Correctional Officer Job Description

The correctional officer job description includes a variety of skills and responsibilities.   The basic description is to run and maintain order in the jail system.  It initially sounds simple, but there is much more to it than simply babysitting criminals. Correctional officers do not work in the system to simply watch inmates.  Correctional officers work in the prison systems in order to change the lives of the inmates they deal with on a regular basis. In other words, correctional officers are in the prisons to change lives. The correctional officer works in federal, county, or state facilities in order to run the facilities and help rehabilitate the inmates in them. These range from low to high security facilities and house a variety of people. The correctional officer plays a vital role in the correctional system.

The Must-Know Rules

Correctional officer’s jobs can be divided into three categories: ensuring safety, enforcing policy, fostering a community environment among the inmates and fellow corrections officers.  Ensuring safety is a top goal in correctional facilities.  Safety begins with a safe environment. Corrections officers conduct routine inspections of the facilities and the inmate population in order to check for hazards.  This includes facility or structural problems as well as checking for contraband in the inmates’ living quarters.  Most of the problems with safety will be in the inmate population as many may attempt to smuggle weapons or drugs into the facility. Additionally, officers routinely check the facilities to ensure that there are no security breaches or safety hazards.  They make sure that the structures are up to code and that there are no holes in the walls, fences, or windows.

Correctional Officer Job DescriptionEnforcing policy helps to ensure safety, but it does much more than that.  Policies are in place to keep people safe and make things run smoothly.  The policies affect everything in the jail system.  The policies include things such as inmate schedules, visitors, personal interactions, and items coming into and out of the jail.  Policy promotes efficiency, which is essential in a community of several hundred confined people. It also prevents illegal items, or even dangerous items from entering the jail. There is no other way to keep things running smoothly and safely.  Policy is required amongst the inmates and the correctional officers and it is up to the officers to make sure everything goes well.

Fostering a sense of community is the final aspect of the correctional officer’s job description. The inmates live together for extended periods of time. Because of this, the correctional officer must find ways to encourage community and peace within the inmate population. This can be as complex as using conflict resolution skills or something as simple as giving out punishments.The officers may also be involved in scheduling counseling sessions and work opportunities for the inmates as is mandated or necessary for their rehabilitation. Beyond the inmates, the correctional officers also must be able to work with each other during slow times and times of high stress.  It is very important that the officers develop a measure of trust with each other. Sometimes officers must break up fights or riots and they must be able to count on each other during stressful times such as these in order to maintain the peace and safety of the correctional facility. Additionally, correctional officers work together for long hours at a time. They often share holidays away from their families together. Being able to get along with coworkers is essential to successfully be a correctional officer.

The correctional officer’s job description is much more complex than it sounds. Training includes areas such as tactical training, conflict resolution, management, logistics, policy adherence, customer service, and many other topics.  Being a corrections officer requires a finely tuned blend of all of these skills in order to keep the facilities running well and in order to facilitate the rehabilitation of the inmates.  The officer must be able to be unbiased while commanding respect and empathizing with his or her charges in order to be successful in this line of work.  It is not always an easy job, but it is a very rewarding job that demands dedication and skill.  The correctional officer is not just an enforcer with brute strength that stands outside of a jail cell.  The correctional officer is someone who works to better society in his or her everyday life.

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