Become a Corrections Officer – Training & Requirements One Needs To Become A Detention Officer
Correctional officers supervise arrested persons awaiting trial and convicted criminals serving time in penitentiaries, jails, and reformatories. One primary role of correctional officers is to avert attacks, escapes, and other disturbances, ensuring inmate accountability and security. Outside of the jail or penitentiary where they work, correctional officers have no policing duties.
Correctional officers working in for sheriff and police departments in local and county jails and precinct holding facilities are also known as detention officers. Counties manage about 3,300 jails in the United States; 75 percent of those are operated under the authority of an elected sheriff. The population of these jails changes regularly as new persons are arrested and old detainees are either transferred to prison or released. Annually greater than 11 million people are processed through the U.S. jail system; some 500,000 people are in prison at any moment. The most dangerous time for correctional officers occurs when new arrestees are brought to jail—they may not know the identity or background of the new detainees; dangerous criminals may be placed in with the regular prison population.
There are a few correctional officers who supervise foreign persons awaiting deportation or release by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. A small number work for privately-held, for-profit correction facilities. The majority of correctional officers, however, work with government prisons and large jails, overseeing the nearly one million people incarcerated in the United States at any time. All work in correction facilities can be hazardous, though jail populations tend to be less stable than prison populations; in prison populations, correctional officers know more about the security needs of the people they are supervising.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Corrections Officer
The primary role of correctional officers is to ensure order and security and enforce the policies and rules of the institution where they work. Officers observe actions and oversee task assigned to inmates in order to make certain inmates are obeying the rules. Officers may need to search inmates’ cells, confiscate drugs or weapons, enforce order, and resolve conflicts between inmates. Officers also help maintain the integrity of the holding facility by performing routine checks on doors, vents, windows, and locks. They also regularly look to ensure there are no fire hazards, unsafe conditions, or rule-breaking anywhere in the prison or jail. Correctional officers also examine inmates’ company and mail to make certain no banned objects enter the facility.
As part of their supervisory role, correctional officers make written and oral reports on inmate work and behavior. They also document conflicts, behavior discrepancies, hazards, and suspicious circumstances in a daily log and other specialized reports. Correctional officers must report every inmate who violates a rule without discretion or “playing favorites.” When necessary, correctional officers help look for prisoners who have escaped or help conduct investigations dealing with crimes that occur in their facility.
Training & Safety
Officers who are employed in correction facilities with direct supervision cellblocks do not carry firearms. They usually work in tandem or alone, and are in charge of supervising from 50 to 100 inmates. These officers enforce the rules by taking privileges away from inmates who violate regulations and through effective communication. Despite being unarmed, these officers do carry radios in order to call for help when necessary.
Computer tracking systems and cameras help correctional officers observe violent and dangerous inmates from a centralized control center. In the highest security institutions where such criminals are restrained, the correctional officers may be the only people the inmates see for significant stretches of time. Inmates leave their cells only to shower, exercise, or receive supervised visitations. Correctional officers may need to shackle some inmates, depending on the stipulations of their imprisonment, to escort them between cells or to receive visitors. Inmates are also escorted by correctional officers to and from court and hospitals.