What is a Correctional Officer?
A correctional officer, also known as a detention officer, is a law enforcement agent who is responsible for supervising prisoners, enforcing rules and keeping order in a prison. Correctional officers are in-charge of maintaining security by preventing any disturbances, assaults and attempts to escape. They aid in the rehabilitation and counseling of people involved in criminal offences and the supervision of their daily activities. In addition to that, they are also responsible for inspecting prison facilities for any required updates or improvements, searching inmates for any illegal items and reporting on the overall conduct of the prisoners.
Now that you are clear on what a correctional officer does, you might be wondering how to become a corrections officer. Read on to find out how.
How to Become a Corrections Officer?
New federal corrections officers are required to complete 200 hours of formal training within their first year of employment. This includes 120 hours of specialized training at the Federal Bureau of Prisons residential trainings center. Annual in-service trainings are also a frequent matter to keep officers updated on the latest development and procedures.
Trainings conducted for correctional officers usually include methods of response to disturbances, hostage situations, riots and other potentially perilous situations. Trainees are taught basic safety measures, crisis management and self defense techniques.
Keep in Mind!
- Candidate must be at least 18 years of age
- He must have a valid driver’s license
- All physical and physiological examinations must be cleared along with a thorough background check
- Candidate should have good communication skills
How long does it take to become a Correctional Officer?
The answer to the amount of time required to become a correctional officer varies according to the educational path you take. For instance, if you go for a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as criminal justice, you will spend four years in college. And upon graduation, you will need to enroll in a training program which could take between 6 to 12 months.
So, now that you are aware of how to become a correctional officer, read on to find out what the job entails.
Work Environment for a Correctional Officer
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, correctional officers held nearly 469,500 jobs in 2012. A majority of these worked at the federal, state or local government level while some were employed by private companies.
The job of a correctional officer can get pretty tough. You may be required to stand for long periods of time. Your work might be indoors or outdoors and the conditions of the facility you work in will play a huge part in how comfortable the job is for you. Some correctional facilities are temperature controlled and properly ventilated, while others might be old, overcrowded, noisy and hot.
A typical correctional officer usually works 8 hours per day, 5 days per week on rotating shifts. Since prisons operate on a 24/7 basis, officers are required to work all hours, day or night, weekends and even holidays.
Beware of the Offenders!
So when applying to become a correctional officer, be mentally prepared for the amount of energy you will be required to put into the job and the types of circumstances you might have to face.