Working as a correctional officer is a challenging, highly rewarding, exciting job yet it can be dangerous at times. You will work directly with suspects and prisoners to attend to their day-to-day needs, oversee their rehabilitation and re-socialization into society. You need to have self-confidence and assertiveness to do this job.
What Does a Correctional Officer Do?
Correctional officers carry out different tasks depending on their rank. Some of the responsibilities covered in your job description include:
- Conducting regular searches for illegal items in cells
- Ensuring inmates remain in cells safe and secure
- Following up inmates to ensure they obey judicial sanctions
- Enforcing good conduct and accountability among inmates
- Recommending specialized care or medical attention for prisoners
- Supervising prisoners closely at all times
- Upholding health standards within the correctional facility
- Acting as role a model to prisoners
- Assisting in the rehabilitation of prisoners and in their re-entry into society
- Escorting prisoners within and outside the prison
- Conducting paper work to admit or discharge prisoners
- Creating and supervising prisoner activities, for example, sports activities within the prisons compound
Qualifications for a correctional officer vary by state or territory. Some of them include:
- A pass in mathematics and physical education
- A bachelors degree in justice studies, criminology, social work or a related field to qualify for a better salary and permanent employment
- Pass a literacy, numeracy and IQ test
Other tests you will undergo during the recruitment process include:
- Psychological test
- Physical fitness test
- Background check
- Work reference check
You will also need to go through several interviews, and in some states training before you can get the job.
Your work serving as a correctional officer can be stressful and dangerous. Some additional skills that may help you on the job include:
- Physical and psychological fitness
- Critical and creative thinking skills
- Strong negotiation skills
- An ability to control your temper
- Basic understanding of the law
- Keen observation and analysis skills
- Ability to think fast on your feet
- Good vision
Your work environment is limited to correctional facilities in direct contact with prisoners and suspects. However, as you rise through the ranks, you may get an opportunity to train other correctional officers or work in an office. Office work puts you in charge of logistics and the day-to-day operations of a correctional facility. Your work as a correctional officer may require you to work long hours and often time late into the night. You may also have to work on holidays and weekends.
Your salary as a correctional officer will depend on your skill level, work experience and employer.
Source: Prison Officers
Correctional facilities promote officers to higher ranks. Experience on the job, additional education and training qualifies you for a promotion. You can also choose to work with a law enforcement agency or in a legal office. You can also specialize in particular area, such as, prison industries, field supervision of offenders and dog squads.
If you enjoy working with people and helping them become better individuals, you may consider a career as a correctional officer.
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