The key idea of the article is the provision on the appropriateness of a communicative approach in teaching pedagogical disciplines for the professionalization of employees by forming a professionally oriented communicative competence. The ability to solve professional problems by speech means is associated with discourse. The research is aimed at solving the methodological problem: you need information about the features of penitentiary discourse and its typical communication situations, texts for developing communicative-speech tasks. The article gives working definitions of the concepts of “communicative approach” and “penitentiary discourse”, considers communication-speech tasks in the aspect of implementing the communicative approach. To characterize communication in professionally significant situations of penitentiary discourse, the authors used methods of analyzing scientific literature, normative legal acts, results of questionnaires, modeling. The result of the researches is a typology of speech situations (by the number of participants, intentions, topics) and some features of communication in penitentiary discourse, an example of the statement of an employee of the penitentiary system in speech interaction with convicts, an example of a communication-speech task.