorders Counseling Certificate that Makes a Difference
Advancing your education and having a direct, positive impact within the criminal justice system can happen faster than you might expect.
Online learning, whether through certificates or degree programs, is the new normal. While some programs are just entering the scene, the UW-Madison Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate has been offered since 2016 and has over 400 graduates throughout Wisconsin. Its staying power is rooted in competency-based education (CBE), which leans on your work and life experiences to complete topics you know faster and take more time on new concepts. This 100% online certificate was strategically built to expand your valuable existing knowledge while you complete coursework on your own schedule.
Interested in learning more? Contact a helpful enrollment adviser by calling 608-262-2011 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.