What Do Correctional Officers and Jailers Do?
Correctional officers and jailers guard people in jail and prison due to being arrested, awaiting trial or being sentenced to incarceration. Following established regulations and practices, you’ll oversee inmates in government and private correctional institutions, monitoring them and providing necessities while maintaining the facility’s security. You may also take prisoners into custody and guard them during transport.While falling crimes rates and budgetary concerns limit this job’s growth, the number of positions is expected to rise 5% from 2012 to 2022. Approximately 14,000 new positions are predicted to open yearly across the country.
Correctional Officers and Jailers Skills and Abilities
To recognize the requirements and limitations of correctional officers and jailers, a good understanding both of government codes and public safety regulations is important. You should have some knowledge of human psychology and be perceptive of people’s emotions and states of mind. Correctional officers and jailers also need to have keen listening comprehension as well as strong verbal communication skills.
Correctional Officers and Jailers Duties
As a correctional officer you will have multiple responsibilities, dealing both with guarding and managing inmates as well as preserving the security of the penal institution. You’ll keep track of the prisoners by doing head counts, keeping daily logs of their activities and making reports of incidents and disturbances, and monitoring their conduct throughout the facility. You may be responsible for serving meals, distributing mail, prescribed medicine, clothing and tools, and settling inter-inmate disputes. Other duties include scheduling work assignments and sponsoring social and rehabilitative activities such as self-help groups. When inmates need to be conveyed to courtrooms or between facilities, you may guard them during transport or drive the vehicles.You will also have a number of tasks to maintain security and safety. These can include performing regular fire and sanitation inspections, examining the conditions of locks, windows, gates and other building elements to prevent escapes, inspecting incoming mail for contraband, and logging and screening all visitors. You may investigate crimes that occur within the institution, and supervise other correctional officers. In the event of a prisoner escape, you may take part in the search and recapture efforts.
Correctional Officers and Jailers Tools and Technology
To carry out their duties in regards to safety of themselves as well as the inmates, correctional officers and jailers employ a variety of equipment. This can include:
- Body armor and vests
- Handguns and law enforcement rifles
- Riot gear
- Cut-resistant gloves
- Gas masks
- Ear plugs
You’ll also use gear for securing prisoners such as handcuffs and belt restraints. You may use two-way radios to communicate within facilities and on the road, and in order to log records and manage security systems you will employ computer software and surveillance cameras.
Education and Training for Correctional Officers and Jailers
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for the majority of correctional officer and jailer jobs. No prior work experience is typically necessary, and most starting level positions provide moderate on-the-job training at the outset. Certification in corrections and juvenile corrections can give you a competitive edge.
Correctional Officers and Jailers Salary
The pay scale for correctional officers and jailers varies widely between locations depending on demand. While lower paying positions offer around $27,000 a year, the average salary can be from $33,000 to over $70,000, and as a top earner you may make upwards of $80,000 a year.
Correctional Officers and Jailers Jobs by Geography
While every state has correctional facilities, these institutions are more likely to be found in areas with greater and denser populations. The most positions are found in Texas, California and Florida, as well as the Eastern seaboard, while the best paying are along the West Coast and the Northeast, particularly New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.