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What does a Correctional Officer do?

Learn all about Correctional Officer duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Correctional Officer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A correctional officer is responsible for the supervision, safety, and security of inmates in a jail or prison. They maintain order and discipline among inmates, and enforce rules and regulations. Correctional officers also conduct searches of inmates and their living quarters for contraband, such as weapons or drugs. In addition, they may transport inmates to and from court appearances or medical appointments.

Correctional Officer job duties include:

  • Maintain custody of inmates in a secure and safe environment
  • Control inmate movement within the facility
  • Conduct searches of inmates and their living quarters
  • Monitor inmate activities and report any suspicious behavior
  • Respond to emergencies and provide medical assistance when necessary
  • Enforce rules and regulations within the facility
  • Investigate incidents that occur within the facility
  • Prepare reports on inmate behavior and activity
  • Supervise work assignments for inmates
  • Conduct regular security rounds

Correctional Officer Job Requirements

Correctional Officers must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must complete a training academy certified by the state and on-the-job training. Some states require Correctional Officers to have a bachelor's degree. Many states require Correctional Officers to be certified in CPR and first aid.

Correctional Officer Skills

  • Patrolling
  • Inmate count
  • Inmate classification
  • Security
  • Emergency response
  • Report writing
  • Logs
  • Observation
  • Interpersonal skills
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Restraining procedures

Related: Top Correctional Officer Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Correctional Officer

Correctional officers play an important role in our criminal justice system. They are responsible for the safety and security of inmates in jails and prisons. They also provide support and guidance to inmates as they re-enter society. If you are interested in becoming a correctional officer, there are a few things you should know.

The first step is to research the requirements of the position. Most jurisdictions require correctional officers to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some agencies may also require you to have a valid driver’s license and pass a background check.

Once you have met the basic requirements, you will need to undergo training. Most jurisdictions require new correctional officers to complete a training academy. During your time at the academy, you will learn about institutional policies and procedures, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response. You will also have the opportunity to develop your physical fitness and teamwork skills.

After completing your training, you will be ready to start your career as a correctional officer. You can expect to work long hours in sometimes stressful conditions. But if you are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those who are incarcerated, it can be a rewarding career.

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