Correctional officers are individuals who oversee people detained for legal reasons, whether they are guilty of a crime or are awaiting a pending trial. Correctional officers are responsible for security, supervision, rehabilitation, and training of people who have committed crime and living in a prison. They are in charge of encouraging those individuals to do what is best for them and others around them.
If you are capable of creating good working relationships with different kind of people, have a strict but fair approach and aptitude, job as a correctional officer may be ideal for you. Along with custodial duties, a correctional officer must be able to establish good rapport with prisoners, carefully execute his authority to positively affect the rehabilitation process.
Basic roles, duties & responsibilities of Correctional Officers
So, what does a correctional officer do? Find out the basic roles, duties or responsibilities here:
- Monitor, control and manage prisoners lawfully and securely
- Keep an account of those under your supervision and maintain proper order
- Escort prisoners on different external visits
- Perform security check and search procedures on prisoners, visitors and staffs
- Counsel and advise prisoners and make sure they have access to professional help
- Take care of inmates’ property
- Offer right care and support to vulnerable prisoners
- Prepare reports and documents for quality checking purpose
- Adhere with local and national policies and legislation
Duties and responsibilities vary with the level of security and type of prison. Senior level correctional officers have additional responsibilities, such as monitoring junior officers.
Employers of Correctional Officers
- Local government
- Federal government
- Rehabilitation centers
- Private companies providing correctional services
- Mental hospitals
- Private prisons
Irrelevant of the organization they work; correctional officers have to maintain safety and security in their workplace and keep the facility safe and under control for inmates, workers and visitors.
Qualification and training
Correctional officers must have good literacy background and a high school diploma or equivalent at least. In some regions, credit hours are required but can be substituted with law enforcement or military experience. Correctional officers have to go through training academy and are placed in a facility so that they can gain on-job experience.
For employment in federal prisons, one must have a bachelor’s degree, at least 3 years of experience in field of supervision, counseling and assistance. Once you get in the field, you will be trained to respond riots and hostage situations, and other disturbances and potentially dangerous circumstances. You will also be taught to disarm prisoners, wield weapons and other different strategies and tactics to maintain safety and control your facility.
Required skills or job specifications
A correctional officer has to perform a wide variety of physically and mentally demanding duties on a daily basis. In addition to that, there is always a looming threat to your own safety. Therefore, correctional officer must develop certain skills to ensure safety and perfect operation in his facility. Some required skills are:
- Good interpersonal skills
- Fair judgment
- Bargaining skills
- Self discipline
- Good physical stamina and strength
- Good leadership quality
- Ability to stay calm and perform under pressure