Correctional officer jobs entail overseeing the people who are arrested and in pre-trial stages or convicted to imprisonment for a crime they committed and have to serve their term in a reformatory, jail or even penitentiary. The populations of jails are always changing as people are convicted, prisoners released and offenders arrested. At any time, 800,000 people are always under arrest for committing an offense and approximately 13 million people taken and admitted to local prisons annually.
Correctional officers are in charge of assault, disturbance and escape prevention, accountability of inmates and security maintenance. However, the officers play no law enforcement roles outside prisons or correctional facilities, where they maintain law and order, as well as regulations and rules. In order to realize this, the officers supervise the work assigned to prisoners and monitor their movements as well as activities.
At times, inmates are searched by the correctional officers for hard drugs or weapons. The officers also enforce discipline and settle disputes amongst the prisoners. Often, the officers check cells, correctional facilities or areas prone to fire hazards, and featuring contrabands, poor conditions in unsanitary environments. Inspections of mails, doors, visitors, grilles, window bars, locks as well as gates to find the signs of tampering in any form are also performed by the officers.
Correctional officer jobs also comprise of report submission about the inmates and their work assignments, which can be submitted either in writing or orally. Other things reported by correctional officers include disturbances, breaches of security, rule violations or even happenings that are considered not normal. They are not allowed to favor any prisoner whatsoever. In case of jail escapes by prisoners or crimes within the correctional facilities, the officers assist with the searches and investigations, respectively.
The use of sanctions progressively and the excellent communication skills of correctional officers enable them to get their job done. Depending on the working environment, the officers can either be armed or unarmed. In order to easily call for help, the officers use communication devices. Facilities housing dangerous prisoners are fitted with extra security measures such as CCTV cameras and systems for tracking the inmates, which are installed in a central location in the facility.
In some cases, the correctional officer jobs entail handcuffing to help restrain dangerous inmates or escort them between cells, hospitals, courtrooms or even when they have to see a visitor. Although correctional officers can work either indoors or outdoors, they have a high risk of getting injured during confrontational with inmates. Prisons provide a safer environment to work than jails mainly because the correctional officers have a full profile of the inmates and thus know what to expect from them.
The jobs are mainly done in environments that are hot, overcrowded, noisy, have controlled temperatures, are well lighted and ventilated and many times, very old. The correctional officers work full time in 8 hour shifts from Monday to Monday due to the high need for security and monitoring in such environments. Correctional officer jobs also require some form of training and education in order for one to start a career in this industry.
High school diploma, a background in the military, or a bachelors degree in a supervisory or counseling courses is required for one to be accepted for training in a specialized academy that provides training relevant to the job. Most companies usually hire graduates from the academies who are then employed to gain experience as they work in their roles. One must also be in good health and possess the range of skills required of them by the hiring agencies in order to be considered for correctional officer jobs.