Correctional officers maintain security and inmate accountability, and try to prevent disturbances, assaults, and escapes. Officers usually have no law enforcement responsibilities outside of the building(s) where they work. Some daily duties of correctional officers include monitoring CCTV, patrolling the grounds, standing guard at fixed posts, searching prisoners for contraband, checking the facility for safety or security concerns, searching and monitoring visitors, and writing reports. Some correctional officers are responsible for transporting prisoners from one facility to another.
Correctional officers often assist other law enforcement officers with information about inmates and are able to provide valuable intelligence information.
Correctional officers are required to at least have a high school diploma or ged. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires new officers to have at least a bachelor's degree, three years of full-time experience in a field providing counseling, assistance, or supervision to individuals, or a combination of education and experience. Applicants with college or military experience are almost always preferred.
The American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association set standards and guidelines for correctional officer training. Many states have correctional training academies. Correctional officers receive a lot of on the job training. Getting a correctional officer job is often not as difficult as getting other law enforcement officer jobs. However, there is still competition for these jobs. Correctional officers have a very difficult and often thankless job. They deal with criminals almost exclusively. The job is very dangerous, and not everyone can handle it. Do you have what it takes?