I got a letter from a student in Canada. S/He [in the interest of anonymity] wanted some advice about working in Parole specializing with women or youth populations.
I have NO idea how the Parole system operates in Canada, to be perfectly frank.
Here in the USA, the Parole systems vary from State to State. Some states combine Parole with Probation and others, like Texas [where I am] keep them seperate.
The average citizen, one who has never been or had a family member, on Probation or Parole tends to confuse the two very different jobs.
As far as specializing in Women or Youth... the only way I can think of to do that [and I'm just takin' a WILD Assed Guess here] would be to take a position as what is called [here in Texas] as an Institutional Parole Officer. IPOs work IN the prisons interviewing prospective parolees about their plans for release and verifying those plans with the friends or family. Those same plans would apply to working in a youth facility where young women are incarcerated. I think, but don't know, that parole officers working with youthful offenders have more contact with their "clients" than IPOs do.
That's the drawback with being an IPO...there is no on-going contact with the parolee. If that's what you're loooking for. Of course a lot of Parole Officers with burn-out issues find the limited contact a nice change from the intense contact with the same parolees.
What you might want to consider, if you're just starting a career in Criminal Justice, with a degree in Sociology, is a year working for Juvenile Probation. offenders. That would give you a chance to see if you actually like working with youthful offenders. Some caseworkers think they will like working with troubled youth because they like working with youth populations in other situations. Youthful offenders are a different kettle of fish, however.
You could always call the Human Resources office and ask questions. If they are as desperate for workers as all the State Agencies down here are, they will be happy to answer your questions. You might even be able to set up a meeting with a Supervisor to discuss your interests and how they mesh with the requirements of the Canadian system.
Good Luck and let me know how thing work out.
If any of you readers have knowledge or experience with the Canadian Criminal Justice System, please share that info with this blogger and the Student writer.