The College of Justice provides instruction on both professional higher education level and vocational education level to students who hold a secondary school diploma and are interested in law, justice and safety of the society.
In 1992, when the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences was established, also a college called the College of Corrections was opened. That college was renamed in 2004 and became the College of Justice. Since the very beginning, the speciality of corrections has been taught at the college. The speciality of prison guards was previously taught in a number of different schools, but since the academic year of 2005/2006 it has been taught only at the College of Justice.
The College of Justice (CJ) of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (EASS) works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. The core task of the Ministry of Justice is to plan and carry out the state’s legal and criminal policy, which would help maintain open and safe society, in which people know their rights and can be sure about the protection thereof. The College of Justice contributes, among other things, to the development of criminal policy through cooperation with the Ministry. The College of Justice also plays a part in analyzing, developing, and shaping the work of prisons.
The work of prisons is coordinated by the Prisons Department of the Ministry of Justice, which is managed by the Deputy Secretary General for prisons, who is also the chairman of the Council of the College of Justice.
Professional degree studies of all prison officers of Estonia are carried out at the College of Justice
The most important stakeholder of the specialties of correction and prison officer is the Prison Service (Prisons Department of the Ministry of Justice and prisons). The future employer of the cadets is systematically and continuously involved in the everyday activities of the College of Justice, and the information exchange is operative and immediate.
Most of the employees working at the College of Justice have gained previous experience from working in prisons, and this enables them to understand the expectations of the cadets’ future employer very well.
The mission of the Estonian Prison Service is to provide safe, reliable, and humane treatment to imprisoned people. The prison Service with its staff is there to guide the inmates to become law-abiding citizens and to protect the legal order.
To ensure that appropriate treatment of inmates, and to encourage and support them, the officer should be competent in legal and social issues, have knowledge of psychology, and of different cultures and religions. The College of Justice provides its students with the opportunity to choose between four curricula. Education is provided on vocational and professional higher education level.
The Prison Guard curriculum in a one-year course, based on secondary education (EQF level 4). The graduates have enough subject field knowledge and skills enabling them to supervise inmates and ensure security and legal protection in prisons. Significant parts of the curricula are connected with practical study and internship in prisons. Upon learning according to the curriculum for prison officers, one obtains a vocational education diploma and knowledge and skills for working as a prison guard.
The Corrections curriculum is a three-year course (EQF level 6). The graduates, having received all essential knowledge and skills, are able to play the leading role in the management of the resocialization process of imprisoned people. The speciality of corrections provides modern knowledge needed when working as a mid or high-level prison officer in the Estonian prison system.
Graduates receive a bachelor's degree in social sciences.
Information and investigation officer in prison (0.75 academic years, EQF level 5). The officer of the Information and Investigation Department and Internal Control is engaged in the prevention and processing of offences committed by inmates and officials in the prison. A valid service relationship with the prison is a prerequisite for starting to study. The graduate can work as an information and research department and internal control officer.
Case manager in prison (0.75 academic years, EQF level 5). By completing the case manager curriculum, the learner acquires specific knowledge and skills, which contributes to the reduction of recidivism and the execution of sentences based on the target group (young prisoners and prisoners with cognitive disabilities, foreign prisoners, prisoners involved in organized crime). A valid service relationship with the prison is a prerequisite for starting to study. Prison officers with at least secondary education and at least 3 years of work experience in the field with EQF level 4 competence can acquire the profession. The graduate is able to work as a case manager for specific groups of inmates.
Continuing education is a part of the college of Justice; it deals with in-service training for prison officers to maintain and improve their professional skills.
The College of Justice organises most of the in-service training the Prison Service needs, and provides all prisons with tests needed for assessing the other stakeholders’ being taught (inspector-personal officer and guard) in compliance with the requirements set for the respective position. The development of the Prison Service’s prison officials’ assessment tests and the organisation of in-service training events is one of the important inputs into the development of the curricula for continuing education and degree studies, and for the efficient implementation of the latter.