The correctional officer job description is part of the category which has been misrepresented so much in pop culture that the average joe doesn’t know anymore which part is real and which part is fiction. Most correctional officers are responsible for supervising individuals which have either been arrested, are awaiting trial, or have been convicted to serve time in prison or in jail.
With one of the most high-risk jobs we have covered so far, people with the correctional officer job description have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. These are most often a result of spending prolonged time with dangerous, potentially violent criminals. Since prisoners have to be supervised at all times, shifts cover weekends, nights, and even holidays.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for someone with the correctional officer job description is $40,580 per year or $19.51 per hour. Despite the low education standards and the decent salary, the rate of employment for the corrections officer job description is only estimated to grow 4% by 2024.
Correctional Officer Job Description Overview
People with the correctional officer job description are responsible for the care, control, and custody of people who were arrested, or who are awaiting trial. They also have to manage the security and care of the facilities. While most officers are employed by the government of their operating jurisdictions, others are employed by private prisons.
The occupation is fairly dangerous and stressful, with many hoping to practice the correctional officer job description quitting soon after getting hired. The high risk of injury and stressful shift-based schedule can be more than the low educational requirements and decent salary can make up for.
Correctional Officer Job Description Responsibilities
While the correctional officer job description is the same from one place of employment to another, some duties and responsibilities may vary. However, most are required to do the same jobs and to have the same duties regardless if they aim for a job in private or public security.
The correctional officer job duties most often found throughout the occupation are the following:
- Enforcing rules;
- Maintaining order in prisons and jails;
- Supervising inmates;
- Supervising various activities;
- Offering counseling to offenders;
- Helping convicts with rehabilitation;
- Inspecting the facilities;
- Making sure that the facilities meet the standards;
- Searching inmates;
- Checking for contraband items;
- Reporting on the conduct of inmates;
- Keeping account of all those in charge;
- Searching visitors for contraband items;
- Supervising visitation hours;
- Going on patrol duties;
- Escorting prisoners for both internal and internal visits and transfers;
- Helping conduct prisoner reviews;
- Making sure inmates get access to professional help;
- Functioning as part of a team to resolve crisis situations;
- Responding to first-on-the-scene incidents;
- Making use of authorized physical control and restraint procedures to control situations;
- Protecting the prisoners’ property;
- Respecting the prisoners’ dignity and rights;
- Building relationships with other staff members;
- Offering educational opportunities to inmates;
- Inspecting the prisoners’ mail and personal items;
- Collaborating with enforcement authorities to prevent crimes.
Correctional Officer Requirements
Of course, having to work in such a rough and stressful environment, where any mistake can lead to a disaster, can seem fairly daunting to some. For this, a number of skills and aptitudes are required for the correctional officer job description to be well performed.
The most useful and frequently needed skills and qualities for the correctional officer job description are as follows:
- Great judgment;
- Superior interpersonal skills;
- Decent negotiation skills;
- Superior amount of physical strength;
- High levels of stamina;
- Resourceful nature;
- Quick wits;
- Great self-discipline;
- Assertive nature;
- High degree of resilience;
- Superior leadership potential;
- High degree of responsibility;
- Quick learning skills;
- Superior decision-making skills;
- Advanced organizational skills;
- Being able to stay calm under pressure;
- Stress coping mechanisms;
- High self-confidence;
- Superior emotional intelligence.
Qualifications and Training
People with the correctional officer job description usually go through a great number of training sessions and formal instructions. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has determined that anyone hoping for the correction officer job description only needs a high school diploma, or an equivalent.
However, many local and state correctional agencies provide on the job training for people with both the correctional officer job description and the juvenile correctional officer job description. Some of these training opportunities take weeks, while others take as much as six months.
Plus, the correctional officer job description requires 200 hours of formal training. These sessions include training on how to deal with disturbances with the help of procedures such as disarming opponents, protecting teammates, disarming hostage situations, and others such as those.
There really aren’t any experience requirements when comes to the correctional officer job description. Instead, experience really counts for both the salary and the number of employment opportunities seen by correctional officers. Opportunities can open up for many managerial jobs inside the prison, even up to the prison warden position.
Wage increases are also a very appealing factor when it comes to choosing the correctional officer job description. According to payscale.com, the average corrections officer salary usually grows by as much as $20,000. The wage actually sees far bigger increases after the employee passes the five to ten-year mark.
Correctional Officer Career Prospects
Interestingly, while the budget constraints will continue to be an issue in both state and local prisons, the rate of employment is still optimistic, albeit below the average for all the occupations in the United States. The employment of people with the correctional officer job description is estimated to grow 4% by 2024.
The reason for the job outlook still being optimistic is that many correctional officers leave the occupation each year because of the high stress levels associated with the position. Meanwhile, the prison overpopulation crisis is still causing trouble, making for an even poorer job outlook. Still, the job does open up a number of opportunities.
For those interested in the job description of a correctional officer, here are a few things that might be useful to know before starting off down the career path:
- The usual paid leave balance is between 25 and 35 days;
- Refurbishments and renovations can be pretty frequent;
- Most of the time is spent indoors;
- Some employers do allow for a flexible schedule;
- Part-time and job-shares are also sometimes available;
- Dangerous situations are very likely to arise;
- Employees might be forced to learn how to be flexible;
- All employers provide correction officers with uniforms.
People with the correctional officer job description have such an extraordinarily high stress rate that more people quit than they are hired. Dangerous inmates are a high risk factor, the work hours are taxing, and despite the low education standards and decent pay, the lifestyle and duties of a correctional officer aren’t for everyone.
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