What does a correctional officer do?

Correctional officers are commonly referred to as detention officers in the field of criminal justice work. They work in different types of facilities including local jails, state jails, federal jails, penitentiaries, pre-trial detention facilities, and reformatories. Their main job duty is sustaining control over inmates that are being withheld in facilities for being charged of some type of offense.

Correctional officers also have other job duties, but many times the exact duties depend on the officer’s place of employment. The only time that a correctional officer can enforce their job descriptions are within the place of where they are employed. Since this type of officer is usually exposed to inmates they often work unarmed. However, the officer is always equipped with some type of communication device so they can call for help if it is ever needed. In prisons or facilities that are considered high security a correctional officer will many times monitor inmates from a control room via security cameras.

When inmates are housed within any type of facility a correctional officer must monitor their activities and work assignments. The officer also helps to transport inmates to and from court or medical facilities, and many times a correctional officer will conduct cell searches, inmate searches, and visitor searches. Whenever inmates escape from a facility a correctional officer will often help perform searches, as well as help in the investigations of crimes that occur within inmate facilities.

Most correctional facilities will require that correctional officers have some type of college experience; however most only require that the officer has a high school diploma or GED. Any officer that works in a position where they use counseling skills must hold a bachelor’s degree and have 3 years of experience. In many cases people find that the skills of a correctional officer are the same that police officers, teachers, and social workers must possess to successfully fulfill their job duties. There are also specialized correctional officer training programs that that will help prepare students for work in this criminal justice field.

Many facilities that hire correctional officers require the officer to be experienced in the use of firearms as well as self-defense skills. Officers who become part of a tactical response team must always be experienced in those areas.

Any person who becomes a correctional officer must participate in yearly training programs; this enables the officer to refresh their skills, and to be introduced to new skills and procedures. If a correctional officer wants to refine their skills to a further level they can participate in ACA and AJA training programs.

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