How to Become a Corrections Officer

If you want to know how to become a corrections officer, then you must be interested to work in a prison environment. A corrections officer is also referred to as a prison officer or detention officer. There are certain risks associated with the job because of its nature but this has not discouraged many individuals to make fruitful careers out of this option.

What is a Corrections Officer?

A corrections officer is a person in charge of the supervision and security of prisoners placed in secure custody such as prison or jail. This includes individuals who are awaiting trial as well as those already convicted and are serving their sentence. Corrections officers are typically employed by the government per respective jurisdiction.

The duties of a corrections officer include maintaining order and discipline within the assigned institution; enforcing rules, regulations and legislation applicable to the facility; making sure that the environs and inmates are free from contraband; transporting inmates for hearings, medical examinations, or day pass to a set destination; and responding to assault, fire, riot, or any medical emergency in the facility. The primary risk faced by corrections officers is related to inmate confrontation. The working conditions may vary depending on the physical condition of the facility.

Work duties may also vary depending on the type of facility where a corrections officer is assigned to. Maximum security institutions require the regular use of restraints and need for weapon searches. Tactical responses are quite different from that used in minimum security facilities where casual supervision of inmates is usually sufficient to get the work done.

Education and Training

Entry-level corrections officers are required by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to possess a bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma with at least 3 years full-time experience in the field of counseling, assistance, and supervision. A combination of academic coursework and work experience can also be considered.

Applicants to the position of corrections officer are required to undergo training. Although training will vary between jurisdictions, a standard training will include topics on use of force and restraints, weapons, self-defense, first aid and CPR, report writing, providing court testimonies, hostility diffusion, criminal law, as well as case work and criminal investigation. Because of the evolving need of the profession, many jurisdictions choose to expand training scope including suicide awareness and prevention, critical incident stress management, occupational safety and health, gaining awareness and intervention, and crisis or hosted negotiation. Employed corrections officer are regularly required to attend in service trainings to help them be updated with new procedures and developments.

Becoming a Corrections Officer

Job prospects for the position of corrections officer are favorable due to the rising demand. Applicants must be less than 37 years old at the time of appointment, in excellent health, and have no criminal record. Select applicants accepted into the training program will have the chance to occupy permanent positions in the field subject to passing all written tests, medical examinations, and a thorough background check. Corrections officers can aim fro the highest position in a facility which is being the warden but reaching this position requires time and experience. If you know how to become a corrections officer, you will have more career options available to you.